Marriage

Trust and the Monogamy Myth (Relationship Series: Part 4)

Series intro: Relationships – An Intro
Part 1: Open Yourself to the Possibilities
Part 2: What a Woman REALLY Wants
Part 3: The UnMarriage


300px 1883 wedding lic Trust and the Monogamy Myth  (Relationship Series: Part 4)
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What gives us the right to ‘own’ another person and when did we decide that a marriage certificate was akin to ownership papers?

How many people have been completely and utterly convinced that if their boyfriend/girlfriend would just marry them everything would be better in the relationship?

Why is the thought of our spouse loving or caring about another person so threatening for us?

These are the questions I ask often. Because I think their answers are telling. They reveal a lot about the level of trust and respect in a relationship.

If Bil approached me tomorrow and told me he wanted an open relationship, I wouldn’t blink an eye. I would let him have it. Because there is one thing I will never doubt. And that is the fact that he loves me.

I trust him. TRUST him. Implicitly.

I trust him to hold our relationship above all others. I trust him to always put me and our daughter first. I trust that at the end of the night it will be my bed he comes home to.

For me, that is what matters.

If I told Bil that I wanted an open relationship he would give it to me, as well.

Because he knows our relationship is sacrosanct to me. He knows I would never do anything to break that trust or let anything interfere in ‘us’.

The reality for Bil and I is that we are two very different people. As much as we love each other, and get along, and are happy together, there are places in our lives where we are very different. And to be able to give the other person what they need, would be to change who we are. I would never ask him to change, nor would he ask it of me. To do that would be to deny the people we fell in love with.

I have never been a great believer in monogamy. It’s just not who I am.

That doesn’t mean I run around sleeping with every man (or woman) I meet. That’s not me either.

That doesn’t mean I cheat on my partner. In fact I never have while in a committed relationship. That’s not who I am.

Who I am is someone who’s passionate. Passionate about life, about love, about lust, about intimacy.

To share this passion and lust with someone else would not mean I don’t love my husband. In fact, for us, the opposite would be true. It would allows us to make sure the lines of communication are open. It would ensures we talk often and review our relationship and make sure we’re both still happy with how things are. It would force me to be more aware, sensitive, considerate of our own relationship dynamics.

And it does.

Yes.

Bil and I have what I would call a quasi-open relationship.

Our ability to play outside the marriage is dependent on the approval and agreement of the other. It is VERY limited and VERY controlled. It is not an open invitation to screw around on each other. It is very specifically to fill a need that the other person can’t or won’t meet.  It is not necessarily sexual in nature.  Unlike Mr.O and his wife, we’re not married. That doesn’t however mean we’re any less devoted to each other. In fact, I might argue that the fact we’ve decided not to rely on a piece of paper to validate our relationship makes it even stronger.

The ability to successfully manage such an arrangement is highly dependent on our trust of each other, our level of communication, and our belief that monogamy is not a natural human state.  Quite frankly, if it was, so many people wouldn’t have so much difficulty adhering to it.

Here’s an interesting statistic for you…  Only about 3 percent of animal species are truly monogamous.  Humans?  Are not in that 3 percent.   That’s not my opinion.  That is fact.

Another interesting little fact?  Monogamous does not necessarily mean sexually exclusive.

I’m not saying that we/you/me can never have a successful relationship with just one person and remain faithful and committed to that person.

But look at it this way… If your spouse passed away tomorrow, would you remarry or enter into a committed relationship again?  If so, then you are not mated for life.  Simple facts and reality.  Our genetic make up allows us to feel love for other people.

What I am saying is that I believe monogamy is the product of rigid social norms, not base human nature, and it sets us up to feel ownership over another. And that, for me, is a fundamental issue. No one owns me. No one.

Don’t believe me?

What happens when someone starts flirting with your spouse? What is most people’s automatic reaction to that situation?

“Mine. Back off”

Mine. In that one word you exert your ownership and possession of another person.

But here’s the problem. I am a human. Not an object to be owned.

I know this part of my lifestyle is distasteful and beyond comprehension for many people.  But, the big question is why?

Let me put an imaginary scenario to you…

Now that you’ve read all this, how comfortable would you be inviting me into your home for dinner with you and your spouse?

