Reconsidering monogamy

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 05, 2010 1:45 AM GMT
    A good friend of mine is having some relationship trouble and came to me for advice. We had a very thought-provoking discussion about monogamy that I wanted to share with you to get your take on it.

    He has always believed that when he meets the “right” guy everything will fall into place and monogamy will be the natural outcome, but he has not had much luck in that area. He has been in three long-term relationships in his adult life and in each it was discussed at some point and both partners agreed that monogamy was the way to go. In all three cases within a few years he found that his partners were not being monogamous. Each situation was different, but each time his partner had made some rationalization about what constituted monogamy and/or what exceptions were allowed (at least for them). Unfortunately, they had not discussed it with him until well after their indiscretions were revealed… leaving him feeling hurt, confused and ultimately disheartened.

    Recently he has begun to question the concept of monogamy in the context of a gay relationship. He also came to the conclusion that one or more of the following factors must be present in his past/present relationships:

    1. Despite an active, creative and seemingly mutually satisfying sex life he has begun to wonder if there is something about him that is “not enough” to keep his partners satisfied. If this is the case, will he never find monogamy?

    2. Maybe he picks the wrong guys. Maybe it isn’t him, rather he is just a bad judge of character and/or he has bad taste in men. If this is the case, is he doomed to repeat this pattern over and over?

    3. Maybe monogamy is an unrealistic expectation in the context of a gay relationship. If this is the case, should he adjust his thinking and work to find something “realistic”?

    I tend to be a romantic at heart who thinks monogamy is possible (and for me preferable), but I am eager to hear what the rest of you think. It is a topic on which there are vastly differing opinions, but I want to hear about your experiences and expectations. Is he doomed to never have the monogamous relationship that he grew up idolizing? What is he missing, doing wrong or not doing that might help him find what he is looking for? Thoughts?

    Peter

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    Oct 05, 2010 2:16 AM GMT
    Monogamy like an open relationship or promiscuity are all personal choices! what your friend needs to do is to find comfort in whatever he feels "at home" within himself.

    But seriously do you honestly think that if he already enjoys a seemingly satisfying sex life, that he needs to fulfilled that other bit of unsatisfying sex life with someone else? this sounds more like an excuse to avoid facing his own inabilities and laziness in filling in that void for his lack of interest of sex but not necessarily that of his partner.

    Lets be honest here! if you buy a pair of shoes and one of the pairs wear out sooner then the other, would you go through the trouble to buy another pair so that you can wear it with the other one who didn't wear out?


    Leandro ♥
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    Oct 05, 2010 3:41 PM GMT
    I think it's so important to set expectations and boundaries at the beginning of the relationship and to be crystal clear, so there can be no rationalizations or justifications for inappropriate behavior. Partners shouldn't tie a rope around their partners neck, but these boundaries should be mutually agreed upon. It sounds like your friend was dating guys who at one point wanted monogamy but changed their mind and re-wrote the rules of the relationship without even consulting him, which is complete trash!

    I've noticed a lot of guys can commit easily to a monogamous relationship but wont stay true to their word. I think mentally, a lot of guys have a hard time coping with the fact that they will only be able to have sex with one partner as long as they are with you.

    Many gay guys go through a phase where they want fuck for world peace so I always tried to avoid these types, especially if I was looking for a relationship.

    Its not your friends fault that he was cheated on and while its probably hard not to take personally he shouldn't be looking within himself to find the reason THEY cheated.


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    Oct 05, 2010 4:44 PM GMT
    yz250mxrida said

    "Its not your friends fault that he was cheated on and while its probably hard not to take personally he shouldn't be looking within himself to find the reason THEY cheated."




    Thanks for your response! I think the most important thing that I am trying to convey to my friend is that he should not look within himself to find the reason his partner cheated. It was his partner who should have readdressed the topic if things had changed. I know monogamy is not for everyone (gay or straight), but knowing the boundaries of one's own relationship is very important to the sense of security of both partners.

    Thanks again!
  • Sk8Tex

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    Oct 05, 2010 4:47 PM GMT
    I think alot of guys may agree to monogamy out of fear or rejection from their new partner they may already be attached to. With the mindset of "If I say no, will this end what we have?" which of course later down the road just causes the other person to have mistrust and pain. Perhaps the friend in your story is seeking the wrong types of men?

    From what I have experienced the only times I have had trust issues with a boyfriend, it was always from the guys I had sought out that were more beautiful or popular as opposed to you know...the important things like common interests, goals, trust. To me an open relationship is a deal breaker...no ifs ands or buts about it.

