Added: Lissett Child - Date: 26.01.2022 08:58 - Views: 36710 - Clicks: 7033
Lucia O'Sullivan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Monogamy is difficult to maintain.
I adore my partner. Things are still so fresh.
And I have so much to lose if I were to stray. Yes, of course. But research makes it clear that our best intentions are often worthless in the face of a compelling, and possibly unexpected, attraction to another person — someone intent on connecting with us. Those who report having had an extramarital relationship say it was with a close friend, co-worker or long-term acquaintance ; these tend not to be random strangers.
Research shows that most people both expect romantic and sexual exclusivity to be in place very early in their relationships and that they denounce infidelity. Interviews with newlyweds in the United States indicate that many people expect they and their partner will remain monogamous, despite admitting to having experienced a range of extramarital thoughts and behaviours alreadysuch as flirting with another or feeling aroused in the presence of another.
All industrialized countries, even those purporting to have more tolerant beliefs around the importance of exclusivity, report that monogamy is the dominant pattern in their societies. Despite strong universal disapproval of infidelity, and despite optimistic expectationsstudies show that infidelity remains, year after year, the primary cause of relationship break-ups and divorce. Now, if you factor in the distress, distrust and discord that infidelity causes to those relationships it does not destroy, you begin to understand the weight of its consequences.
Is monogamy reasonable? Can we ever reconcile the improbability of spending a lifetime also known as many years with a partner without ever being drawn to another?
Can we admit that our partners might not meet all of our needs at all times? That we could experience attraction to another without a complete surrender of our rights to a loving and respectful relationship or a wish to abandon our lives to race off with the other person? These questions are more poignant in light of research indicating that intimate relationships are becoming less rewarding over time even as our expectations of what they should deliver steadily increase.
In most Western countries, belief in the importance of monogamy is strong, yet relatively few individuals actually discuss with their partner what monogamy must entail. A series of studies by psychologist Ashley Thompson makes clear that we are notably inconsistent in the monogamy standards that we hold for ourselves versus those we hold for our partners.
If a couple can plan ahead of time for the possibility than one or both partners might have an intimate moment with another person at some point, this can reinforce the flexibility, tolerance and forgiveness required to adjust if that happens.
It all depends on the circumstances, of course, but accepting that another person might offer something that we or our partners need can leave couples better-positioned to move forward and adjust or negotiate if necessary, without an entire and irreversible relationship disintegration. This is key: If we can admit to ourselves that a fleeting attraction, or more meaningful connection, with another partner might not irreparably harm our primary relationship — and indeed might supplement it — then our relationships might survive longer and better.
A new viewpoint requires a willingness to supplant the fairytale — a belief often cherished that one person can forever meet all your emotional, romantic and sexual needs. This is unlikely to be easy for most of us. The idea of a partner being distracted by another can induce panic in the most stalwart and confident. But insisting upon a fairly unreasonable standard lifelong exclusivity or else! This is not to say that you or your partner will ultimately connect intimately with another person in any way despite adopting a new viewpoint about exclusivity.
It is wise to negotiate some guidelines with your partner — about who or what type of person might be invited to look in on that sphere, for a moment or longer, and what might be acceptable ways to connect with another person e. If you also discuss how best to talk about it, this approach can go far in keeping your relationship truthful, transparent and trusting — making the need for a dealbreaker that much less relevant altogether.
Be Curious — Leeds, Leeds. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom.
Is a too-strict definition of monogamy undermining your relationship? Research shows that while most people expect exclusivity in a relationship, infidelity is still the leading cause of divorce.Long term friend and monogomous lover
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