Polyamory Or Monogamy

Polyamory or Monogamy Which One Is For You?  Polyamory means having simultaneous close emotional and possibly sexual relationships with two or more other individuals with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned.  The growing practice of polyamory in the United States indicates a significant shift in the way marriage and intimate relationships have evolved over the past few decades.  For some individuals, monogamy could be a better choice and for others, polyamory may be a better fit.  How do you know which one is best for you? If you’re not sure what would work for you, I highly suggest you find out sooner rather than later, especially before you get involved in a committed relationship as changing your mind from monogamy to nonmonogamy without a discussion with your primary partner can be deemed an infidelity.   The emphasis in relationships is openness, caring, and mutual consent.  Being attracted to what another person might offer needn’t be an irreversible disintegration of the relationship.  Learning how to have a dialogue about possibly opening up your relationship can go far in keeping your relationship truthful, transparent,  and trusting.

As a Marriage Counselor, working with all types of couples, monogamous and nonmonogamous, I come across individuals who are in monogamous relationships where one partner makes a unilateral decision to open up their marriage.  And because that partner didn’t make his/her intentions explicit an infidelity has occurred.  In Affair Recovery, learning how to talk about possibly opening up your marriage is an option that could be considered.  See my blog: https://couplescounselorsandiego.com/relationships/id-like-open-marriage-conversation/

As a Marriage Counselor consensual non-monogamy and the New Monogamy is the preferred term in the academic world and is being talked about in Marital Therapy in my office as well as in other innovative clinicians’ offices throughout the country.  What I mean is, while serial monogamy is popular, lifelong monogamy is obsolete and whether we like it or not, polyamory is catching on.  Author Deborah Anapol gives pertinent information from her book “Love Without Limits.” see blog article https://couplescounselorsandiego.com/relationships/polyamory-monogamy-one/

It’s extremely rare these days to find someone who has had only one sexual partner or “significant other” throughout his or her life.  There are definitely some people who are far better off taking it one person at a time, and then there are those who can have multiple partners sequentially or at the same time.  There are those who practice polyamory with ingenuity and vulnerability and those who justify what they refer to as polyamory but is really self-deception and lack of integrity by indulging in multiple affairs as a means of hedonism.

What’s important is not so much the Glamour of multi-partner relating as it is allowing love to dictate the form rather than attempting to force love into whatever mold the mind has decided is right.  Polyamory is less about how many people you are having sex with or feeling love for than it is about allowing love, not lust, to lead you into whatever form is appropriate.

There are pros and cons to both polyamory and monogamy but the main point is that it is not a question whether it’s possible to have one partner or two or several or none at all but rather a question of whether to allow love to lead and surrender to the direction that love chooses rather than surrendering to cultural conditioning, peer pressure, social censure, or unruly emotions.

When love, not lust, is freed from restrictions dictated by law and society it very often veers from the monogamous standard our culture has sought to enforce.  Understanding and educating yourself about polyamory opens up discussion about the different realms of open relationships and multi-partnering. Some people find the aspect of allowing love to lead unfamiliar and often difficult to comprehend at first. Obtaining the information you need about the subject will help you gain better understanding and perspective that may be helpful to you in making an informed decision about alternatives to monogamy and the nuclear family.  In this day the incidence of polyamory is far higher than anyone suspects as people keep their private lives private.

Whether working with Monogamous Couples or Polyamorists I have no position on whether people, in general, should be monogamous or not.  That fact is that it is very rare to find anyone who has had only one sexual partner for his or her entire life.  Monogamy works for some people and does not for others.  It’s a matter of what works for you and your relationship.  Having a dialogue about what you want in your relationship is a start.  In Couples Counseling,  I help Couples initiate conversation that may seem difficult and make them feel vulnerable, as talking about what you want sexually is unfamiliar and awkward to some.  As a Marriage Counselor, I characterize my position on polyamory as pro-choice rather than antimonogamy and have no position on whether people in general “should” be monogamous or not.  Individuals need to do what is right for them.  There is no judgment or criticism in however you choose to relate in your relationship.

What works for one person may not be the same for all people or even for the same person in different stages of their life.

For more information on polyamory and if it is suited for you and your relationship please give me a call at (858) 735-1139 or email me at [email protected]

 

Ringing In The New Year With A New Monogamy

Ringing In The New Year With A New Monogamy.  What exactly is a New Monogamy?  Monogamy is defined as the practice or state of being married to one person at a time or having a sexual relationship with only one partner.  Some literature on affair recovery suggests that infidelity is a symptom of some fundamental problem in a marriage or committed relationship when perhaps another reason could be monogamy is not possible or even desired for some couples.

As a Marriage Counselor who specializes in Affair Recovery, I see couples who despite the research indicating 60% of men and over 45% of women cheat at some point in their marriages (Atwood and Schwartz 2002) are still unhappy about cheating.

Staying faithful to one partner for many years isn’t easy.  People are living until their 80’s and 90’s and staying monogamous is becoming more difficult with the use of the internet, online dating apps, and access to infinite amounts of people being able to communicate with each other throughout the world.

