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Open marriages are on the rise here too . . .

So, less than 15 years after divorce was legalised here, are the Irish open-minded enough for open marriage?

More married couples here are saying 'I Do' to polyamory, according to one relationship expert -- but are only likely to end up alone.

"It's definitely happening here on a small scale," says marriage therapist Owen Connolly, who runs a private practice in Stillorgan, Co Dublin. "But it's not something people are willing to boast about. Open marriage is really no different to swinging or wife-swapping -- and rarely lasts. I've never found two people who were completely committed to the idea.

"In my experience, there's always one party who would prefer to remain monogamous -- usually the woman.

"However, some of these women may agree to an open marriage because they think their happiness depends on their relationship."

"Over the years, I've worked with a lot of couples to try and repair the damage done by an affair," the consultant psychologist adds.

"An open marriage shouldn't even be treated as a marriage. People think that they can divorce the physical from the emotional, but it doesn't work.

"There's no such thing as an 'open marriage' -- just a consensual affair."

See www.counsellor.ie DEIRDRE REYNOLDS

Irish Independent