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Their openness isn't a license to bed everything in sight—respect and discretion rule. D., professor of psychology at the University of Washington and co-author of The Myth of Monogamy.

"Having an open relationship can work really well for some people," he says.

They now have an understanding but don't discuss the details.

"It's funny, but I don't cheat as much as I used to," says Jake, "and I look at things differently.

"A whole bunch of dudes who could say they'd had my wife? In the meantime, the 30-year-old music executive from Atlanta did his thing with countless women.

"They say the ratio of girls to men down here is like 9-to-1, and I took full advantage.

"Moving to the big city and traveling the world for work was another story." Although they married shortly after graduation from Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, he started cheating on her within months.

Neither wanted to end it, but both agreed their desire to experiment with others wasn't something they were ready to abandon just yet.

"It was painful," says Karen*, "but the fact that we could be so honest with each other, I think, made our love stronger." Full disclosure allowed them to clear the quiet tension that had been building between them.

Guys like the idea of freedom for themselves, but the thought of their girl doing the same is too much to handle.

"Men have to under- stand that women are loyal," he says, perhaps naively.

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