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A Plug For Monogamy And How To Keep It!

If you are in a committed relationship, I suggest you tell your partner when you are flirting with someone else. And certainly, if you are cheating. That is, if you want the relationship to be deep, loving, connected and lasting. But actually even if you don’t. I’ll explain why below.

I know what you’re thinking:

  • It’s harmless.
  • It would only hurt him/her to know.
  • It was only that once (or those six times/isolated).
  • He/she deserved it/I deserved it under the circumstances.
  • I was filling a void he/she left.

All of these are lies. And sadly, they are lies that will keep you from believing in lasting monogamy and creating lasting monogamy. I know monogamy isn’t all that “natural” for us and we don’t have many great examples. Yet, most of us dream of it somewhere deep down. If only we knew how to make it happen. It has to be some different way than how we’ve been attempting it. Let’s try radical honesty, not to hurt or burden your partner, but to keep the partnership “senior” to your momentary, individual, ego-driven impulses and desires. This may fly in the face of relationship “wisdom” you’ve heard, but as a woman who has come back from standing on the edge of divorce, hear me out.

Telling on Yourself:

Is a Deterrent- If you know you are going to tell, the flirting or cheating just isn’t that sexy. It’s the power that’s at least half the fun. Choosing someone over your partner plus keeping it a secret is a double power play. It gives you power (maybe revenge?), but it won’t give you lasting, deep love. If your justifications are strong enough (and you have one, or five) you will excuse your behavior. If you don’t excuse yourself, you will have to deal with whatever complaints you have in your relationship quickly. Good. That’s the point.

Keeps You Vulnerable, and That’s Hot- Let’s face it, it is going to be embarrassing to tell, and hard. I know this from experience. But that means vulnerability, and vulnerability means intimacy. That intimacy means closeness and probably hotter sex with your partner (unless there are long-held grudges, see above).

Keeps You Right with Yourself and Your Self-Esteem High- If your ideal is monogamy, then staying honest about even the smallest stray, like telling your partner who else you think is sexy, keeps you in alignment with your ideal. When you live true to your ideals, you feel good and proud, no matter how embarrassing it may be at times to admit that you are human. And to look at people other than your partner and feel attracted is certainly human! We are not debating THAT, right?

Puts Your Partner on the Top “Rung” and Keeps Your Partnership “Senior”- I help a lot of people through divorces and break-ups. Invariably, we can trace the beginning of the end back to when the partnership stopped being “senior” to the needs of the individuals. When we are saving a marriage, the first thing we do is ask the couple if they are willing to start putting the partnership/each other on the top rung again. When you flirt with someone else, cheat with someone else, or even keep any kind of secret with someone else, you are putting them on the rung above your partner. Not cool. This hinders intimacy in your relationship, but telling changes the power dynamic and brings intimacy back.

Will Break You Up if it Should- Sometimes cheating or flirting is your lame way to get out of a relationship. If only this left you feeling good about yourself and the possibility of love, but it doesn’t. It actually erodes your trust in people, yourself and love itself. So, the sooner you tell, the sooner you can deal with your real issues and how to break up lovingly, if that is the right course of action.

And for those of you who are saying: “But Laurie, I am making (or have made) my open relationship work and it is beautiful and honest.” Hot! Seriously, I love your utopian heart, I do. But I ask you this: have you deeply examined your parents’ marriage (or lack of it) to see if you are really being original and creative in your veer away from monogamy? Just in case the philosophy falters a little when you want to raise kids, or the nursing home won’t let you room with your whole posse, I want you to consider polyamory MAY be a cop out to deep love. I am truly open to being wrong about this.

Write into the blog and tell me where you are in your journey.

- Working on believing in lasting love at all?

- Working on keepin’ it real with your current partner?

- Getting over past crimes?

- Making it work with multiple partners?

PLEASE SHARE so we can all learn from each other.

Love, Laurie

P.S.- If you want to fulfill your dream of having love and monogamy, or just want to watch, don’t miss: Hot Monogamy on June 21.

