The Second Quesion of Monogamy

Love, Sex

The last time I wrote about monogamy it
prompted a lot of great comments, which led to even more questions.  The first question is:  is long term (20 or more years) monogamy a
natural state for humans?  The second
question becomes this:  if it’s not our
natural state, what are our options in a society that generally favors

I am in a long term monogamous relationship (22
years) so I’m probably not the best person to be pontificating on the benefits
of polyamory.  As my relationship has
become challenging again over the past few months, it has offered me the
opportunity to explore other options.  Our
first option was to go back into couples therapy, which we began two weeks
ago.  Other options include shaking
things up sexually.  Over the past few
years, we’ve discussed inviting a third person into our bed.  We have friends who are in an open
relationship, and I have some polyamorous friends, which coupled with some
research I’ve done, has led me to some conclusions about polyamory. 

First let me say that although long term
monogamy is not our natural state, there is absolutely nothing wrong with
making it your personal choice.  In fact,
I believe that tremendous growth and healing can come from a long term
monogamous relationship if both partners are committed to that growth.  You don’t have to be in exactly the same
place in your journeys, but it is important to be heading in the same
direction.  When one person wants to get
off the ride, the problems begin. 

Second, I do not believe that becoming
non-monogamous will by itself solve serious relationship problems.  For example, if the problem is a lack of
emotional connection, it’s probably a very bad idea to bring another person
into the sexual relationship.  Doing so
would give the person seeking deeper emotional connection a different person to
relate to, which would likely cause an even deeper divide with their partner. 

A third point when considering alternatives
to monogamy is the issue of trust.  If
you don’t trust your partner, don’t even consider non-monogamy. Jealousy and
insecurity are two big warning signs that there’s not enough trust for
non-monogamy in your relationship.  I
suspect that 85-90% of couples fall into this category.  It takes a lot of emotional maturity to allow
your partner to be with another person sexually and still maintain a loving
emotional commitment.

Creating a healthy, loving non-monogamous
relationship is tricky business. 
Essential components include trust, mutual love and respect, and open
communication.  Maintaining open
communication means discussing the entire range of feelings you experience,
even if you’d rather not confess to them. 
Both you and your partner must be willing to live and speak from an open
heart.  I would recommend creating a
clear contract in advance, including a clause that invites re-negotiation on a
regular basis. 

In my contemplation about all of this, I’ve
concluded that non-monogamy would work best in two cases.  In the first, a couple deeply loves each
other and cherishes the companionship of the relationship but have different
sexual needs.  In the second, both
partners consciously choose to change the paradigm of monogamy for themselves
and within their relationship.  If you
fit into one of these categories, you may find a rich and varied world at your
feet.  Just remember to practice safe