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  What I mean is, while serial monogamy is more popular than ever, lifelong monogamy is obsolete and whether we like it or not, polyamory is catching on.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]

Why Some Women Wear Makeup

Why Some Women Wear Makeup.  Like my past blogs, entitled, “Why Some Women Wear Red Lipstick” and “Why Some Women Wear High Heels”, I’m sharing my perspective on why some women wear makeup, myself included.  Depending on how little girls were raised, wearing makeup can be encouraged or discouraged.  In my case, my mother didn’t want me to wear makeup until I was older.  She said I could wear makeup when I turned twenty-one so I compromised and said sixteen.  Depending on what culture you come from makeup can be construed as a positive or negative.  I come from an Asian background so wearing makeup was not encouraged.  It was said to make our skin become older sooner rather than later.  The script I was told growing up was that women who wear makeup at a young age did so because they wanted to attract men and were promiscuous.  Also, depending on what religion you practice can influence the support or nonsupport of wearing makeup.  As a Marriage Counselor and licensed professional in private practice, I pride myself in having a presentable appearance so wearing makeup is something desirable.  I understand and respect not everyone wants to wear makeup to any degree and that is their personal choice.

      

A new study published in the journal Perception finds that men perceive women who wear makeup to be more prestigiouswhile women perceive other women who wear makeup to be more dominant and also more promiscuous.  This article pretty much confirms what a lot of other studies say about what males and females think about women and makeup.  Makeup tends to add an aesthetic appeal for both sexes, however, men tend to view women who wear makeup with prestige while some women viewed them with dominance as women’s perception can be caused by jealousy.

Whatever article on beauty you read can share different opinions and research on what makes a person attractive or not that attractive.  I believe people, women, and men who want to wear makeup, do so because they choose to.  As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I work with individuals, couples, and families.  I work with women who come in because their self-esteem and confidence aren’t where they would like it.  Although physical attractiveness is not the priority for boosting self-esteem and confidence, it sure does help.  Personally, when I choose to wear makeup it’s because it makes me feel “put together.”  Feeling put together puts me in the mind frame of “being together” therefore, being perceived as having my “sh_t together.”  I feel confident and am ready to take on the day.  During the times I choose not to wear makeup I have to admit I feel a little lethargic and apprehensive to be as industrious as I know I can be.  And I might add, I have observed people treating me a little bit differently when I’m not wearing my makeup.  Not as accommodative or friendly.  Perhaps that could be because my confidence isn’t radiating like it does when I do wear the amount of makeup that makes me feel put together.

Men and women tend to have different perspectives about makeup.  And again, depending on what study or article you’ve read they range in many conclusions from experts all over the world.  For the most part, males and females agree on the aesthetic appeal of the makeup-wearing woman.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  There’s much more to a woman’s personality and appeal than her appearance.  So I say do what makes you feel comfortable and confident.  That’s a good start in exuding what it is you know and what you want other’s to know about you.  We all are intelligent, competent beings, but as long as looks continue to impact how we come off to others, wearing makeup, not only enhances your looks but making you feel good about you, can be your advantage.

For more information about knowing when to put it on, remove it, or lay it on lighter please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

 

 

Developing A New Monogamy

Developing A New Monogamy.  So 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 the actual problem could be monogamy is not possible or even desired for some couples.couples in love

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 cheating 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.  Couples have to learn relationship skills which include reflective listening, empathy, validation, conflict resolution, and how to be kind and considerate. People are also living longer these days and staying monogamous is becoming more difficult with the internet, online dating apps, and access to infinite amounts of people being able to communicate with throughout the world.

New Monogamy Agreements are Contracts that are Explicit Relationship Agreements created by each partner to openly, honestly, and safely share desires, expectations, and limitations for moving forward in a new way of behaving within their Relationship.  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 or more specifically, a Polyamory Kink counselor, whose goal is to guide the couple to develop and negotiate an agreement that works for both of them.

Working as a Marriage Counselor for over 25 years, there is never be any judgment or criticism in Couples Counseling in developing these agreements.  We do not have the marriages/relationships that our parents or grandparents had.  There are hundreds of “How To” lists for relationships and 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 Monogamy Agreement it can be like renewing your Vows.  It’s important not to just make promises like you did when you got married and pledged your fidelity.  This agreement will have the fluidity and variety to be renewed at will to prevent unnecessary discord.

Some of the questions to ask in your New Monogamy Agreement will be based on your cultural and religious beliefs, as well as your upbringing and traditional sex roles, family history, and personal moral values.

Utilizing Tammy Nelson’s Book “The New Monogamy” I help Couples in the Moving Forward process answer questions that include:

  1. Thoughts
  2. Fantasies
  3. Desires
  4. Arousal
  5. Flirtation
  6. Emotion
  7. Action (Behavior)
  8. Connection
  9. Sex
  10. Love
  11. Detachment
  12.  And anything else you want to add that is important to you

You and your partner can now move forward as you have created a way of life that works for you.  As your Marriage Counselor, I help you acquire important tools for effective communication so you both continue to talk openly and honestly to further implement the new lifestyle of your relationship.

