Assumptions get us into trouble
(approx 3 minute read)
The quickest way to get into trouble in any relationship, is to assume your partner/lover, has the same understanding as yourself, for the words and concepts used in conversations, discussions and negotiations.
Take monogamy for example. We all know what that concept means don’t we?
From relationship counselling and facilitating a large range of groups for men, women and couples, over many years. It’s become clear to me this is one of the primary concepts many of us assume, means the same for all.
Yet, I have learned the term monogamy means something slightly, or sometimes significantly different, for each of us.
What are your assumptions about monogamy?
Well, it’s pretty simple isn’t it?
Monogamy means the same for all of us – doesn’t it?
You’re mine and I’m yours – we don’t have sex with anyone else, nothing could be simpler.
But is it?
As a relationship counsellor and group facilitator, I’ve had my ideas about monogamy challenged often. As I’ve been present professionally for many people, who have disclosed a a spectrum of relational & sexual behaviour, that they have labelled ‘monogamy’.
A Spectrum of Monogamy
At one extreme end of this spectrum some couples, (or at least the dominant partner) have a definition of monogamy that is limiting.
Each can ONLY spend time with the other.
Any time spent with a member of the opposite sex is suspect. The rules/agreement dictate, that each are not allowed to appreciate another person – without causing great angst, or conflict, within the partnership.
At the other extreme end of the spectrum, there are couples who may decide to have an open relationship.
Which may mean attending swingers parties, or having lovers on the side. And still view themselves as monogamous.
A prospect that many would disagree with intensely!
In between these two arbitrary extremes, are a range of choices and options for relationship agreements that I have come across.
- There is a clear agreement it is OK to flirt and show attraction to a member of the opposite sex
- At times to enhance the sexual energy in relationship, a sexual teacher/healer, or Tantric practitioner may be invited in
- Another couple may agree to experiment with ménage a trios, or exploring pleasure with another couple
- Some couples agree that receiving a massage with a ‘happy ending’ is within the bounds of monogamy
There are many more variations to this spectrum.
Which leaves th
e question. Where are you on this spectrum of what constitutes monogamy?
And maybe more importantly, where do you want to be?
Have you communicated this to your partner/lover yet?
Take the time to create a safe non-judgemental space, where each of you can engage in a mature, ongoing, and possibly shifting conversation.
About: What defines monogamy for each of you?
And what would it look like, if you entered into a long term, committed, relationship?
Or, if already in a long term committed relationship. Are you both on the same page with your understanding of what monogamy means?