How can I give romantic relationships a different place in my life?
July 10, 2012 6:28 AM   Subscribe

How can I give romantic relationships a different place in my life?

I have a friend who never gets jealous or insecure about anything in her monogamous (in that they do not have sex with other people) long-term relationship. She's said that if her partner ever wanted to sleep with other people, she would be okay with it. She's okay with him doing pretty much everything and anything regarding other women, sex, and attention, and he has done so (except for sex.) They are very very independent, regularly travel without one another, and spend a lot of time apart, but they do love each other and are considerate of one another when they do spend time together.

I have been in short term casual relationships with people where I was very indifferent to most of the things that bother me now. The only thing that would have bothered me or would have been considered a betrayal is lying. Romantic entanglements with other people would have been fine as long as I was not being cheated on, in the sense of it being hidden, and as long as I was still being treated with respect.

I have been in my current relationship for almost four years and I definitely would be unhappy if he slept with other people. There are other things too, that we do not do and that most couples do/are okay with (such as porn), because we are not interested in doing those things and also, I think, because of insecurity. It seems to be working, but I can't shake that I "should" be more okay and laid back. The friend that I spoke of earlier told me that there is no "should" and she's right, but I'm thinking that if I were truly secure and confident, then I would not need such commitment. My relationship has for all these years been a big part of my life, whereas in the past, my relationships were not a big part of my life. I didn't need their sole attention, because their company was simply a nice addition to my day. Now my relationship is headed towards marriage and children. Anthropologically, children require resources such as time and money, therefore my partner would be more heavily involved in my life and the child's life on a day to day basis. But this still doesn't mean that my partner doesn't have time for sex with other people especially when the child is older.

I just feel if I were more enlightened, rational, confident, etc. I would not need much really from my partner aside from respect and care during the time we do spend together. And the rest of the time, how does it really affect me what he is doing so long as he doesn't contract an STD or get someone else pregnant (which would take away resources)?

So even though there is no "should," there kind of is. I do think part of this is that I don't want to get hurt. Sometimes I think I might be relieved if my partner cheated on me so I could just forget about relationships in the way I have learned to view them since being in my current long term relationship and just go back to how I used to be before.

How I think I was before is because I kept my emotional distance, but maybe I could even learn to be very emotionally close and loving, so much so that I'd never ever want to limit my partner in any way, even if that meant losing him, whether on the weekend while he spends it with another woman, or permanently. I'd just be happy that he was happy (so long as I was not being physically or emotionally abused). I guess I'm feeling as if monogamy is a sign of weakness in myself, a sign of my insecurity. And I don't want to be insecure and I don't want to get hurt.

So I suppose the questions are: are there any books or websites on this topic? Do you have any experience navigating this issue within your own relationships?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I just feel if I were more enlightened, rational, confident, etc. I would not need much really from my partner aside from respect and care during the time we do spend together. And the rest of the time, how does it really affect me what he is doing so long as he doesn't contract an STD or get someone else pregnant (which would take away resources)?

there's this weird idea out there from a lot of open marriage and polyamory advocates that their choices are the "enlightened" ones. And I don't really blame them for this belief of theirs-- after all, everyone believes, on some level, that their way is "the right way" rather than merely just a personal choice.

Your friend has the sort of relationship with her SO that works for her and her SO. And you don't know what's going on inside that relationship, so there's no point in wishing that you were like her.

Is your relationship with your SO working for you? It sounds like it is. The question is if that's what you want, and why you want that. Or maybe you always envisioned yourself with a different kind of relationship than you have now. Or maybe you're so stuck in the pattern of your previous relationships that your current one, even though it seems good, is "unnatural" for you.

My advice is to stop believing that you should believe things that you think people in your "enlightened" cultural milieu believe and instead do what works for you. I guess my question would be why you think you have to conform to a value system in which you would have a more detached/open relationship. Because that's what you're doing here-- seeing other forms of relationships and cultural beliefs and believing that you need to conform to them.
posted by deanc at 6:46 AM on July 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Real, actual monogamy is common, normal, and desirable.

Jealousy is a normal human feeling.

