Open relationship

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)

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