If your first thought was ‘Hell would freeze over first’ then I would ask you to examine that.

Are you attracted to every person you meet?  No?  Neither am I.  In fact I have very specific (and quite frankly, eclectic) tastes when it comes to who I’m attracted to.  And just because I’m attracted to someone does not mean I would ever act on it.

And if your initial reaction was ‘not on your life’ then I would encourage you to examine the level of trust that exists with your partner.   That reaction says ‘I don’t trust my partner enough to be around her.  I don’t trust them to know that they would never let anything happen that I was not 100% OK with’.

Sometimes the things we react the strongest to are those that are rooted in fear.

Let me make something clear.  Cheating = bad.  It’s not OK.  It’s never OK.  Because it’s based on lies and deception that erode the relationship.

A relationship without trust and honesty is nothing.

There are ways to strengthen trust in a relationship, though.

This is an article I like to read.  I don’t know the author, it’s just something I’ve found in my great Google searches. It’s based on rebuilding after a spouse cheats, but it applies to any relationship, no matter what the level of trust.

http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/6-28-2005-72248.asp

I would encourage everyone to read it and DISCUSS it with their partners.

What areas can you improve on and what effect will that have on your relationship?

Because strength in a relationship can only mean happiness for everyone involved.

 Trust and the Monogamy Myth  (Relationship Series: Part 4)

The UnMarriage (Relationship Series: Part 3)

Series intro: Relationships – An Intro
Part 1: Open Yourself to the Possibilities
Part 2: What a Woman REALLY Wants


As I said in Part 1, Mr. O’s ‘open marriage’ (and no, I have no idea why I put that in quotes.  It seems stupid but I can’t make myself delete them) revelation prompted several deep conversations between Bil and I.

I’m not going to lie.  Those two words probably opened up a wider channel of communication than has been there in a long time between us.

For whatever reason it really made us stop and examine our own relationship.

What makes us remain committed to each other?  What would make that change?

We already know that cheating would be grounds for kicking the other persons ass.  But how does that compare to an open relationship?

Are there any reasons in our relationship we would ever consider starting down that road and what would be the ramifications of a decision like that.

Bil and I don’t exactly have the normal relationship either.  Yes, we are committed to each other.  I call him my husband.  He refers to me as his wife.  We wear wedding bands.  And yet… we are not legally married.  And probably never will be.  Because I don’t think a piece of paper from the government is going to make us any more committed.

That is our reality.  That is our norm.  But that doesn’t mean that norm isn’t evolving as our relationship does and changing as we do.

So, in the the spirit of having a wife who blogs, Bil good naturedly agreed to sit down with me and discuss our relationship and relationships in general for your voyeuristic pleasure.

Why do you think our relationship works without us being married?

Because marriage isn’t important to us.  The relationship is.

I know at one point in time you were leaning slightly more towards the ‘lets just make it official’ side of things.  Has that changed?

I don’t know if I was leaning towards it, but it’s not really that important.  If it was something that we had to do because of V or there was some strange law that we had to do it, sure.  But I don’t need to go through the legal process to validate my love for you.

Do you think if we didn’t have Vista we would still be together?

Oh yeah.  We’re not together because of her.  We’re together because no one else will put up with our shit.  And you know we have feelings and all that nice stuff…  You know… I love you, you love me, happy family…

I think you’ve been watching entirely too much Barney.

I know you have no issues with me going out for lunch /dinner /drinks / coffee with other guys, and even ex-boyfriends. You had no issue with me even going for coffee with Mr. O, knowing our history and the fact he’s now in an open marriage.  Do you think that’s more from trust or lack of caring?

Who the fuck made up this questionnaire??  Of course it’s because of trust.  I trust you implicitly and I’m not a jealous sort of person who wonders if you’re out cheating on me.  That’s just how I roll.

Why?  How do you know I’m not going to cheat on you?

Nothing is absolute.  But I trust you and take you at your word.  A lot of it comes down to knowing you’re coming home at night to your family.

If you could change one thing about the way I approach our relationship, what would it be?

Well I wouldn’t change anything because then you wouldn’t be who you are.

That’s a pansy-ass answer.  Try again.