As a Marriage Counselor working with people who think they may no longer want to be monogamous, I help initiate that process through developing New Monogamy Agreements.  These contracts are explicit agreements created by each partner to openly, honestly, and safely share desires, expectations, and limitations for moving forward in a way that clearly states how they may behave.  The agreement is an obligation that you willingly support your relationship and want to meet both your partner’s and your own needs.  This can mean agreeing on a Traditional Monogamous relationship (closed marriage), Open Marriage, Semi-Open Marriage, Polyamorous Marriage, or Polysexual Marriage.  Each to be discussed with an open-minded Counselor trained in knowing how to talk about and follow through with opening up a relationship. And whose goal is to guide the couple to develop and negotiate an agreement that works for both of them without transference or countertransference of their own biases.

Coming into the 21st Century we no longer have the marriages/relationships that our parents or grandparents had.  There are hundreds of “How To” lists for relationships and they all seem to say the same thing.  Why not put something together that works for you and your partner?  We live in a diversified and dynamic world where everyone is unique.  As a Marriage Counselor who understand non-traditional relationships, I help couples develop New Monogamy Agreements to rebuild trust after an affair or to re-establish intimacy in a relationship that feels stale like roommates when you want to feel like lovers.

When making your New Monogamy Agreement it can be like renewing Vows.  Realistic behavioral promises that are explicit rather than implicit to better care for individual and relationship needs.  As a Marriage Counselor developing New Monogamy Agreements, couples have the fluidity and variety to renew at will and to prevent unnecessary discord.

For more information about developing a relationship that works for you or on New Monogamy Agreements please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Polyamory Or Monogamy Which One Is For You?

Polyamory or Monogamy Which One Is For You?  Polyamory means having simultaneous close emotional and possibly sexual relationships with two or more other individuals with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned.  The growing practice of polyamory in the United States indicates a significant shift in the way marriage and intimate relationships have evolved over the past few decades. For some individuals, monogamy could be a better choice and for others, polyamory may be a better fit.

How do you know which one is best for you?  If you’re not sure what would work for you, I highly suggest you find out sooner rather than later, especially before you get involved in a committed relationship since compatibility seems to be the name of the game.  Polyamory is a new language for alternatives to monogamous relating.  Consensual non-monogamy and the New Monogamy is the preferred term in the academic world and is being talked about in Marital Counseling in my office as well as other clinicians who provide counseling to non-traditional lifestylers throughout the country.  This cultural obsession with monogamy has headed in the same direction as the gold standard, slavery, and for the younger generation, dating in general.  What I mean is, while serial monogamy is more popular than ever, lifelong monogamy is obsolete and whether we like it or not, polyamory is catching on.  Here is the latest information from author Deborah Anapol from “Love Without Limits.”

1. There is no evidence that monogamy is better in terms of relationship longevity, health, sexual satisfaction, happiness or emotional intimacy. There is also no evidence that polyamory is better.  Given that information, individuals should go on what feels right to them and their partners.

2.  Gay men are more likely than heterosexual couples, lesbians, or bisexuals to practice consensual non-monogamy and still struggle with jealousy issues.

3.  Polyamory is not necessarily easy, especially if family of origin issues and personal issues are not addressed and still present as issues.

4.  Women are not necessarily in favor of monogamy.  They don’t appreciate being lied to or having to go along with a double standard.

5.  Children raised in consensually non-monogamous families have been shown to do as well on many measures of health and achievement as children in monogamous families.

It’s extremely rare these days to find someone who has had only one sexual partner or “significant other” throughout his or her life.  There are definitely some people who are far better off taking it one person at a time, and then there are those who can have multiple partners sequentially or at the same time.  There are those who practice polyamory with ingenuity and vulnerability and those who justify what they refer to as polyamory but is really self-deception and lack of integrity by indulging in multiple affairs as a means of hedonism.

What’s important is not so much the Glamour of multi-partner relating as it is allowing Love to dictate the form rather than attempting to force Love into whatever Mold the mind has decided is right.  Polyamory is less about how many people you are having sex with or feeling love for than it is about allowing love (not lust) to lead you into whatever form is appropriate.

As a Marriage Counselor, I see a diversity of relationship forms in Marriage Counseling.  Whether working with Monogamous Couples or Polyamorists I have no position on whether people, in general, should be monogamous or not.  That fact is that it is very rare to find anyone who has had only one sexual partner for his or her entire life.  Monogamy works for some people and does not for others.  It’s a matter of what works for you and your relationship.  Having a dialogue about what you want in your relationship is a start.

In Couples Counseling I help Couples initiate a conversation that may seem difficult and make them feel vulnerable, as talking about what you want sexually is unfamiliar and awkward to some.  As a Therapist, I characterize my position on polyamory as Pro-choice rather than anti-monogamy and have no position on whether people in general “should” be monogamous or not.  It is encouraged for people to do what is right for them.  There is no judgment or criticism in however you choose to relate to your relationship.  What works for one person may not be the same for all people or even for the same person in different stages in life.

