Sociologist and sexologist Barbara Rothmüller this time about an emotion that even couples therapists are often unaware of.
It’s no big secret that many couples lose sex over the years. Marriage counseling often sees only two options: either the communal sexuality is brought back to life, or – the looming scenario – a divorce comes into the room. However, sometimes the desire for sexual diversity in a partnership cannot be revived without fresh impetus.
Anna has tried what no traditional couples therapy would advise: “I’ve been married for 15 years and a year ago we decided to go into an open marriage. As a result, our relationship has become much more enjoyable and intense.” The new intensity of their relationship is based on an emotion described as “compassion”. She is said to be a kind of antidote to toxic jealousy – a passion known to cause suffering. Anna and her husband can rejoice if the beloved is having a good time. Even if she spends it with someone else.
In Austria, young people are increasingly interested in open relationships. Every sixth person under the age of 30 has – or would like to have – other sexual or romantic relationships with their partner. It is doubtful whether complex relationship setups always turn out well. Ultimately, however, monogamous relationships don’t always do this either, with or without therapy.
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