And the idea that monogamy is negotiable in the partnership is for many the sign that something is missing in the relationship.
The discussion of fidelity is not to be confused with an open relationship. Because the core of infidelity is secrecy. But the essence of an open relationship is that what we experience with other partners is not a secret. Secrecy is based on a structure of agreed rules (either open or not open).
When we cross established rules and boundaries, we discover that what is behind the boundary crossing in an affair is an expression of a search for more of ourselves, a search for parts of ourselves that we have hidden or repressed in our relationship for too long.
The real reason we are looking for something new is not to run away from our partner, but to run away from the person we have become. In fact, we don't want to find someone else, we want to find another "me." The "I" that we have repressed, that we dared not express in our relationship.
This supposed incompatibility of the feeling of security and the feeling of freedom with one and the same person is probably the greatest challenge of love in these times. It is an incompatibility that can be felt physically and emotionally. It is embedded in our dual world: in the belief that I can only have one or the other (security or freedom, love or passion, etc.).
That is where suffering begins. And it is a reflection of the world of the dilemma we humans generally face: the difficulty of living in duality in this 3D world, the dilemma between longing to return to oneness (with ourselves, with the rest of the world) and being "bound" to the reality of this world.
An affair is not about "non-monogamy" but about the violation of an agreement, of trust, of a contract. It is a fundamental act of transgression where people break the rules, often their own rules that they have spent years working out with themselves and their partner.
So, who can I trust when I can't trust my own boundaries?
This transgression of boundaries can rob a couple of their relationship, their happiness, and their identity.
As Esther Perel says: Adultery has been around since marriage was invented, and so has the taboo against it. In fact, infidelity has a tenacity that marriage can only envy. So much so that it is the only commandment repeated twice in the Bible. Once for doing it and once for thinking about it. Someone realized more than 2000 years ago that human inclination is not necessarily monogamous.
How can we unite this when it is universally forbidden and yet universally practiced? By redefining ourselves.
As we have seen in the previous articles, we unconsciously choose our intimate partners in such a way that we enter into a relationship out of an expectation that the partner should be the one who will satisfy all my needs, who will make me delete my dating apps, and who will compensate me for past hurts. Then I would be liberated, healed.... I should have everything I want with this one person.
But after years of searching for "the one", once we have him/her, we will unconsciously do everything we can to create a framework that fosters infidelity, dishonesty, and cheating. And eventually we lose our "knight in shining armor," our Don Juan, and begin the endless search all over again.
The idea that someone must be "the one" is a contradiction. It is an act of will, love and caring for someone who treats us as if they are what does not exist in the world, i.e. the perfect partner or someone who can be the perfect partner (or that I can be the perfect partner for the other).
Our relationship becomes stronger when we get rid of these myths. It is very hard to look someone in the eye every day and live a lie. It is easier to look at someone every day and say, "You are the one, there is no "one and only", but I will treat you this way". If I treat you that way and you treat me that way in return, we are so good and kind and loving to each other that that has value, greater value than someone from the outside.
This approach, of course, requires a certain amount of personal development and a determination to expand awareness of the patterns, dynamics, real needs, and fears of the self that arise in trying to maintain the security we have sought since childhood.
Above all, it's about committing to yourself: committing to your own truth, your own life, your own boundaries and limitations, your own wants and desires. Taking the risk of showing my partner all that is inside of me and trusting that we will find a way to integrate all that I am and all that the other is into the relationship. I commit to not hiding or suppressing any thought, feeling or part of me because I know it is a part of my soul and my soul will find a way to express itself, either in the relationship I am in now or somewhere else.
It's about knowing that I will live all that is within me more deeply with my partner if I choose to act accordingly.
But despite all the social development and spiritual awakening of human beings, we must not forget our animal nature and that we live in a body governed by its own "logic," where adultery can play an important role in our development as a species.
I dare say that for many of us the experience of infidelity may be a necessity in our human experience. A necessary experience to get into the depth of our being, to feel the fullness, the pain, the loss, the struggle, the passion, the despair, the life and the freedom.
For most of these expressions are held back, repressed, as we have learned to separate ourselves from all that we are so as not to feel the pain. Being unfaithful to the other is then a way to return to our essence, to rediscover ourselves.
Perhaps this is all part of the human experience of living in a dual world, with a body that has its own epigenetic programming, a mind that is ruled by the ego, and a soul that longs to return to Oneness.
Questions for reflection:
- What parts of you are not living in your relationship? What parts of you are living outside, in other relationships?
- What demands do you make of your partner to fulfill your illusion of being "the prince/princess" of your dreams?
- What duality do you live in your relationship (good/bad, black/white)?
- What is the commitment to yourself within the relationship?
- How do you stay true to your needs and desires (sexual and otherwise) and what difficulties arise in being loyal to yourself?
In the next article and last block of content regarding betrayal in intimate relationships, we will address, as a final capstone, the re-definition of marriage (we used to marry until death do us part) and monogamy (how it limits us to maintain monogamy as the most important measure of love, commitment or success).
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- Lecture 081: Conflicts in the World of Duality (http://www.pathwork.com.uy/lecturas.html)
- “The State of Affairs” - Esther Perel