Infidelity and Monogamy

Infidelity. Powerful word. It brings up all sorts of feelings: disapproval, distain, anger, upset, insecurity, threat, jealousy, understanding, sympathy, temptation, titillation, avoidance, and acceptance. There are varied beliefs about infidelity held both by professionals and by the average individual. And if you’ve gone through it, you have your own personal point of view. Somewhere in your heart you will find your own view of monogamy.

Some propose monogamy is an unnatural state. Therefore, infidelity is an expected reaction to a certain kind of confinement. Sexual faithfulness to a single partner is inherently restricting and ultimately unfulfilling. Therefore, arrangements around including other partners need to be honestly and openly negotiated and integrated into most happy, successful romantic relationships.

Others feel infidelity is a signal of and reaction to various kinds of unrest and conflict within an individual and/or between romantic partners. This perspective feels that true romantic intimacy can only occur between two people. Love is exclusive. Giving oneself to another, or others, automatically betrays that special union reserved only for the two partners. Infidelity is seen as a triangulation which serves to distance and destroy closeness and/or a way to manage feelings that seem overwhelming to face.

An infidelity is viewed as a symptom of a problem, rather than its cause. It’s discovery brings to light personal and relationship problems that may have long existed. In order for the couple to recover, things need to be illuminated, explored, corrected, and reconstructed. Returning to the status quo is not only impossible, but ill advised. Something new needs to be built between the couple in order to establish a truly trusting and meaningful relationship.

Yes, somewhere in your heart you will find your own view of monogamy and infidelity. Your perspective matters, because you are you and only you can determine your own peace of mind. It is often helpful, however, to try to keep yourself open to the wants and needs of others, as well. If the person you love feels differently from you on this, or any other matter, it is worth hearing that out, because that matters, too. We are all just trying to live with as much meaning and satisfaction as possible, hopefully not injuring others along the way.

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