What do relationships look like in 2017? We have new names for the old ideas of marriage, monogamy, desire and attachment that hint at the future of relationships – and The New Monogamy may surprise you.
Couples are negotiating monogamy in new ways, defining fidelity through transparency and disclosure rather than by maintaining sexual fidelity to one partner. Perhaps this is a reflection of low sexual desire in long term relationships or a generational response to high rates of infidelity. Infidelity in marriage is reported to be at 55% for women and 65% for men. Who are these men and women who insist on multiple partners and what does this mean culturally? Is marriage changing to accommodate a new definition of fidelity or is this just a blip on the screen of sexual mores, like swinging was in the 70s? What does this mean for the future of sex and love?
Everyone has their own concept of what “monogamy” means, but couples rarely discuss exactly what their monogamy agreement means to them. What happens when this implicit agreement is broken with an affair? Relationships can become strained as both partners lose trust and faith in each other.
The New Monogamy offers a way out of these difficulties for couples who are struggling to stay together after infidelity. The New Monogamy helps couples re-make implicit assumptions and agreements into explicit agreements so that each partner knows exactly what is expected of them in the future and what they can expect from their partner.
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This “new monogamy” demands a more mature type of communication, where a couple will negotiate and create a monogamy agreement that helps the couple’s connection remain strong, but allows for outside attachments, as long as those attachments or connections don’t threaten the primary marriage or committed partnership.
Kind of like having your cake and eating it too?
And why not? Who doesn’t love cake?
Each couple works together to decide what type of monogamy will work for them to create a meaningful and fulfilling relationship. It takes a special couple to maintain this level of intimacy.
It is a new form of monogamy, not your grandma’s kind. It doesn’t demand a label, and you don’t have to tell your parents. This can be a form of open relationship, or what some people call polyamory. Others refer to it as non-monogamy. Whatever you want to call it in your relationship, is up to you.
Polyamory and sexually open relationships are happening all around us. Polyamory, from the Greek, ‘poly’ meaning ‘many’ and the Latin ‘amour’ meaning ‘love,’ simply defined means ‘many loves.’
An arrangement between two adults who are committed to making a marriage or partnership work, should include any rules that work for them.
Can you have a conversation with your partner about these ideas? What is sexual fidelity to you? What does it mean to have a new monogamy relationship? Does it mean something different to you now than it meant ten years ago? Will it mean something different going forward?
Opening up a dialogue with your partner can free both of you. You can have many different relationships within the lifetime of your marriage or committed partnership, and they can all be with the same person. There is a wealth of possibilities between you.
Try my new monogamy questions in my book, The New Monogamy, for ideas on how to begin or pursue this type of dialogue today. Write me for more information or to receive a free copy of the New Monogamy Questions for your dialogue today.