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Laurie Gerber is President of Handel Group® Life Coaching, an international coaching company, which specializes in teaching individuals to take focused and powerful action in every area of their lives. You can connect with Laurie on Facebook at HG Life Coaching.

  • Chris A.

    Until I read this, I didn’t realize I was still copping out to real intimacy after 28 years of marriage. I’ve felt lucky and blessed and proud that my husband and I are still truly in love after a long union with many serious ups and downs but – in the last few years – can’t deny some disconnect. I thought it was just us getting older, getting comfortable, being settled in a long term relationship. But your post flipped a switch today – after a very painful secret was exposed three years ago, I thought I had forgiven and moved on. I’m going to tell on myself now…I think I just clammed up and protected myself out of fear of being hurt again, or losing my marriage. And it doesn’t feel good. The relationship is withering and now I know that’s what I’ve been feeling. Thank you.

  • Gerberlama

    Thank you thank you for this PLUG for Monogamy, I am not a traditionalist but I do believe in having ONE person to share with my life. So great,,,,,,, Dailylistenin.blogspot.com

  • Lisathielenekanger
  • http://profiles.google.com/kealabrown Keala Jacobs

    I’m in the process of believing in lasting love at all.  I know it exists.

  • Serafina

    I am currently exploring open relationships. This is the second instance  that I’ve come across where the idea that a deeper connection might be missed inside an open relationship. I have not been in an open relationship long enough to deem whether this is true or not.

    Some things I think that are needed to create a deeper connection with another:
    - clarity and awareness about why you are in the relationship, with the knowledge and acceptance that this could change
    - awareness of what you need verses what you want
    - the intent to be present in each interaction

    - time spent together
    - consciously coming together with wisdom, clarity of intent, awareness of yourself and others
    - ability to make and express choice
    - ability to non-judgementally listen, appreciate and accept the other

    When I look back over what I’ve typed I feel that all of these components need to be present in both monogamous and open relationships. I wonder what would happen if I could bring all of these things to my life on a daily basis in every relationship that I have.

    Musings…

    • Anna

      If we could bring these elements to every relationship what an amazing life that would be! People don’t seem that interested in that kind of depth and intimacy. People say they want it but when given the opportunity opt for surface relationships. Somehow intimacy & depth are equated with having to grow up. Well, perhaps it is because it means we have to be accountable and present for others as well as ourselves. I don’t mind it at all. I love your comment!

  • Chavezmarie9

    Working on believing that lasting love does exist. I have never found anyone who wants to do more than just date me. I am 42 yrs old & have never lived with anyone or been engaged. Beginning to think I’m the problem.

  • Ashleigh

    Thank you so much for posting this! I recently broke up with a man because he wanted an open relationship. He thinks the sort of love and intimacy I want – the same type you are writing about here – can’t exist in monogamous relationships. He thinks monogamy kills passion, that it is restricting, that it is unnatural, and that sooner or later, the relationship will fizzle out. I feel the opposite – I want nothing more than to share all of myself with just one other person. And what a challenge, to look inwards into your relationship to find what you’re looking for, rather than searching for simple sexual satisfaction with other people! So thank you – at least I know I’m not crazy!

  • Dave K.

    I agree with almost everything you have to say, which is notable because I am in a long-term committed polyamorous triad. Honesty, integrity, and communication are vital to the health of any relationship, not only monogamous ones, as is the willingness to let it die if it isn’t right. 

    But the potshot against alternative relationship structures really wasn’t necessary. I fail to see what my parents’ upcoming 40th anniversary of their traditional monogamous marriage has to do with it, or why you think poly relationships need to be “original and creative” when monogamous ones don’t. Nor do I view future nursing home regulations as an indicator of whether our love is deep enough or not. Indeed, the fact that we’re willing to fight to be put into that nursing home together, damn their rules, is as good a signal of deep love and commitment as any other I can think of.