    Perhaps it was the way I was brought up, with the ideal that you share that side of yourself with one person, so that it remains special or sacred. I mean if you share it with multiple people, it doesn't really mean anything when you share it with the person you love...and no blanket statements about "This is just what gay men do" can justify it.

    I mean no offense to those that may be currently enjoying a successful open relationship, but to me it seems like a very selfish arrangement with less emotional ties. From childhood we are taught that women who sleep with multiple people at the same time are (insert derogatory name here) but when a man does it, he gets appraised by envious male peers, anyway thats my two cents.

    P.S. - I 'niced' that up as much as possible. icon_razz.gif
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    Oct 06, 2010 11:25 AM GMT
    peterwashdc said
    yz250mxrida said

    "Its not your friends fault that he was cheated on and while its probably hard not to take personally he shouldn't be looking within himself to find the reason THEY cheated."




    Thanks for your response! I think the most important thing that I am trying to convey to my friend is that he should not look within himself to find the reason his partner cheated. It was his partner who should have readdressed the topic if things had changed. I know monogamy is not for everyone (gay or straight), but knowing the boundaries of one's own relationship is very important to the sense of security of both partners.

    Thanks again!


    Honesty sustains a relationship
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    Oct 06, 2010 11:36 AM GMT
    I was in a similar position with boyfriend of 5 years who constantly cheated on me.

    When it happened for the 4th or 5th time I too questioned whether or not my expectations were too high, or unrealistic. That as a gay man I had to accept different or inferior things in terms of relationships. I know from experience, yes MEN will cheat when given the chance, and many will compensate for this by disguising the fact in the form of an open relationship (what's safer than that?)

    The truth is you don't have to 'settle', I am now happy in a very stable loving relationship, and it's not a constant struggle to stay on the path of monogamy, it's a given for us.

    Don't let the loud minority tell you that this is not possible, many people want others to fail just because they have, yes it's a risk that you will have to end seemingly good relationships for "one little mistake" but when you meet the right guy, nothing can come close to that feeling.
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Oct 06, 2010 12:08 PM GMT
    Successful relationships are about open communication. Those that falter usually do so because one or both partners aren't being honest about how they really feel.

    Whether to pursue monogamy or an open relationship is not always an easy discussion because one wonders if his stance might present a deal breaker for the other.

    In my personal opinion and experience, relationships should be periodically renegotiated. Some relationships start on an open basis, but who's to say at what point that one or both partners decide that monogamy is ultimately better for them? Likewise, those that start off as monogamous may well allow for some degree of flexibility as time goes on.

    Relationships aren't made of concrete. Their solidity (or not) depends on the strength of honest communication. Going into one with a fixed and non-negotiable notion of how it's going to be is not a very effective approach.
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    Oct 06, 2010 1:12 PM GMT
    I believe that polygamy is just as common, if not more so, than monogamy (regardless of gender or orientation), but society's view on polygamy prevents those people from being honest with the ones they love. This type of relationship often ends in a web of cheating, distrust, and broken hearts (and sometimes broken objects)...nothing new or surprising there.

    I feel that if society were to become more accepting of polygamy, it would open the door for those people to "come out of the closet" with their intentions. This in turn would make the truly monogamous people more obvious because there would be no social pressure to lie about their intentions.
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    Oct 06, 2010 1:33 PM GMT
    I totally agree that monogamy is a choice and it requires effort. If you are the type of person who expects absolute monogamy then communication needs to be started surrounding that topic. If two people in a relationship think it's okay to fool around on the side then good for them. I think people who question or criticize monogamy have the wrong view on the situation. I'm 27 and have been in a completely monogamous relationship for years. We are supper happy, talk about puppies, kids, and real estate! We communicated very early on what we expected from each other when it comes to our relationship dynamic.

    Do I think monogamy is right for everyone or even possible for everyone? Nope! I think their are a lot of immature, no self control, idiots out there who can't keep their shit in their pants. Then when people like this get caught fucking around they choose to blame monogamy for their indiscretions.

    Monogamy is very possible and can't be very wonderful!
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    Oct 06, 2010 1:38 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidI believe that polygamy is just as common, if not more so, than monogamy (regardless of gender or orientation), but society's view on polygamy prevents those people from being honest with the ones they love. This type of relationship often ends in a web of cheating, distrust, and broken hearts (and sometimes broken objects)...nothing new or surprising there.

    I feel that if society were to become more accepting of polygamy, it would open the door for those people to "come out of the closet" with their intentions. This in turn would make the truly monogamous people more obvious because there would be no social pressure to lie about their intentions.