For more information on polyamory and if it is suited for you and your relationship please give me a call at (858) 735-1139 or email me at [email protected]

Are Open Marriages Happier Marriages?

Are Open Marriages Happier Marriages?  There’s an article in the New York Times that share the experiences of nonmonogamous couples and what they say about love and trust http://nyti.ms/2q5fqrA  I found the article very interesting and appreciated both the author’s perspective and the couples’ story about their marriages.  As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I utilize approaches used by author Tammy Nelson and various other Sex Therapists who work with couples who are in nontraditional relationships. The frequency in which I see more nonmonogamous couples whose ideas about fidelity are more open than when I started my practice 25 years ago have substantially increased.  Therefore, I have accommodated my work to help those who are in and want to be in consensual nonmonogamous relationships.

As a Marriage/Couples Counselor, I specialize in Infidelity and Affair Recovery.  I’m working with a particular couple where the wife is the Affair Partner, she cheated on her husband, and the Hurt Partner (the husband), is the one who got cheated on.  Both want to repair and move forward to try and make a better relationship as they have children.  For the most part, their family works nicely together in that they have similar parently styles and manage the household diplomatically.  Of course, there’s more to a relationship than being able to take care of tasks, intimacy is desired.

The wife, in this case, loves her husband but doesn’t believe she is “in love” with him anymore.  Having had the affair she has experienced a “sexual awakening” and her sexual desires have stretched to wanting more than what she was taught growing up.  Throughout the recovery process, she has stated she believes she wants to move forward in a nonmonogamous marriage.  He is still contemplating whether or not he wants this or can even do this.

They ask me if open marriages are happier marriages.  In my personal and professional opinion, I say, “not necessarily happier, as much as they are more functional and durable for the long haul.”  As people are living longer these days relationships can tend to experience ebbs and flows.  Some couples don’t want the option of divorce as their primary relationship works on a lot of levels.  Sometimes the excitement of continued heightened intimacy can wane as being together with the same partner can be familiar and familiarity sometimes brings about a lack of novelty that can diminish sexual excitement. Opening up the marriage to meeting new people, not just for sexual experiences but for emotional and intellectual stimulation can make all the difference in becoming more interested in life again and what life has to offer.  With that feeling the primary relationship can benefit and feel brand new again.  That’s what I believe makes a marriage happier with opening up the relationship.  Why give up on many years of developing a beautiful life together just because the sex component dried up.  Revive it by bringing something new into your lives.

For more information on doing just that please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

How To Have The “I’d Like To Open Up Our Marriage” Conversation?

How To Have The “I’d Like To Open Up Our Marriage” Conversation?  Have you been married for a couple of decades or been in a long-term relationship and your love life has flatlined?  You’ve heard of people “swinging” or even, worse, having affairs, to spice up their sex life.  Rather than cheat, having a conversation about possibly having an open marriage could be an alternative.  Typically one person in the relationship wants to open the door to outside connections and the other hasn’t ever even considered the possibility and is totally shocked by the idea.  A lot of people don’t even think about monogamy until they make a connection with someone and don’t necessarily want to give up their primary relationship (husband/wife) or get a divorce and split up the children and any other resources the couple has acquired.

As a Marriage Counselor who understands and works with non-traditional relationships, I help people who are experiencing a dry spell in their sexual connection who come in wanting to know how to reconnect or enhance what they once knew was an intense bond. They are conflicted as their relationship was established under conventional and need help with other ways of relating that require care, thought, practice and work.

Without threatening your primary relationship by acting out your fantasies with others through affairs with people you find interesting or sexually attractive, having the conversation with your partner is much more appropriate.  Betrayal and deceit are much more difficult to recover from than merely having a discussion about what it would look like to open up your marriage.  The mere fact that you are having a dialogue about the subject makes you both more vulnerable.  This risk-taking interaction can bring about an intimacy which creates a positive change in the way you interact emotionally and sexually. Feelings of closeness and preferring to be with your significant other can surprise you as a result of the conversation.  When you are free to “be” in a relationship rather than “obligated to,” or “have to” due to a sense of “duty,” the choice enables you to want to be with the individual who is ok with your choice.

Open Up Our Marriage

Case in point, As a Marriage Counselor, I work with non-traditional relationships that include LGBTQ and Polyamory relationships.  In my work helping this population, I have come to appreciate the many different ways in which people can develop caring and loving relationships.  In that I believe not one person can satisfy all our needs, perhaps it is necessary to open up our realm of how we get other needs met in good and thoughtful ways with other people while exercising ethical non-monogamy while in our primary relationships.  As those who believe and want to be in Monogamous relationships, I am reaching out to those who want something more than what has been handed down to us about Monogamy by its definition.

I don’t believe people are wired to be monogamous.  Monogamy is a choice that I respect. As with all choices, I respect and want to assist those who are looking for something as an alternative. If you believe in consensual nonmonogamy and a non-traditional relationship is what you are looking to develop, please contact me at (858) 735-1139.  I can help guide you to make thoughtful and informed decisions about how you want to live your life.