You can try to be more "enlightened, rational, confident" and those are all good qualities to have. But you may still experience jealousy and wish to keep your relationship monogamous. You shouldn't feel pressured to conform to a modern, "open relationship" model, even if your peers (and Metafilter) give you the impression you are backward, irrational, and insecure for wanting to be an exclusive couple.
posted by General Tonic at 6:47 AM on July 10, 2012 [10 favorites]

Why are you buying this idea that monogamy is weakness and poly is "enlightened?"

Here is the premise in all of it that I find flawed: poly people tend to believe that our emotional resources are infinite, that as long as your husband comes home to you, meets your needs and doesn't get an STD or get anyone pregnant, as you put it, there is no loss to you. Really? I'm not sure most people have so much energy and so much capacity for intimacy that they could spread it around to more than one relationship and really be meeting the needs of all partners. I'm not saying it's not possible, but it's probably very rare. Love is not infinite; we usually only have so much time, emotional energy, etc., and so most people choose to invest it primarily in one person so no one is left wanting.

(this is of course different than having casual sex outside your main relationship but everyone knows about it, which is another thing it's okay to want or not want)
posted by slow graffiti at 6:55 AM on July 10, 2012 [16 favorites]

It seems to be working, but I can't shake that I "should" be more okay and laid back.

You know, the only insecurity here is the insecurity you're feeling that you should be more like your friends. But guess what? It sounds like being like your friends isn't natural or comfortable for you and wouldn't make you happy. Own your choices. Own your happiness. You're doing what makes you happy in your relationship, and you can be secure about it.

There are some people who I'd say "yeah, it sounds like you depend too much on a partner for your identity and you could stand to be more independent because it's making you miserable;" but you don't sound like that at all. You sound like someone who knows her mind and knows her preferences, and you're letting other people's personal choices get to you and make you feel like yours are lesser. They aren't, and there's nothing inherently superior or inferior about their choices, or yours. To each their own. You're fine.

I'm a total monogamist and my partner says he values this too, and I trust him. We're both very comfortable with our arrangement. If he cheated on me I'd be really, really hurt and stricken and it would be a big, serious thing that I couldn't predict the outcome of. I certainly don't want it to happen for either of us. But it's not like it's inevitable (despite some rhetoric you hear sometimes,) and there's no point living life being afraid of it. If for some reason your partner is doing or saying things that end up causing you to feel insecure, address that with your partner and ask for a check-in or reassurance.
posted by Miko at 7:00 AM on July 10, 2012 [7 favorites]

Monogamy isn't weakness. People are different, and I would venture to say that your friend is the outlier here and your feelings about what you need in a relationship are more common. That doesn't make them bad or wrong in any way.

Does your relationship make you happy? Why do you feel like you need to change the way you view it? I am curious about why you want to change a fundamental thing about your life and relationship if it's a situation that is currently working well for both of you.
posted by something something at 7:03 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Jealousy is a real and valid thing. There are good reasons to be jealous in some situations in life. You aren't being weak. You're just being the person you are.

The arguments for polyamory are, at best, useful for those who already genuinely want to be polyamorous but aren't sure if this is OK. These arguments don't invalidate everyone else's way of doing things.

The idea that your way of relating to people is wrong, and you need to convert to the right way of doing things, is exactly the same fallacy that has caused people to think homosexuality is wrong and gays have to convert. The polyamory thing may be more politically correct, but it's just as pernicious and flawed.
posted by John Cohen at 7:05 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

You know, we've been through this "it's enlightened, rational and modern to have open relationships" thing before, in the sixties and early seventies. It didn't work super-well for women. (I say this as someone who is actually in an open relationship.)

Relationships don't occur in a vacuum between utilitarian robots. (Although that would be a hilarious movie!) We live in a society that is really sexist and has very little social safety net, where the social pressures on women to be "cool" and "modern" and "not hung up" mostly work to put the burdens of relationships and families totally on women. Women - especially once they have children - are the ones who run the big risks of "modern" non-monogamy - the dude is out there dating, the dude maybe has another family and ditches you, the dude isn't doing his part of the childcare and housework because he's being cool and modern and dating, the dude doesn't provide you with emotional support because he's really not emotionally present since he's playing the field, the dude spends money on dating and relationships that is needed for the family....and the woman bears all the bodily and emotional and most of the financial consequences of having a kid.

Plus, due to sexism, a man can start over with a new family when he's older, or be considered a good catch when he's older....on average, a woman who commits to a man who is still playing the field is taking a much bigger risk than a man would be were the situation reversed.