    I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: Polygamy and open relationships are not the same thing.

    Not directed at you, Paul, but over and over on these threads I read too many uninformed presumptions about couples in open relationships, and it's as if some people think it's a black-and-white situation. In fact, there are many types of open relationships, and many degrees of "openness."

    Finally, cheating is cheating... whether the relationship is monogamous or open, breaking the boundaries or rules that were mutually agreed upon is cheating. Cheating = bad, no matter what.


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    Oct 06, 2010 2:06 PM GMT
    peterwashdc said

    1. Despite an active, creative and seemingly mutually satisfying sex life he has begun to wonder if there is something about him that is “not enough” to keep his partners satisfied. If this is the case, will he never find monogamy?

    2. Maybe he picks the wrong guys. Maybe it isn’t him, rather he is just a bad judge of character and/or he has bad taste in men. If this is the case, is he doomed to repeat this pattern over and over?

    3. Maybe monogamy is an unrealistic expectation in the context of a gay relationship. If this is the case, should he adjust his thinking and work to find something “realistic”?




    Some really sensible and well put responses here.
    unlike over on that other thread

    But to answer the questions you've posted, in my case from the perspective of a person who has experienced periods of monogamy within relationships but primarily has open relationships (or in my current circumstances, a poly relationship)..

    In response to qn1, no I do not think that is the case.
    And I've gotta say that as a person who takes a pretty deliberate and ethical approach to his extracurricular activities, I strongly believe that going out and sleeping with other people should *never* be to make up for some deficit (real or perceived) in your primary relationship. I could write a whole essay on why, but I won't!

    qn2 - I don't think he has bad taste, I think the reality is that a lot of people profess monogamy and then don't behave that way. Studies repeatedly show this to be the case. I tend to think that that probably shows that a lot of us aren't built for monogamy, but have been a) too influenced by 'societal norms' and b) have neither the balls nor the integrity to be honest about who we are. That said, in answer to

    qn3 - no, I don't think monogamy is an unrealistic expectation. there are many people for whom monogamy is exactly what they want and need, and there are other who, in particular circumstances/relationships are really happy to be monogamous. It would be terrible for your friend to think he has to have some kind of non-monogamous relationship if that's not what makes him happy, and it really won't be a recipe for a successful relationship (any more than a non-monogamous person pretending to be monogamous is!)



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    Oct 06, 2010 2:10 PM GMT
    when some are in a relationship, the others break up. that's life, ain't it?

    couldn't agree more with yz250mxrida. icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 06, 2010 2:14 PM GMT
    lol, and here we go.

    Wan, your post is specious and condescending.

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    Oct 06, 2010 2:17 PM GMT
    meninlove said lol, and here we go.

    Wan, your post is specious and condescending.




    Aww crap. I spoke to soon. And it was all going so well..

    *headdesk
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    Oct 06, 2010 2:21 PM GMT
    Some people don't get it, r_evolutionary, and possibly never will.

    -Doug
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    Oct 06, 2010 2:23 PM GMT


    The dishonest come in both monogamous and open-relationship flavours. Neither taste very good, lol!

    -Doug
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    Oct 06, 2010 2:24 PM GMT
    Wan, if no one bothers to dispute those reasons, it may mean they see no point in arguing with a closed mind. Something to remember. We know guys personally that are in loving open relationships going on 20 years or more.

    They conduct themselves with integrity, honesty, kindness and care. They are completely upfront with their trysts and have happy lives.

    As for us, monogamy is our thing. Both of us crashed our little ships quite gruesomely on the rocks of dishonesty before we met each other.

    -Doug
  • Celticmusl

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    Oct 06, 2010 2:28 PM GMT
    Obviously monogamy is achievable and your friend should look towards himself as the example. Has he ever cheated on these three past exes? It sounds like he hasn't. Unfortunately his situation sounds all too familiar. The guy that is capable of being monogamous is always going to be the guy that is going to get his heart broke. Most, if not all, of my long term or lengthy relationships end when the other guy starts lying and cheating. I include the "lying" part because that is a big part of why the relationship cannot go on for me. At that point there is that big issue of trust that you can never really reclaim it seems.

    In my last ltr, we were having sex at least 3 times a week all throughout the 7 yrs we were together, and the sex seemed to even be getting better by the time the guy started cheating on me. I don't think it's about sex.

