Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Let's Talk About "Real" Monogamy
Let's get real about monogamy.
The average life expectancy is the U.S. as of today is 79.8 years. It is likely, given medical and scientific advances, that it will go much higher. If you are now in your 30s and married, or heading toward marriage, it is possible that you could be with the same person for 50 to 60 years. Are you honestly able to say that you are never going to have sexual and/or emotional desire for another person for the rest of your life?
The notion of "monogamy" is held up in society as an esteemed and preferred value. Yet it is doubtful if, or when, this practice was ever actually the norm. It is estimated that over half of marriages end in divorce, and that more than half of married men and women would have an extra-martial affair if they knew they wouldn't get caught.
Furthermore, technology has completely changed the way we look at relationships. As recently as fifty year ago, romantic possibilities were primarily based on where you lived, where you worked, the proximal distance to a potential partner. Today, anyone in the world with a wi-fi connection could be a potential partner. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and so many other social media sources have made bonding with others an experience that is not limited to the physical sphere.
So what do we do with all this? We begin with Integrity. I help couples get very clear about their values, specifically related to monogamy, and work through the shame and fear that can become a barrier to being an honest with a spouse about sexual desire for others. Furthermore, we put aside the moralistic and unrealistic cultural value of "monogamy" and replace it with the more empowered idea of "priority." What does it mean to prioritize a primary partner? How do we create negotiations around sexual and emotional outside of the relationship, while still expressing appreciation, love, and gratitude for a prioritized partner.
These questions are often not easily answered, and can require lots of time and patience. They require each person to face fears, insecurities, and possible jealousies. But I have found that when couples do ask these questions in a calm emotional state, and create negotiations and agreements from a loving and rational stance, that they are able to maintain their relationship "pillars" in a way that enhances the quality and quantity of their connection.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in New York, who has helped hundreds of couples and individuals create joyful, peaceful, and pleasurable, relationships. He is the author of the books, “Rational Relating” and “Absolutely Should-less.” His trainings have helped thousands to learn practical skills for living an empowered and fulfilling life. To speak with Damon about counseling, speaking engagements, or media appearances, please contact Damon at Damon@DamonLJacobs.com, call 347-227-7707, or visit www.DamonLJacobs.com