I notice that you're not saying "I am sometimes interested in exploring an open relationship because I am sometimes attracted to other people but I am worried about how this might destabilize my relationship"; it's all about how you are messing up the relationship by "denying" this to your partner (who doesn't actually seem to be angling for it anyway.) There's this narrative about male sexuality which I think we absorb unconsciously - that men "need" lots of partners, and that even if they choose monogamy it's out of obligation, makes them miserable, is some kind of unfair restriction put on them by those awful, uptight women. And because women are socialized to feel like we are responsible for people's feelings and actions, we feel like we are wronging men pre-emptively by wanting [whatever it is we want].

I do totally get the "if only he'd cheat and get it over with and then I wouldn't have to have this hope and take this risk". (There's some Baudelaire poem somewhere where he talks about "sale espoir", "filthy hope", and I always think of that - sometimes I get angry with the world for putting me in a situation where I can hope and can want, when I feel like that just means that I'm going to lose and hurt more.)

But that makes me think - what is your larger relation to hope and relationships? Have people generally failed to be there for you in the past? Is there family trauma or friend trauma? Do you feel that you were betrayed or grievously injured by people who should have had your back in the past? (That's a big part of the "don't make me think you'll stick around" mentality for me - reliving past crappy stuff.)

Also, do you have a strong belief in your ability to take care of yourself? I think it's very easy to believe that you can't really take care of yourself, avoid intimacy to avoid risk and then freak out when there is intimacy and thus some serious risk on the table - because it forces you to confront your fears that you won't be able to take care of yourself.

So anyway, I would suggest examining your past family and friend relationships, maybe by journaling regularly, and see whether all this current situation is pulling up some past stuff for you.

And also, work on having your own values - journal and think about what you really value. I myself struggle with the need for external moral authority - it's very easy for me to think 'but I should do this thing that I don't want to do and that will hurt me because Young, Modern People Say It's Right'. I have to remind myself often that I have to believe in my own moral code; I can't just outsource belief to the internet or even a philosophy.

Also, it's okay to be monogamous.
posted by Frowner at 7:11 AM on July 10, 2012 [54 favorites]

Echoing what most of the respondents have said so far. One approach isn't "more enlightened" than the other. Don't feel bad for wanting what you want. If that means you're not comfortable with your partner having side relationships or sexual encounters, that doesn't make you some unevolved, irrational person. It looks like you've bought into Evo Psych explanations for human sexual behavior and are trying to reduce your subjective desires to biological/evolutionary functions. Stop that. You'll be a lot happier if you focus less on how you should feel and allow yourself to let your desires (as unenlightened as they are) guide you.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:12 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also - I wanted to add that what your friend tells you about her relationship may be very different from her real inner feelings. And what she believes she would feel if her partner slept with someone else might also be very different from how she would truly react. What you're doing here is comparing how you feel on the inside with the image she's projecting to the world, which is not necessarily the same thing at all as reality.
posted by something something at 7:17 AM on July 10, 2012 [13 favorites]

She's said that if her partner ever wanted to sleep with other people, she would be okay with it

What people say and what they actually do are frequently very different. I've had a lot of friends who were all into polyamory in theory up until their partner actually started sleeping with other people.

I would not judge yourself based on someone else's standards.
posted by winna at 7:19 AM on July 10, 2012 [6 favorites]

Why is this an issue for you? Is it because of comparing yourself to your friend, or is it because your SO wants a monogamish/open relationship? If it's not the latter (kinda doesn't sound like it), then who cares? The vast majority of human beings want monogamy and are jealous, and they far outnumber the "cool, enlightened poly people." I'm not saying that either side is right, but you're in the vast majority of people who don't feel cool and froody with romantic flexibility. And as long as your partner feels the same, then what does it matter what your friend thinks?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:21 AM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

I met Mrs. Straw in a hot tub in Tiburon at a potluck that was part of a neo-Tantra community. We were both naked. On that first night we talked about open relationships and sex with other people, and agreed that as a basic ground rule we'd talk to each other first.

Turns out I'm actually monogamous. Nobody's more surprised than me. I thought poly was cool and all, I thought it'd be great to have lots of options, but when it comes right down to it I like a level of intimacy and communication that I don't have time or energy to develop with more than one person.

