I just watched Strollerderby’s own Sierra Black on 20/20, sharing the story of her open marriage with America. As Elizabeth Vargas noted in the piece, this isn’t the first time Sierra has shared her life publicly; in more than one post online Sierra has talked about what it’s like to raise her children with a husband … and a boyfriend … and a girlfriend. And yes, she has faced much criticism as a result. But when watching Sierra’s relationship profile on TV just now, I realized how incredibly stable her unusual family is.
The best part of the expose, I thought, was listening to Sierra’s elder daughter Rio describe her parents’ open marriage. From ABC News:
You might think Sierra and Martin’s daughters think their parents’ arrangement is unusual, but when “20/20″ anchor Elizabeth Vargas asked their daughter, Rio, if she thought her family was different from other families, she replied, “Not really.”
Rio’s definition of an open marriage was fairly precise, for a 7-year-old: “Your parent or one of your parents is dating a different person that’s not part of your family,” she said.
Vargas proved herself a bit conventional during the interview process, asking questions like, “Aren’t you just committing adultery?” The obvious answer is, of course not, though Sierra and her husband Martin gave an even better retort. “As Martin put it, ‘There’s no cheating.’ Sierra added, ‘We are committed to being an open book with each other, and it’s all based on a really high degree of love and trust.'”
Precisely. The difference between an open marriage and a marriage filled with infidelity is that those couples in an open marriage are *open* with each other about their desires and the way they act on them. There’s communication, dialogue, even bargaining amongst those involved about the types of behaviors that are acceptable to all parties and those that are off limits. I don’t doubt that more marriages could benefit from that kind of honesty.
To learn more about Sierra and her extended family, visit ABC News.