No.  I’m serious.  Same reason I won’t change for you.  That’s the way I do things.  I might compromise more on certain things, but I think a person’s essence shouldn’t change in a relationship.

Why do you think marriages and relationships fail?

In general, it’s usually selfishness on one persons part.  The inability to negotiate or compromise on things.

If you met someone who could offer you something I couldn’t in the relationship, would you cheat, ask for an open marriage, or ignore the urge?

I would never cheat.  I don’t know if I have the balls to ask for an open marriage arrangement.  It’s not part of my makeup.  I also don’t find that I’m missing something in my life that you don’t provide me.  And I think that’s one of the reasons why our relationship works.  To be cliche, you do complete me, you fill in the gaps.

Sweet answer.  But a cop out.  Pick one of the three.

If I had to pick, I’d ignore the urge.

Don’t you think that would make you unhappy?

Lots of things make lots of people unhappy.  The challenge is to redirect that into something that does make you happy.

What would you do to spice up our sex life?

I’m not putting that on your blog!  That’s not something I’m going to share with people.

Why not?

Because there are certain line I won’t cross and that’s one of them.

So you don’t want want to talk about vanilla vs kink?

Sure we can talk about that but I’m not going to go into specifics.

Why do you think, as far as bedroom preferences, you’re vanilla and I’m kink?

Why don’t you like horror movies and I do?  Same thing.  If I sat you in front of a horror movie, you wouldn’t enjoy it.

Maybe it’s because part of me views it as abuse and I just don’t like that.

If you could change one things about our relationship what would it be?

*silence*

More sex, morning blow job….

I guess any answer I give would be something we’d want to work on.  But as long as you’re happy with things then I’m happy with our current arrangement.  It all goes back to communication and negotiation.  If there was some stumbling block in our relationship then I’d want to try and deal with it ourselves, and if we couldn’t then look to outside help.

But right now I don’t want to change anything in relationship.    I have a partner who I can come home to, vent to…

….who glazes over when you start talking SharePoint….

*laugh*  Yeah, well that’s what makes us unique.  Makes us work.

Don’t you just want to beat the crap out of me sometimes when I start being a royal bitch or make you answer questionnaires like this?

Ha! The thought crosses my mind.  But then I realize I’d have to wake up the next morning and deal with the body.

My challenge to all of those who are still reading is to create a questionnaire for your spouse and sit down and talk about relationships.  Your relationship and relationships in general. Have fun with it.  But don’t hand them the questionnaire like a piece of homework and walk away.  Sit together, after the kids are in bed, and actually talk.  Some of their answers might surprise you.  I know Bil’s did for me.

And if you don’t agree on everything, that’s OK!  That’s part of being individuals.  But understanding where those differences are can be key to open communication in a marriage.

*note – I’m not a relationship therapist.  I just play one on my blog*

For those people who want to be really brave, (and if your spouses / partners / lovers / significant others / etc agree to it), post your answers on your own blog and link to the specific page in the Mr.Linky below (I will delete any links that don’t meet this criteria).  Then  grab the badge to put on your blog proudly proclaiming that you have talked with your partner at least once this year.  Think of it as a New Year’s resolution you might actually keep.

talkaboutit The UnMarriage   (Relationship Series: Part 3)

Next up?  My own personal opinion and views on monogamy, open marriages, BDSM, the whole lot.

It’ll be open, honest, and a peek into my life.  (So, if you’re family, close friends, or anyone who ever wants to look me in the eye, you may not want to read it)

Have a question you want me to answer for you in the next post in my Relationship Series?  Leave it for me in the comments and I’ll do my best to give you answers.

 The UnMarriage   (Relationship Series: Part 3)

What a Woman REALLY Wants (Relationship Series: Part 2)

You can find the series intro here: Relationships – An Intro
And Part 1 here: Open Yourself to the Possibilities


Part 2 of this series was originally going to delve into some of the conversations and discussion Bil and I had after Mr. O revealed his alternate marriage and lifestyle choices that I detailed in Part 1.

That was until I started getting question after question via DM, email, and a few in the comments about “BDSM?? Isn’t it just a way for a man to abuse his partner?” and “What about a woman’s point of view?”. catkit What a Woman REALLY Wants (Relationship Series: Part 2)

Uhhhh….