I can't speak to your issues of jealousy or possessiveness or whatever, but it turns out that there are some of us who talk a great game because the grass looks greener, and in reality would much rather put energy into our primary relationship because "new relationship energy" sounds fun, but in reality re-learning about someone we've already invested time and energy into is more rewarding.
posted by straw at 7:25 AM on July 10, 2012 [6 favorites]

If you'll forgive the sweeping character judgements I'm making from knowing almost nothing about you, I don't think this is about polyamory at all. It sounds to me like you're overwhelmed by or scared of the emotional intimacy you have, and you are trying to protect yourself by making it so that your partner can't hurt you. It's totally understandable that you might be in this place now as your current relationship looks like it might be *it*, for want of a better word. Marriage and kids is scary. You're closing off a lot of other options, or it feels like you are, and I think maybe you're just kicking out against that. I can relate, I am recently divorced (and I had a lot of the same feelings in my marriage) and still super gunshy over commitment and the way I deal with it is to not close off these options, and not to go to a place where those options are closed. My partner and I are not poly, or even really open, but we acknowledge that the options are still there, that maybe we'd like to play with other people sometimes, and we talk about it when I feel claustrophobic or I catch myself freaking out. Every day I make the choice to be with him because nothing holds me there except the fact I want to be, and it's a lot easier not to feel trapped when it's all about your choice.

It's a hell of a lot scarier to trust someone with your heart and your emotions than it is to force yourself not to care what they do as long as they're good to you when they're around, but I feel like if you wall off that bit of yourself, you're denying yourself the potential fullness of the connection and also kind of short-changing your partner. Talk. Be brave.
posted by corvine at 8:19 AM on July 10, 2012 [8 favorites]

I just feel if I were more enlightened, rational, confident, etc. I would not need much really from my partner aside from respect and care during the time we do spend together. And the rest of the time, how does it really affect me what he is doing so long as he doesn't contract an STD or get someone else pregnant (which would take away resources)?

You've been sold the same type of bill of goods that drives people to endless, empty consumerism and eating disorders.

You decide what works for you; some pseudo-enlightened type does not. Most people that go on and on about how great their lifestyle is and how enlightened they are turn out to be full of shit sooner rather than later.

Do you want a committed, monogamous relationship? Does having one make you happy? Then go for it. You deserve it by virtue of being willing to invest your time and attention in another person and building a relationship. You don't need to settle for what somebody else tells you to do and you don't need to buy in to the sort of crap peddled by desperately insecure people trying to be cool.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:21 AM on July 10, 2012 [14 favorites]

You're absolutely allowed to want what you want, and it sounds like your partner is on the same page as you are, monogamy-wise.

Which makes this problem more about your own perceptions of your insecurities, and your fears about cheating. That's the sort of personal mindset and history sort of stuff that talk therapy can be Great at untangling so that you can live with less fear and doubt, and more joy and security in your own choices.
posted by ldthomps at 8:39 AM on July 10, 2012

I am really non-monogamous and I don't think monogamy is a sign of weakness at all. I think women are socialized to think that wanting anything from men is like, totally lame and gross and clingy. I think that socialization is bullshit. You and he both like your relationship, right? You're both happy with each other? Then be happy. Mazel tov, you've found something very special, and should not be criticizing yourself for it.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:08 AM on July 10, 2012 [13 favorites]

Here is how I read your question:

I used to be in poly relationships where it didn't bother me what my partner did. This was the enlightened way to be. I also wasn't that into them so I didn't care what they did. Now I have someone that I'm into and I find that I do care what he does. He doesn't seem to want to sleep with other people. This means I might have to make a commitment, and I might get hurt. If I could bring myself to care about him as little as I did my previous partners, it would be safer for me, and it would also make me look more enlightened. How can I annihilate my own instincts and emotions and conform better to an external standard which protects my opposite instincts to avoid intimacy or risk getting hurt?

Since that seems to be what you're asking, almost in so many words, I don't think the answer is as simple as "screw what everyone else thinks, do what makes you happy," because the prospect of commitment and/or getting hurt makes you more fearful than happy.

