INFIDELITY Part 10 - Redefining Marriage / Relationships and Monogamy

Updated: Jun 20

We used to marry till death do us part, today we marry till love dies. Marriage used to be a place where we had financial security, today it is a place where we seek emotional security. That is a fundamental change! And divorce has also changed: We need to be able to leave in order to choose to stay.


There is a great dilemma in love relationships today: it seems that there is a crisis of desire when romance enters a relationship. Desire as ownership, desire as an expression of our individuality, our free choice, our preferences, our identity.

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Here are some questions we should ask ourselves and our partners honestly and regularly:

  • Does intimacy guarantee good sex? Why? Why not?

  • Can we desire what we already have? What did I stopped yearning from the other? Why?

  • Why is the forbidden so erotic?

  • What makes desire so important when it comes to crossing boundaries?

  • How does it feel like to love?

  • And when you desire, what's different?

We need to create a framework for our relationships with each other where we can meet in our reality and own truth. We give each other the freedom to discover more by connecting with each other and vice versa: where we don't ask the other to lie, where we feel encouraged and at the same time encourage the other to express their feelings. Where we openly and thoroughly explore each other's rules, values, needs, philosophy of life, dreams, desires and longings.


“I love you,

and because I love you,

I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth

than adore me for telling you lies.”

Pietro Aretino


Redefining monogamy

It is limiting to consider monogamy as the most important measure of love, commitment, or success in a relationship. It seems as if sex is given the most importance and other forms of commitment are hardly acknowledged by us.

Monogamy is not only about not breaking the rules and not abusing trust, but also about how to be together as an erotic couple.

We need to be more committed to commitment and engagement, rather than committing to never being intimate with someone else again.

We need other models and morals that breathe, that are alive, that change and thrive.

Couples should (re)define monogamy for themselves as a primal emotional commitment that may or may not include sexual exclusivity. However, this is seen as impossible by many people.


According to studies of homosexual couples, sexual exclusivity is not important enough to destroy a relationship, nor is it all that a relationship has to offer.


Monogamy has always been a more open issue for homosexual couples. It is rare for homosexual couples to realize years later that they are on opposite sides of this issue. And this is because monogamy is a "default setting" in heterosexual relationships.

In heterosexual couples, monogamy is assumed, and so it happens that years later the partners realize that they have either made a commitment that they cannot keep because they were carried away by the general cultural understanding at the beginning, or that they have committed to someone who is not able to keep that commitment because they have not been able to have a conversation about whether this is a commitment they actually want to make.


Couples who have good monogamous relationships are couples who have talked about it, who have not just assumed it, but who have negotiated it from the beginning and over the years. These negotiations go far beyond "If I catch you, you're dead," because they are conversations that do not invite the other person to lie. They have found for themselves a redefinition of monogamy, which can mean tremendous freedom for the individuals and the couple together.


I would like to conclude our journey around the topic of infidelity in intimate relationships:

Most of the time, relationships fail because we think that once we know someone, they will stay that way forever.

We should enter and develop relationships in which the true commitment is based on the promise to try to meet the other every day out of curiosity and wonder, a benevolent encounter to discover more of the other, daring to be fully the person we are. It's about remembering who we were and daring to be who we were before the fear of pain, loss and strife separated us from who we really are.

We need to make space for both to be alive. This includes a radical commitment to support each other's truth and greatness.


I truly believe that if we remain vulnerable and in touch in relationship, we can spend a lifetime with someone discovering who we really are without having to look elsewhere for that extension of soul.


Deep pleasure, profound intimacy, personal fulfillment, and creative expression are some of the greatest gifts in life that this kind of bonding can offer.


I pray that each of us will find the courage in our hearts to do this.


Questions for reflection:

What answers have you found to the questions raised in the text?

  • Does intimacy guarantee good sex? Why? Why not? How?

  • Can we desire what we already have?

  • Why is the forbidden so erotic?

  • What makes desire so important?

  • How do you feel when you love?

  • And when you desire, how is that different from love?

  • What things would you rather lie to your partner to get him/her to accept you than tell him/her the truth, even at the risk of rejection?

  • What would you do differently if you were to redefine yourself?

  • Who were you before you lost yourself in the relationship?

  • How would you want to redefine your relationship?

Sources:

  • Lecture 045: The Conflict Between Conscious and Unconscious Desires

  • "The State Of Affairs"- Esther Perel

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