I Believe in Serial Monogamy

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 06:47
Submitted by Anonymous

It’s fine to trash monogamy. Lately, so much opinion has been spread across the Internet, the TED talks, the magazines, about the irrationality of it. In theory, yes, it doesn’t make sense -- if you’re a hedonist, it is an exercise in futility. If you’re someone who believes that pleasure is the purpose of life, then don’t consider monogamy, at least not right away.

For those who have marriages, children, full lives, there is more to this than meets the crotch.

The one thing that couples in long term relationships do NOT work on is their sex lives. Too much else is going on. For me, that is a huge mistake. Everything old gets older and everything new gets old too.

I believe in serial monogamy. I think “forever contracts” usually get brittle and fail. It’s so difficult. I think that all relationships are created perfectly for whatever issues need to be worked on – at that time. Sometimes the work, the injuries of childhood, are repaired and moving on to another relationship is, to me, a defensible option.

But there is still something so basic about respecting the choice you’ve made and growing with it if at all possible. There are the emotions, huge mountains of them, at risk. There are kids who don’t need to be caught up in a home full of chaos and tears and weekend luggage.

There are many more ways to handle sexual naiveté, and boredom, than running away. Pleasure ultimately resides in a moment of abandon, or in the glory of satisfying and pleasing someone other than yourself. There is surely power in that choice.

I am not against pleasure and I am not biblically attached to marriage. I am fervently against, hedonism, narcissism and utter disregard to the integrity of the soul.

I think there is way more to being faithful than gritting one’s teeth. Isn’t there more to a relationship than hormones, and hot risky moments? It would be lovely if we could all be open and honest, as is often suggested, and then sow some oats with a free conscience. It doesn’t happen in the real world. Even open marriages have drastically failed in the mainstream. For those few, who can rally the ability to be undismayed and unthreatened by a partner’s escapades, great. It’s not at all a simple matter. What typically happens is more lying and hiding and sneaking than fucking.

It’s a shame, I guess, that we typically marry before we have slept around. And if that’s been true, as they say, grow up! Heal your marriage or take a walk – after you’ve agreed to appropriate child support and the distribution of your precious property. Take charge, be an adult for god’s sake.

For the record, I am not a prude. I practice sex therapy; I have been married three times. I love Love. I love sex. I hate liars and hypocrites. This is not the age of Bacchus and Dionysus. People get hurt and some don’t recover. And this, all to experience a new position?? Come on.

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Serial Monogamy?

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 14:36

Well, I'm not totally sure what the thesis of that posting was, but speaking as a man who's been happily (and I mean very happily) married for 45 years and also as a professional business person, I can testify to a decline in the sense of commitment in general.
I'm not just talking about commitment to relationships, but it all springs from that same sense of dedication.  People who take relationships seriously find the ways and means to repair the occasional damage.  Are there breaking points?  To be sure, but too many couples just have this "aww, f*k it" attitude.  They just aren't willing to go the extra distance, to make the extra effort, to be sufficiently negotiable.
But also where other social appointments, promises, etc. are made, there seems to have been a decline in my lifetime regarding integrity and courtesy.  People aren't prompt about returning phone calls, emails, or about giving sufficient notice if they can't make a commitment.  They often use some "back door" after-the-fact lame excuse, instead of making the cancelation "up front."
Often there's a lack of getting to know each other well enough in the beginning, and yes, people do change.  But I just don't see long-term committed relationships as being rocket science.
Everybody's looking for the alternative "easy way."  I don't think there is one.
Whether or not a person gets formally married or whether they just avoid that "contract" for whatever reasons, there's just a lack of dedication.
If something "matters" to you, you do your best to make it work.  De-valuing relationships makes it much easier to chuck things.

Monogamy, hedonism, and honorable choices

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 16:34

Very interesting post by Princess, and commentary. Many who disparage monogamy do so because traditionally monogamy hasn't really been a free choice, it''s been the only choice. Monogamy has been forcible, the one and only socially acceptable form of intimate commitment. So I understand why rebels, free thinkers, and iconoclasts don't like it.

I would only suggest that honesty is important, both in our relationships and in examining our own motives for seeking so-called greener pastures (or those multiple partners with whom to get off our rocks). My wife, my life partner of over 30 years, has gone into renal failure again. This is the second time it's happened, and it's not her only illness. Once again she is on dialysis and the future is uncertain. This is just as difficult as one might imagine.