IMHO this is where J. Random MeFite would tell you to get Therapy! and I don't know if you need Therapy! or not, but I do think it will help you to recognize what (I think) you just said here. And that if you fled back to your old ways, calling it "enlightened" would be nothing more than a pose.
posted by tel3path at 9:22 AM on July 10, 2012 [11 favorites]

I just feel if I were more enlightened, rational, confident, etc. I would not need much really from my partner aside from respect and care during the time we do spend together. And the rest of the time, how does it really affect me what he is doing so long as he doesn't contract an STD or get someone else pregnant (which would take away resources)?

So even though there is no "should," there kind of is. I do think part of this is that I don't want to get hurt. Sometimes I think I might be relieved if my partner cheated on me so I could just forget about relationships in the way I have learned to view them since being in my current long term relationship and just go back to how I used to be before.

Well, cheating ups the chances of STD's and pregnancies with other women, without a doubt. It is a reason some people desire monogamy. On the other side, men also would like to have some level of reassurance that the children they are caring for are theirs and that they aren't going to get STDs.

More importantly, this is your choice. You can choose the boundaries you are willing to set for your relationships and other peoples' boundaries need not be yours. Whether or not there are shoulds is irrelevant. You have the right to ask for what makes you comfortable.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:24 AM on July 10, 2012

Something that has helped me with this exact issue is the idea of discussing the goal of staying together with my (hypothetical) partner over time, over and over again. What do each of you need in order to feel like the relationship is sustainable? Can you approach each other to bring up needs that might be ...tricky? As other's have said, maybe your partner is not interested in being able to see other people.

Also, you mentioned the lack of jealousy and the sense of security being related. I think this is something to focus on - if you trust that your partner has your best interests at heart, then in my experience you really don't care if they want to seek attention from other people. It is not at all that these "enlightened" people have made themselves stoically detached or something; they've just actually allowed themselves to fully trust someone. Part of being secure in yourself is trusting your choices, and once you really do you stop feeling the pending demise anxiety thing. A bit of a scared of falling vs. jumped off and hit the ground running type difference.

Good luck!
posted by skrozidile at 10:32 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I guess I'm feeling as if monogamy is a sign of weakness in myself, a sign of my insecurity.

This is the bullshittiest bullshit that has ever been bullshitted in the history of bullshit. Whoever has been feeding you this stuff is not your friend, and is not particularly good at doing polyamory/open relationships. One of the things people do in polyamory discussion spaces is mock the everliving fuck out of people who take the "Oh, but polyamory is more evooooooooooolved!" line.

My own perspective, as someone who did open relationships for most of my dating life until I fell in love with my husband, for whom monogamy was a hard boundary, and chose to have a monogamous relationship with him, is that people have a spectrum for their relationship style orientation. Some people are 100% always going to need to be poly, because that's what fits best with their style and temperament; some people are 100% always going to need to be monogamous, because that's what fits best with their style and temperament. And then there are people like me who find both relationship styles compatible.

Being 100% monogamous is no more a "sign of weakness" than being a Kinsey 1 or a Kinsey 6 would be. It's how you are. It's an important quality about your sexual and romantic orientation. Be true to yourself, not to somebody else's ideas about how you "should" be.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:38 AM on July 10, 2012 [11 favorites]

In my experience, I've found poly vs monogamy vs open relationships to be more of an ingrained thing than we give it credit for being. For some people, a certain model makes a hell of a lot more sense than the other models (which I guess is where the "logical" argument comes from). For other people, it's more of a choice. This is sometimes as rigid and uncontrollable as sexual orientation - some people really WANT to be poly, but are unable to make themselves comfortable with that in practice; others really WANT to be mono.

There's nothing wrong with being comfortable in a mono setting right now. It isn't a sign that you're unenlightened or that you're doing it wrong or that you'll always be mono forever or that you'll change your mind later etc. You're just monogamous, right now, with this person, and if that works for you two then there's no reason to change it.

I'm curious as to where this pressure is coming from. You don't mention your partner pressuring you for an open relationship so.. why all the worry? Have you had this conversation with them? Maybe they can help you stop worrying better than strangers on the internet can.
posted by buteo at 12:30 PM on July 10, 2012

Omg, I get crazy when this subject is brought up. There's this crazy idea that polygamy is good for males and bad for females and monogamy is good for females and bad for males. This is crazy. A species is either monogamous or polygamous. It's not half the species being monogamous and the other half polygamous. That's ridiculous.