    I would not suggest that he "picks" the wrong guy, but perhaps he "attracts" the wrong type of guy. I believe, as others do, based upon your past relationships, you tend to get into a pattern where you seem to attract the same sort of people over and over again. It's hard to break this pattern but you have to distance yourself from "toxic" people in your life that somehow has helped you established that pattern. It could be an over-domineering mother or a best friend that treats you like crap and never has anything good to say about you.

    I know that monogamy is possible, and it should be quite easy to maintain. I have never cheated on anyone in a relationship and it's usually the furthest thing on my mind. I guess I consider myself half of a good relationship. Until I find a guy that I consider can keep faithful to our commitment to each other, I am going to remain single.

    Victims tend to blame themselves. He should really be blaming the A-holes that he has had the misfortune of having a relationship with.
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    Oct 06, 2010 2:31 PM GMT
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    I think this sums it up for me,

    Tear
  • Timbales

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    Oct 06, 2010 2:39 PM GMT
    To me, I think it's an issue of self-honesty and the pressure of society to live up the cultural ideal. Monogamy is our ideal and we all react to that in our own way. We either conform to the ideal, try to conform and fail, or refute it and don't even try.

    I think it's difficult to really look within and be honest with yourself about what you want, something you need to do before you can talk to your partner about it, remembering that we don't always feel the same way all the time.

    I think communication and honesty is the key, though.
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    Oct 06, 2010 2:48 PM GMT
    Wan said, "And "integrity, honesty, kindness and care" are not words I'd ever use to describe open relationships. "

    ...that's called a closed mind. Come back here in 20 or so years and read your posts, once you've met and gotten to know men and women in successful and happy open relationships. You clearly have never met any.

    As for your 4 reasons, you've only described a sex addict and it's a bad idea to assume all in open relationships are sex addicts. Good grief, one couple we know hasn't stepped out with another in over 2 years. Another couple has trysts averaging about once every 4 - 6 months.

    Addicts, eh? Nope.

    -Doug
  • Celticmusl

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    Oct 06, 2010 2:51 PM GMT
    As an outside observer of open relationships that I have been around, the relationship doesn't really seem to be about two guys cherishing each other. It almost seems like they stay together because it's beneficial either socially or economically. Maybe they don't want to be single again. There might be love there, and it usually seems to be the case, but sometimes it just seems like they are both stifled by the relationship.....like they know it's time to move on but they can't face the life of being single or something.

    Just my opinion as an outside observer.
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    Oct 06, 2010 2:54 PM GMT
    Hey peterwashdc, just tell your friend to stay the course. Both of us did. We learned to be very up front with others about being monogamous right from the get-go. Did it cost us dates with hunks and land us each in the lonely end of the pool?

    You bet it did!
    Was it worth it?
    Yep. I look at my Bill in this our 21st year monogamously together and feel a surge of happiness. Oddly, I'm happy with the dishonest that played me in the past, because the road led to Bill! OK, I guess I'm happy with me as well for walking when they cheated, lol, as if I had stayed the timing might have been off and Bill and I might have been a missed connection. icon_eek.gif


    -Doug

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    Oct 06, 2010 2:57 PM GMT
    DJdorchester saidNot directed at you, Paul, but over and over on these threads I read too many uninformed presumptions about couples in open relationships, and it's as if some people think it's a black-and-white situation. In fact, there are many types of open relationships, and many degrees of "openness."

    Finally, cheating is cheating... whether the relationship is monogamous or open, breaking the boundaries or rules that were mutually agreed upon is cheating. Cheating = bad, no matter what.

    Paul has met me and my partner. It was merely over dinner, so not enough info about monogamy, except perhaps for him to assume that 2 old guys like us are the least likely candidates for having to fend off other guys who would destroy our partnership.

    But as I've said here before, I have to believe that we're not the only gay guys who simply lose interest in cheating, or in any kind of extra-marital relationships, once we're with a partner. We've got the guy we want, and so our lust for others simply shuts down.

    Yet we do have gay friends, some partnered well over 20 years, and a few even legally married in other states, who nevertheless fool around. They get into 3-somes, and they look the other way when their partners bring home sweet young things from the clubs for their 1/1 enjoyment. It works for them, it wouldn't work for us.

    I don't judge, I merely observe. I see couples who split over outside relationships, and I see long-term couples who thrive on them. I see couples like us, who have no interest outside of each other, and who wouldn't be interested if a hunk was presented naked on a silver platter (I like that image, though).

    Some men are built for monogamy, others are not. Just like some men are built to live with another guy in harmony, and others live best in solitude. The art is in knowing which you are, what you want, and finding the guy who best matches you. Because ultimately it's the matching that keeps you together, not so much the manner of it.