Attention spans in our society have grown very short. We want it all, we want it perfect, and we want it right now---and many of us seem willing to walk out if our demands aren't met. I could have bailed out of my marriage years ago. I could have had the affairs a few women offered me. I could have left my wife to find someone I could have had an 'easier' life with. To be perfectly honest, every now and then I do fantasize about what my life might have been like had I done so. I'm envious of couples who had the children we couldn't, who take the active holidays we no longer can. I can't say that I enjoy the difficult parts of our life together; sometimes I honestly and profoundly hate them. Yet I made that 'better or worse, sickness and health' promise to her. I meant it, and I'm keeping it. I'm not any nobler than anyone else. I just decided I could not abandon her for the sake of having 'fun' with someone else. Fun? Where is the fun of breaking our word, of hurting someone we care about? Where ultimately is the fun, as Princess says, of heedless, narcissistic hedonism? Being a loving person is inexpressibly more important than having so many lovers that, at the end of our lives, we can't even remember them all anymore.

Patrick. thank you for your

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 16:57
lsjb (not verified)

Patrick. thank you for your most eloquent and personal post. It's very kind of you to share.

Thank you, lsjb

Sat, 06/20/2015 - 01:36

Thank you for your kind words. On D&R, monogamy tends to be reduced to little more than a source of sexual frustration. I wanted to let people know that monogamy can be so much more than such a caricature. It can be about partnership---sharing pleasure, yes, but also being there for everything else. Because that's what life eventually throws at every one of us: Absolutely everything, both wonderful and terrible. We can help one another through every step of it, but only if we care enough to make abiding love our priority at those times when it would be so much easier to just leave.

Another angle

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 23:07
johnjohnjohn (not verified)

Interesting thread.

I'm a sexually healthy 63 year old male. I've been happily married for 37 years to a lady who is a pain-racked invalid. No sex possible for more than 15 years.

I have never looked for sex outside our marriage, but fell into a lovely relationship (VERY long and complex story) nearly four years ago. We are great friends and share the odd sexual experiences. I still love my wife.

Would I tell my wife? Never. Not from guilt but because it would destroy her, and she doesn't deserve to be hurt.

Would my friend do anything to split us up? Not in a million years - she is kind and regularly asks about how my wife's health is.

So, this isn't monogamy, but it works.

Just my 2c worth.

Monogamy and sexual romanticlove relationships

Sat, 07/18/2015 - 22:39
Guardianofthetruth (not verified)