Physically humans tend towards monogamy more than polygamy [for example, lions are polygamous and wolves are monogamous....the sexual dimorphism in humans seems more like wolves (males slightly larger than females) than lions (males MUCH larger than females)].

But it's not a black and white thing, and technology allows us to overcome our biological urges (contraceptives, post-natal health care, etc.). But just because technology allows us to overcome a biological urge doesn't mean that you HAVE to go against them - it just means you now have the ability to make your own choices. And like I said, physically humans TEND towards monogamy, but it's almost impossible to find humans in a natural habitat, untainted by "religion" or "culture" - i.e. unnatural constraints.

There are pros for polygamy for both sexes - if men are willing to sleep around (and women are sharing their mates) then women get to choose the best male (for example, everyone gets a piece of Johnny Depp! ...yes, I'm dating myself). The top males get to produce more offspring and the females get to have babies with the top males (usually more physically fit in some way, shape, or form, better immune system, faster, stronger, etc.). The downside is that if you're a male and you're not Johnny Depp (or whatever) then the ladies might not look your way. If you're female you'll have a great baby, but without the benefit of a second parent (although lioness prides get around this with shared rearing) as well as the chance of infanticide if a new alpha male comes along.

There are pros for monogamy for both sexes - if Johnny Depp is tied to one woman, then the other ladies will have to look elsewhere, and "lesser" males now have the chance of getting some. Females have a dedicated partner for shared rearing. Of course, the downside is that the top males are having fewer babies (because they're tied to one woman) and most women will have help with their babies...but those babies will be with "lesser" men. this is probably more sciencey than you want, but what I'm trying to say is that there are simple biological pros and cons to both polygamy and monogamy. Neither one is more "enlightened" than the other. And no, we certainly don't consciously go around thinking about how many and what kind of babies we want to make, but subconsciously that's a lot of what physical and emotional attraction is about (just like how we don't say, "I would like to eat some starch in order to perform glycolysis because my brain needs glucose to run well!" ....we just say, "omg carbs omnomnom"). Cultural bounds tell us that the world is already filled with babies and we shouldn't make more, or that we can't afford them, or whatever and we hold back.... but that doesn't mean we don't typically have primal urges (I'm speaking to wild-type, of course)

Whether you choose monogamy or polygamy, it simply speaks to your personal values, not your level of enlightenment. As long as you're upfront with your partner(s) and you can trust them to be on board with the same thing, you shouldn't sweat it.

The only "enlightenment" you should strive for, imo, is being content in your relationship to not worry about whether it's good enough for others.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 1:14 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

People are different - why would you want to be anyone other than yourself?
posted by heyjude at 2:35 PM on July 10, 2012

Anyone can sleep with more than one partner. Most do.

Choosing a monogamous relationship means choosing to maintain control of yourself. You will be attracted to other people. You will entertain thoughts of what it would be like to be with them. You may even choose to flirt, drink, and dirty dance with them at the party. You might even accidentally fall in love with someone else. But ultimately, when your hormones and lust and booze-soaked brain are all saying "Do It!" you will have to choose to recognize the lines between having silly and social fun, having foreplay and sex, and having emotions and feelings beyond friendship — and choose to not cross them.

It can be difficult and a lot of people fail to maintain their partner-agreed monogamy promise. That can be really crushing to everyone involved: years of trust destroyed, pain of betrayal and loss, pain of sorrow and regret, friendships destroyed.


That is the only way to survive your decision to be monogamous: to work together to support one another by sharing openly and honestly all feelings and emotions, by sharing immediately and fully, and by listening and accepting what is being shared without immediate judgement.

Neither of you are the type to fuck things up by jumping in the sack with some hot young thing that catches your eye at the office or dance club. You wouldn't choose monogamy if you were. So be open and honest about who you are attracted to and which people set off your gut-instinct base urges. Communication helps you identify your triggers and helps your partner trigger you.

The real risk to a monogamous relationship isn't the after-party regret scenario, it's when a partner stops being open and honest about their attraction to someone. The moment you don't share is the moment the long-term outcome is determined. Hide an emotion, impulse, or urge from your partner and you make a running start at breaking your vow of monogamy because the feeling will only grow and you'll even more reluctant to share… until it all comes apart at the seams.
posted by at 5:57 PM on July 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

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