After squirming for a bit on how I was going to answer those, the gorgeous Cat, Mommy Geekology, swooped in and saved me. I owe her some really kinky sex, or maybe just a drink, when we meet up.

Cat and her husband, A, are in a closed marriage (they only play with each other… right now).

By day Mommy Geekology is Type A all the way. But turn out the lights and close the door, and she becomes a sweet, submissive plaything for A. Add a ball gag and you have a very happy Cat indeed.

Because you all know how nosy I am, I forced asked Cat really nicely to answer some questions about her lifestyle.

As you did with Mr. O, all I ask is that you keep an open mind regardless of your own preferences. And then talk about it. If you have questions, ask them. If you need more information, let us know.

Without further ado, the stunningly sexy Cat, aka Mommy Geekology:

How long have you and your husband been married?

We’ve been married almost 5 years (our anniversary is January 26th), and that’s about as long as we’ve known each other. We got married about 6 months after we met. When it’s right, it’s right.

Did you explore BDSM before you were married (ie, is this something you just started exploring with your husband, or is it something you were into before)?

I was interested in BDSM before we married, before we met – but I hadn’t really explored it much with other partners. A was the first man I felt comfortable discussing it with.. and even so, I still sometimes shy away from telling him what I really want.

Who initiated the play in your marriage (ie. how did you have the conversation around wanting BDSM in your marriage)?

I initiated, and I was incredibly nervous about it. I think I’ve completely blocked the conversation from my mind from the trauma of it all, but A tells me that I was sitting at the computer in his tiny Air Force dorm room and said out of the blue – “I think you should tie me up and have sex with me.” I’m incredibly subtle. Luckily he was also excited by that idea, and we started to experiment.

You’re obviously not afraid to talk about your play, but is it something that’s widely know in your circle of friends / family.

My mom *thinks* she knows because she saw a ball gag in our closet one day. She has no idea the extent, though. My friends do know, to some extent. There are a few that I’ve discussed my likes and dislikes in details, but mostly I’ve just touched lightly on my kink preferences. I’ve even made reference to it in my blog. (I was really surprised how many kinky commenters I had!)

What is your role in your BDSM play? Do you (or would you ever want to) switch?

I’m a sub. I wouldn’t want to switch, male subs are not at all attractive to me. I’m bi-sexual, so I could possibly see acting the role of Dom to a female sub, but I think it’s unlikely. I enjoy subbing too much. A lot of people mistake the power in a sub. It’s a very powerful thing to give someone else complete control over your body. There’s a lot of trust there. It’s a choice I make, and there’s a power in that choice.

Further to that, is that a role that continues outside of the bedroom?

Absolutely not. I’m a real Type-A personality, and A is a little more laid back. I think part of the reason that we enjoy BDSM play so much is that it allows us to be the opposite of who we are in “real life” – I get a chance to let someone else make the decisions, and he gets a chance to have absolute power (within reason).

Do you refer to your husband as Sir or Master inside or outside the bedroom and why / why not?

Inside the bedroom, yes. I switch between both, though often I don’t use any sort of honorific. Typically because I’m gagged – that’s a major turn on for me. Probably because I’m such a talker outside of the bedroom. (Oh, Hai! I’m a blogger! Narcissism, anyone?) Outside of the bedroom, absolutely not. Never. No fucking way. Ok let me modify that. If we were playing a scene that included some public aspects – then yes. We’ve discussed going to dinner in our “roles” and then retreating to a hotel for a night of mind-blowing sex. I plan to wear a remote control vibrating thong. RAWR. As for why or why not… we don’t follow a 24/7 lifestyle – there are those who do it, and honestly more power to them… but I couldn’t. I have a completely separate part of myself – my “real life’ self – that needs to get out and live. I couldn’t stifle that in favor of a 24/7 submissive lifestyle.

Are there any rules that your husband has for you that you are required to follow?

Not yet – but I’ve been wanting to ask him about this, because I definitely would like some bedroom-only “rules” to follow.

Do you have an ‘ownership’ charm / bracelet / collar / cuffs that you wear? If so, how do you feel about this?