Thank you, Dodson & Ross for permitting me to express myself. Monogamy is not the problem or the root cause. Monogamy especially in marriages is the final decision of permanent union between couples. Monogamy is an innocent idea meant to secure honest long-term committed love between two people. Essentially the problem is a flaw within either you or your partner’s character that makes monogamy impossible or unsustainable. I don’t know the problem of your flaws, but I can guess or infer from your comments that the probable elementary reasons are that either you or your partner do not desire monogamy, you are incompatible with your partner in some way, or irreconcilable differences, disagreement on important matters, lack of sex, cheating on various degrees not just sexually, or habitual dishonesty or compromises. Monogamy or polyamory are terms and conditions that are mutually agreed upon in advance and consensual between adults. 
There are some separate categories for human relationships, 1.family relationships, 2.friendships, 3.professional relationships, and 4.sexual romantic love relationships. Family relationships are not chosen by individuals—a person is born into a family. Friendships, professional relationships, and sexual romantic relationships are chosen. These volitional relationships can be chosen either objectively or subjectively based on the person’s preferences. Ideally, choosing objectively is preferred. The objective criteria will be based on moral character, philosophy, intellectual compatibility, and shared values, but sexual romantic relationships have extended differences. These relationships have boundaries and limits, thus mixing and matching the different types of relationships is possible, but not proper for example, familial relationship matched with sexual romantic love relationship is called incest or professional relationship matched with friendship is too personal for that type of relationship arrangement or sexual romantic relationship matched with friendship (most people make this mistake) one of the barriers is sexual and the other is more of shared interests such as hobbies, sports, colors, etc. Mutually shared interest makes for a great exciting friendship, but not a sexually stimulating sexual romance or even an aphrodisiac. The predominant idea behind friendships is to bond non-sexually with the person either through common interests or activities e.g. swimming buddy, drinking buddy, pen pals, etc. Although it is understandable the reasons most people mix their sexual romantic relationships with friendships due to the personal nature of this type of relationship still it is highly incompatible, mostly erroneous, improper, and must be avoided if the pursuit is sexual romantic love. Sexual romantic lovers do not need to share common interests or activities together in order to be compatible with each other. 
Sexual romantic love relationships are primarily based on a few major important objective criteria, 1.sexual attraction, 2. intellectual compatibility, 3. moral compatibility, 4. philosophical compatibility. Within sexual attraction includes the sex appeal of the opposite sex on the basis of masculinity or femininity. Masculine appeal can include, but is not limited to broad shoulders, muscular, tall, deep voice, beard growth, or whatever the person finds most appealing about the opposite sex. Feminine appeal can be wide hips, big breasts, slender figure, toned/lean, attractive legs, soft voice or whatever the person finds most appealing. Intellectual compatibility is based on the partner’s mental level or understanding of each other e.g. stupidintelligent=mismatch, or intelligent=intelligent. Having a partner that is not your equal in terms of intellect means that partners will not generally understand each other and will not be equal in their mental levels. Moral compatibility is based on being equals in moral character e.g. dissoluteThe basis for sexual romantic polyamory relationships includes egalitarianism and shared love between each party assuming mutual honesty and agreement between the parties. My mathematical expression of polyamory or polygamy for example, the variables x=you, 1=opposite sex, 2=another opposite sex. My mathematical model looks like this x(1+2)=1x+2x. X is distributing or sharing their love, time, effort between two people. In a relationship of polyamory the other two are able to have other relationships as well. Some definitions: 3=another partner of the opposite sex, 4=another partner of opposite sex. The other two people’s mathematical model will looks like this 1(3+4)=3+4=7 2(3+4)=6+8=14. In sexual romantic love polyamory relationships the matching technique is still based on the previously mentioned objective criteria. As more partners are added in the sexual romantic love polyamory relationships the love, time, and effort is further divided equitably amongst the shared couples. Should there be an unequal distribution of love, time, and effort feelings of jealousy or favoritism can put it out of balance. Loving one person more than another will be unfair to those involved in this type of relationship arrangement and can cause severe conflict. In non-sexual relationships preferring or favoring one person happens because a person is very selective and discriminate in their choices, for instance even in families there is favorite uncle, or aunt or brother, or daughter, etc. Also this selective and discriminate behavior can be witnessed in other relationships like friendships e.g. best friend (typically meaning one friend). Loving everyone is the same as loving no one in particular. Love is a selfish pursuit. 

Making Time

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 04:13

GofT
Before I had children, I worried about all sorts of things. I worried that I would love one more than the other, that my love for them or their love for me might take something away from my love for their father. I worried that if I went back to work, they might love their caregiver more than me or simply love me less.

None of this came to happen.

I've learned that love is not a finite thing in our lives. Loving one person does not mean we are unable to love someone else. If anything it means we can love other people better. When we feel ourselves to be loved, we are more secure in ourselves and more confident of our ability to love others.

I am at a loss to understand why this seems so much more difficult in a polyamorous sexual relationship.

I have a monogamous relationship with the father of my children. I have deep and abiding loves for my two oldest and dearest of girlfriends, who both predate my partner and for a manfriend thirty years my senior who I met through my kids 15 years ago and who just happens to share my sense of the ridiculous.

They are my chosen family, a wonderful phrase Betty once used which makes much sense to me. My family is small but precious to me. My love for each of these people is personal, specific to them and in no way makes me love the others less. I don't have a "favourite". Each of us brings something new to the relationship.

Maybe whilst love is infinite, time is not and there is simply not enough time in people's lives to work at more than a smallish number of relationships because all relationships require investment of time and energy if they are to flourish.

We live in a world where we are constantly rushing, constantly competing, measuring and evaluating our worth against someone else's standards. Our own real-life, real-time relationships can seem very mundane. It seems increasingly difficult to find or make time for love and very difficult indeed to value what we have and hold dear.

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