Marriage Counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo shares her thought for an exclusive feature on Times of India


As part of my upbringing, I grew up believing that Mahabharata had answers to all the complications related to life and relationships. Intrigued with the concept of open marriage while reading a celebrity scoop, I felt like delving deeper and naturally referred to the epic saga - Mahabharata.

Draupadi with her five husbands and an entire epic revolving around her, stirs varied imaginations. How did she handle the physical relationship with five husbands? Were the brothers not jealous of each other? Did Draupadi have a favourite among them and most importantly, how did she handle the emotional and physical dynamics associated with it ? It surely doesn't sound simple.

Were our ancestors much more open-minded than we are or was Draupadi a victim of circumstances? An open marriage often puts the sanctity of a husband-wife relationship under scrutiny.

When Nena O'Neill and George O'Neill first wrote about the concept of an open marriage in 1972, their focus was on honesty and openness in a marital relationship. They viewed the concept as one that preserves each partner's freedom and right to grow as an individual in the marriage. Transparent, open communication and role definitions were seen to be essential for a healthy and open relationship.

Although, this included the possibility of a sexual engagement outside marriage, the focus lay in preserving the privacy needs of each partner and on 'meaningful commitment without destructive jealousy'.

But the concept of an open marriage, now, largely means 'having sex outside marriage'.

Is this right or wrong? And why people enter this pact?

Psychologist Shivani Misri Sadhoo says, "Generally, couples get into this practice to rejuvenate their sexual life as well as to avoid breakup or divorce. This type of relationship concept.....