From a reader:
So what you are saying is that the New Monogamy means that I should tell my husband that we should start an open marriage? He really wants to go to a swingers club but I dont want to go. I am religious and dont want to have an open marriage. Are you saying we wont survive?
Mary, from Delaware.
Please dont do anything you dont want to do. Talking to your husband is the most important point here. Communication is still the key in relationships, and disclosure is negotiated either before or after a breach in your monogamy agreement.
The new monogamy is really not about open marriage, swinging or poly. It is a calling for us to take a broader look at marriage and commited relationships and to see that culturally what is happening is not that we have to change marriage – it means that IT ALREADY IS CHANGING. We have a view of fidelity that I think does a disservice to couples and assumes several things that are no longer true – one, that couples are having sex with the same person for life – they may try, but half of them cheat. Two- that they are breaking up when they catch each other cheating – they dont always break up – sometimes they want to stay together! and three, we assume that they should break up. Maybe they shouldnt. Maybe the divorce rates would decrease from 50% if couples learned to negotiate their monogamy BEFORE they cheated, and learned to talk about it AFTER they cheated, instead of being hurt and betrayed and trading each other in for a new model.
I am not saying I have the answers- I am saying we have to begin to ask the questions, and not judge Al Gore and Tipper, or even Tiger Woods, or Elliot Spitzer. We have to look deep into ourselves and wonder what we can do differently in our own relationships. And take the time to talk about it.
Thanks for your questions – keep ’em coming!
Dr Tammy Nelson
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