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.

Do I Go To Cabo With My Husband Or My Boyfriend?

Do I Go To Cabo With My Husband Or My Boyfriend?  Choosing who to go on vacation with can be a difficult decision.  I am a married woman and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  I have been working with couples for over 25 years.  I specialize in Affair Recovery and developing New Monogamy agreements.  As a Marriage Counselor,  I understand and appreciate some people have difficulty being monogamous in a world that has so much to offer.

As we entered into the 21st Century we have anything and everything at our fingertips with the use of the internet.  Buying items on Amazon and receiving them in less than two days is something I love!  Experimenting with dating “apps” and utilizing online dating sites makes meeting new people relatively easy as anonymity is better than “liquid courage.”  I have to admit I’ve tried these vehicles to meet men as my relationship is not immune from “flatlining” and becoming mundane after 19 years of marriage.

Counseling men and women who have either already cheated on their spouse or want to talk about opening up their marriage so they don’t have to be categorized as “cheating” is something I have first-hand experience about.  My husband is a very nice man.  He is a good father and great provider.  As I have my own business as a private practitioner, I provide just as well and have developed a “greater sense of self” that has brought me to seeing myself in a new realm (independent, confident and raised self-esteem).  Being more “free to be me” in my “present state of being” has enabled me to be more open and expressive.  I don’t always want the obligation, responsibility, and duty to “have to do” for others.  Being in the caretaker role for most of my life has not only become burdensome but has made me an angry and resentful person for way too long.

My husband happens to fall under some of the traits of Asperger’s Syndrome which is a form of being somewhere on the Autism Spectrum.  We unofficially received a diagnosis about 2 years ago even though I had my professional observations about something different about his behavior and mannerisms throughout our relationship.  Without going into detail about the symptoms, living with someone with Asperger’s makes one feel lonely and frustrated.  The normal relational going back and forth conversations are challenging making it difficult in receiving empathy and validation.  He doesn’t do it on purpose, nevertheless, I am on the receiving end of something that is not of a natural flow.  And as I am not immune to the temptations of wanting and needing an emotional connection those initial two years were very challenging.  So I engaged in socializing with men who I knew and trusted but kept limits and boundaries.  After awhile I developed a friendship with someone who could possibly turn into a possible affair partner.  Fortunately, that relationship did not go the distance for pretty obvious reasons.

After which, I decided to have a conversation with my husband about possibly opening up our marriage as I was bordering on what may be judged as exercising inappropriate behavior.  The conversation included disclosing information about this person with whom I had been socializing and spending time with.  He had prior knowledge of this individual as I did not keep this a secret from my husband.  I had also been communicating with various other gentlemen who were interested in my company.  I knew exactly where this behavior would lead if we didn’t have a conversation about how I’d been feeling.

As with many of the couples I counsel, the conversation was awkward and scary as I didn’t want to hurt or anger my husband nor did I want to jeopardize our marriage.  The ironic thing is individuals say they don’t want to hurt their partner but when an affair is discovered, their partner is devastated.  So, it’s better to talk about it sooner rather than later as a “heads up” is always better than a “blind side.” What I experienced is what can happen as one of the outcomes to the conversation.  As my husband believed my reasons for possibly seeking other partners were valid we both then read more material about the subject of Polyamory and Open Marriages and decided that our Primary Relationship would be kept intact as long as we moved forward with respect, thoughtfulness, and consideration of one another.

With the green light to proceed, I felt a sense of freedom.  I experimented using dating apps and received a lot of attention.  Communication felt awkward and despite the initial excitement, I didn’t find it satisfying.  What I really wanted was that same energy between me and my husband.  I told my husband what I wanted and needed from him.  The vulnerability in taking a risk with that conversation was transformational.  As difficult as it is to think he could share his wife with someone else indicated maturity and great love and care for my happiness.  This process developed a greater level of intimacy between us and we experienced an emotional connection we hadn’t felt in years.  The emotional connection led to more honest talk about what we like and don’t care for in bed and what we want to adjust in our interaction to make for a better relational connection.  We are now more affectionate and devoted to one another and it has made us both really happy.

It’s nice to be able to socialize with the opposite sex without feeling guilty I’m doing something wrong.  With ongoing honest and explicit communication about what is happening in our relationship, it gives our marriage a newfound freedom that includes choice, not obligation, responsibility, or “have to’s” for sharing time together.

So when making my plans for a getaway to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I had initially thought I’d bring along a boyfriend who would make me feel like a girlfriend.  Not the “mother,” “wife,” “professional,” etc.  So who do you think joined me on this wonderful vacation filled with passion and excitement?  That’s right, my husband.

If you’d like help initiating a similar conversation with your spouse and want a deeper emotional connection give me a call at (858) 735-1139.  Just having an honest conversation about what you want to feel more loved and cared about makes a huge difference.