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

 

Is Non-Monogamy Infidelity?

Is Non-Monogamy Infidelity? Infidelity is the action of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner. When spouses find out about their partner’s infidelity they say it’s the worst feeling they’ve had to endure. When the infidelity is disclosed; meaning the person confesses, the feeling is devastating and surreal.  When the infidelity is discovered the feeling is much more intense as anger and rage are coupled with all the other range of emotions that you can imagine come with that discovery. The aftermath of an affair is said by some to be the emotional equivalent of being hit by a truck.

To understand the intense reactions to people’s feelings it’s helpful to understand the true nature of infidelity.  The actual pain caused by infidelity is not the actual sexual act, instead, it’s the pain caused by the lying, manipulation, and secretive behavior that stems from the psychological distancing and loss of trust from the relationship.

So then what is Non-Monogamy?  Simply put, non-monogamy is anything other than monogamy which is the exclusive sexual and usually marital relationship between two people at a single point of time.  There are a variety of types of non-monogamy but are usually divided into Polygamy (multiple married partners), Polyamory (multiple romantic and/or sexual partners not married), Open Marriage/Relationship (agree on extramarital sexual relationships), Threesome (three people, combination varies), Swinging (partner swapping),  and Hook Ups (a fling, one night stand, casual relationship).

So, is non-monogamy infidelity?  As a Marriage Counselor, working with couples in the above-mentioned relationship-styles, I say, it is not accurate to say that non-monogamy is infidelity as long as there is an agreement between both partners within the primary relationship specifying the way in which they want their relationship to work.  Answer being “no.”  As a Couples Counselor, specializing in Affair Recovery, I work with couples who want to start a dialogue about what it would be like to open up their marriage.  In affair recovery and relationships where the sex has “flatlined” it could be possible for the couple to remain together where both can find fulfillment by way of some agreement that works for both husband and wife.  It is important not to suffer from a failure to meet the external and societal expectations for what our relationships should look like.  Many people face feelings of jealousy or insecurity regardless of what relationship style they choose.  I favor a more hopeful outlook with open, honest communication, and mindfulness, to develop a relationship of one’s own design—monogamous or not—can provide more satisfaction than a prescriptive one.

For more information on possibly opening up your marriage and how to develop polyamorous relationships please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steps To Opening Up Your Marriage

Steps To Opening Up Your Marriage.  I came across this great article about what to know before asking your spouse for an open marriage (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-to-know-before-asking-your-spouse-for-an-open-marriage_us_56f17f5de4b084c67221a77b) I want to share the possibilities that tend to limit Couples’ fantasies about what could be a very satisfying outcome.  As a Marriage Counselor in private practice for the past 21 years I have had the opportunity to work with my Couples utilizing nonconventional psychotherapeutic techniques developed by innovative relationship and sex experts of the 21st Century to bring back the intimacy they desire and enhance the relationship that was once great to becoming good again.  Open marriages or just having the discussion about them can create this objective.

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Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net and dan

If you’re ready to explore an open marriage, here are 3 steps author Tammy Nelson suggests be taken before actually following through with the process:

Step one

Talk about what your definition is of open. Is an open marriage just an excuse to have an affair? Do you already have someone that you are interested in and you want to pursue the relationship, but you want permission from your partner?

If that’s the case, then you need to slow down the open relationship conversation and start talking about the affair that is either about to happen or is already going on. An open relationship isn’t about integrating a third party who is going to interfere with your marriage or your monogamy. An open marriage is something that you both agree will enhance your relationship, not hurt your intimate connection.

Step Two

What is your vision of what your open marriage will look like in a year? This is an important conversation for several reasons, it will help you get clear about where this open relationship idea might be going.

You might think, “Oh, we will be done with this little experiment in a year. I just want to try it, I think I can get it out of my system after a month or two, or after we have sex once or twice with other people.” But your partner may think, “I am hoping we will have outside partners that may be living with us and sharing our lives within a year.” When you share these two very different visions, you will soon realize that you have a problem. You will need to look more carefully at your ideas of an open relationship.

Is having an open relationship about finding casual sex and a little swinging on the weekends, or is it more about finding love and a polyamorous relationship where you can expand your emotional connection and integrate other partners as long term relationships into your lives?

Step Three

Go over the rules. Be clear about what your boundaries are regarding sex, including what you define as safe touch, kissing, whether you agree to intercourse, if it is ok to be in the same room, or if you want to watch your partner be sexual or not, if you need to approve of each other’s outside partners, if there will be contact outside of the date nights, etc.

In Couples Counseling I incorporate Tammy’s book, The New Monogamy, when helping my Couples explore questions in which to ask to negotiate agreements that work for them.

For more information on initiating a conversation about Open Marriages please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

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