I don’t, but I would like something discrete. Not a collar, but maybe a bracelet or anklet. I think it’s sort of similar to a tattoo – though less permanent – just a symbolization of one part of me. A part of me that I refuse to be ashamed about.

Can you speak to concerns of abuse or control in BDSM relationships?

One of the most important concepts in BDSM play is “consensual” play – the concept that we are all consenting adults who are fully aware of and responsible for our actions. I personally would never play or scene with someone that I didn’t trust with my life. Giving that sort of power – the power to immobilize me – is not something to be given lightly or without great consideration. If someone was considering playing with BDSM I’d tell them to start light. Find someone you trust. Don’t just meet someone online or head to your local leather club, because you never know when something can go wrong. Make sure your safe word/gesture is communicated clearly and multiple times, and make sure that the person(s) you are scening with will respect those words. If you have a doubt, don’t start. Make sure someone knows where you are and who you’re with.

I’m sure there are couples or individuals out there participating in a BDSM relationship that went sour – has transitioned from play into abuse or was abuse from the start. It makes me sick to think about, honestly. At that point, it’s not BDSM anymore. It’s just abuse. The best advice is to ensure that you trust who you’re with from the start. If things go sour, or you misjudged, get out. There are plenty of domestic violence advocates out there, and yes – that’s what it is if your partner is abusing you during sex. Reach out and get help.

What’s your favorite thing about having a marriage where BDSM play is involved?

I love the opportunity to completely immerse myself in the scene. The chance to be someone that I can’t be during the day. Within the context of the scene there are a lot of things I feel more comfortable saying or doing… things I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing or saying during “vanilla” sex. It’s a chance for release, and a chance to relax, really.

How do you find / make time to do scenes with your husband?

We love to get a hotel room but that’s usually not an option. When we get a home, we plan to have a separate room – locked, possibly hidden – just for scenes, but for now we manage wherever we can, once the kids are safely asleep. That usually means staying up late, but it’s worth it.

You mentioned in your comment on my first post that you would consider bringing people into play. What sort of rules do you think would be important to make something like that a success?

Complete honesty and agreement between the two of us. It would have to be a female, and probably a sub, though we’d consider a Dom. It would have to be someone we know well and trust… I could never grab a stranger from a club or off Craigslist. Most importantly though, I think it would be a long discussion. We’d consider over a few days, if not weeks – not a few hours. We’d likely have a discussion with that third individual to ensure that expectations are managed well and everyone is on the same page. It would be worth the time to prevent any possible negative fallout from assumptions, misplaced emotion or anything else.

If your husband came to you and wanted to open the marriage and play with someone else, would you consider it?

A would likely never come to me with it – it’s not something he’s interested in, and honestly not something I think I’m interested in. We enjoy BDSM together – I don’t trust anyone else enough to play or scene with them, and he doesn’t either. I’m not sure if it’s the stage of our relationship or simply the way our love works, but I don’t think we could do it without jealousy coming into play and souring the experience and likely our marriage.

Do you think there will ever be a time where you’ll grow tired of the BDSM play?

I doubt it. I’ve enjoyed the sensations of BDSM play, the thought of it, since I was about 8. No, I didn’t have a partner or even know what it was – I was a virgin until 19 – but I used to get incredibly squirmy reading Nancy Drew books when she was captured by the bad guys, or those cartoons with the damsel in distress on the train tracks. I knew something was up long before I admitted it to myself.

Do you think that continued BDSM play forces people to further extremes (ie. the more you push boundaries, the more you have to push them for the experience)?

This is a tough question. Personally, I don’t think so. I think your limits – your ultimate limits – are your limits. I don’t consider BDSM a sort of gateway sexual experience that leads to more “depraved” acts or extreme sexual preferences. If you enjoy asphyxiation, I think you’re going to get to it eventually under the right circumstances, no matter what you try first. It’s not a drug, and I don’t think you build up a “tolerance”. We all like to spice things up once in a while – just like any couple. Vanilla sex doesn’t push people to further extremes – so I don’t see why BDSM would either.

I want to give huge props to Cat for willing to talk to us so openly about something so personal. Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into your life.

You can find Cat on Twitter, and her Mommy Geekology blog

 What a Woman REALLY Wants (Relationship Series: Part 2)

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