Does monogamy breed cheating?

Monogamy. For most of us, it’s not a choice. It’s a standard decided by our culture that we simply accept.  We love someone, we commit to them, we never have sex with anyone else for the rest of our lives.  Sounds good when love is new and blissful, but what about months, years, decades after that?  Um…maybe not so good.

For many of us, monogamy becomes monotony.  It’s been compared to eating the same meal over and over again for years…ham and eggs, breakfast, lunch, dinner; breakfast, lunch, dinner; breakfast, lunch, dinner…boooring.  And to overcome the boredom, we read about how we can spice things up.  Sexy underwear, fantasies, sex toys…all well and good, but sex on the side?  Never mentioned.  It’s just too threatening.  It seems we think that it’s better to pretend to be monogamous and cheat rather than consider other options.  Cheating is rampant.  Don’t believe it?  Open your eyes.

So with all the cheating going on, shouldn’t we at least take a look at other possibilities? Shouldn’t we question rather than just accept the standard?  Is it really better to simply look the other way and pretend that infidelity isn’t happening?  Or maybe worse, impulsively pull the plug when someone cheats and destroy what might otherwise be a good relationship?

Is it possible to have a loving, committed relationship, and come to an agreement that outside sex is acceptable?  Some do, you know.  And they’re successful at it.  Some are not, of course.  But let’s be fair…monogamy doesn’t have such a great track record either.  Neither guarantees that the relationship will be a happy one.  So if neither works for everyone, why use monogamy as the default?  Because our culture says so?  When it comes to our happiness, not a good enough reason.

I’m not advocating open relationships, nor am I automatically in favor of traditional ones.  I’m simply saying let’s overcome our insecurities enough to at least talk honestly about our sexual needs and desires with our partner.  Is living unhappily, or cheating really a better option?  The hypocrisy of touting fidelity while secretly indulging in outside sex is abhorrent.  To me, honesty, rather than fidelity is the highest value in a committed relationship.  I mean, how much intimacy can you have when you’re sneaking around carrying this enormous secret from your partner?  I dare say, not much.

So what’s the answer?  Talk.  Consider choices.  Come to an acceptable agreement, then commit to it. If the agreement stops working, revisit it and make changes.  Let’s have honest conversations and stop the hypocrisy.  We will all be better off if we do.  What do you think?  I would love to hear.

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.

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