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Comarital is an adjective describing relationships occurring outside a marriage. Comarital relationships differ from marriages where cheating occurs because they occur with spousal consent.
Comarital relationships are typically sexual in nature.The term comes from the Latin word maritalis, a derivation of the word maritus meaning married. The prefix co- meaning joint or mutual. A comarital relationship works because of the mutual understanding and agreement of the married parties.
Comarital relationships are a type of consensual adultery. Usually both partners in a comarital relationship have a relationship with one another and relationships outside of their marriage. These are conducted more openly than they would be in another type of consensual adultery, adultery toleration.
People who engage in comarital relationships may have one-on-one relationships with people who are not their spouses. They may also enjoy group sexual activities, like participating in partner swapping and swinging. The extramarital relationships people in comarital relationships have may be brief and impersonal or deep and long-lasting.
While people in comarital relationships may have extramarital relationships as deep and committed as people in group marriages, they do not consider themselves married to anyone but their spouses. Because of this, a natural hierarchy exists with the spouse always placed first, above all other relationships.
There has been little research on comarital relationships. However, one study found people in comarital relationships have more liberal views about heterosexual behavior than people in typical marriages. They also seek the approval of others to a greater degree. People in comarital relationships are usually more satisfied with their sexual relationship but find it more difficult to resolve conflict in their marriages.
Despite the scarcity of data on comarital relationships, it’s suggested that they these types of relationships are relatively rare and less common than relationships with adultery toleration. Some may even view the openness people with comarital relationships show to be deviant. It’s typically more acceptable in society to cover up any extramarital relationships.
However, others believe that the traditional marital expectations of exclusivity and permanence may be incompatible with modern life. If that’s true, people in comarital relationships may have discovered a viable way to stay together and maintain trust throughout their married life.