If Three Wasn’t A Crowd: Open Relationships and the Death of Monogamy

From the times we’re young, we envision our older selves happily committed with another person and living happily ever after. In today’s age however, that cliché, monogamous happily ever after seems far-fetched when most of us will cheat or have been cheated on by a significant other. Could open relationships with our partners transform the way love and think as individuals?


My junior year of high school I watched my parents marriage blow up and crumble into a big pile of chaos. Soon enough, the family’s skeleton’s in the closet all began to storm out and knock us upside the heads. They both had cheated in different times in their marriage and for different reasons. No matter the duration, reasoning, or “severity” of the affair(s) it all yielded the same result: things would never be the same. Why is that though? Why do we let actions that happened once, or even multiple times, conjure up such intense feelings of resentment, anger, sadness, worthlessness, etc. towards a person we claim to love and have spent time with?

You may answer with “it’s betrayal, “I trusted them,”I would never do it to them,” he/she was mine!” Reasonings that are seemingly valid in a relationship that is supposed to be monogamous. Monogamy is the way we’re taught from the beginning of how we’re supposed to love another person in a romantic relationship. Two people. One lifetime. Spent together. Despite this normal expectation, why do we continue to cheat and pursue others outside of our monogamous relationship? Perhaps, one person isn’t all we need.


Seven billion people in the world, and we’re only meant for one? Say what?

Now, I’m not saying we all need to have four wives or three husbands and we all live under the same roof. What I am saying is what if instead of proclaiming one person as ours and placing all of our hopes, dreams, and absurd expectations on them, we take a different approach? Open relationships/polyamory isn’t about going out and having sex with whoever and whenever you please. It’s about being open and honest with your partner with certain thoughts, feelings, and desires that the majority of people in relationships wouldn’t dare to speak of or allow to happen. This is why I believe most relationships and marriages fail. Communication and the taking action about sexual desires or emotional connections with a person who isn’t your companion is practically non-existent, which inevitably results in cheating. Who is to say though that it’s wrong to have feelings for more than one person, or lust after another?


“Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. You get it? We both have layers”

Believe it or not, we all happen to be ogres. We all have layers, and it seems a bit naive to believe one person can appease every layer of yourself for your entire life. Do I think you could still spend a lifetime with someone while in an open relationship? Definitely, and I think you have a better chance at sustaining a healthy relationship if certain doors were left unhinged. On life’s journey, we’re all constantly changing and growing, and through our lifetime we’re going to meet so many people. People who will change the way you think, act, touch, and love. You love one person from growing up together, but you love another for the way they challenge and inspire you. You have a great sex life with your partner, but you can’t stop thinking about your next door neighbor. Love or lust, these encounters are bound to happen. When we begin to recognize and fulfill these longings, I feel we are truly honoring ourselves and what we want as our own person. If we are completely honest with ourselves and partner, then there is no way to lie or hurt them.


Are we able to open our minds to accepting the fact its human nature to want more?

Open relationships and polyamory are still very taboo topics to think about and consider. Our minds immediately race to the thought of our partner in bed with another. Many would feel inadequate and angry at the thought of someone else encroaching on our “turf.” Emotions that are supported by a type of relationship that is simply failing in today’s society. If people began to actually communicate in their relationships and open it up to the possibilities that are bound to happen, could we destroy the cheating mentality as a whole and create healthier relationships? Could we learn to be in control of our own thoughts and desires? Would we be able to love ourselves more if we stopped placing expectations and restraints on our companions, and allowing ourselves the emotional freedom of not being bound to just one person?

Let me know your thoughts! Have you ever cheated or been cheated on? What was the effect on your relationship? Would you ever consider an open relationship/marriage? If you’ve had one, do you agree or disagree with anything I said?

Done rambling on,

Taleah

8 Comments

  1. From an outsider perspective, I’d say most people simply don’t have the ability to reconcile their conscious mind with their insticts. One’s feelings of love and emotion takes a strong hold over their instincts, causing their conscious mind to take a back seat. Even though they know in the back of their head that a relationship will never work, or that they may not be happy forever, that very temporary feeling of love takes precedent. We must fight through those emotions and genuinely consider whether or not we would be happy living with a certain person for the rest of our lives.

    The bottom line is that people settle. Sometimes this is a conscious choice; the person is willing to ignore certain aspects of their spouse because that thing doesn’t matter or other parts make up for it. Other times the choice to settle is unconscious; a person’s brain makes it seem like they don’t care about certain things, when in reality their conscious mind would have a problem. Those feelings of love will eventually subside, leaving all of the bad stuff out to rot. If you genuinely like the person you fell in love with, you’ll have no problem staying with them forever as those good things will still overshadow the bad things. It is 100% okay to be single for a long time, as this aspect is very important.

    None of this is to say that monogamy is for everyone (its not), but I’m not sure polyamory is necessarily the best solution to the cheating and unhappiness problem. As you said, communication is key. Partners who discuss their feelings, are in-tune with their own feelings, and willing to make changes to themselves will have a much easier time with monogamy that those who lack these things. As with any system, you need a way to troubleshoot when problems inevitably come up. Nothing is perfect, but the relationships that last are the ones that can solve their own problems internally.

    In conclusion, my basic formula for successful relationships goes something like:
    • Good emotional health and literacy
    • Finding the right person for you
    • Open and active communication

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree with everything you said! Many people go into relationships with their unconscious emotions and as you said their instincts precede conscious rationale.

      I do feel people end up settling in a relationships they’re ultimately deep down not content with. This leads to the infidelity, cheating, and situations we often hear about. When it comes to being genuinely in love with someone, I do agree the good would overshadow the bad. However, I think at some point in our lives another person could become involved in the picture, emotionally or physically, potentially tempting us into entertaining it. This is where the idea of an open relationship would come into play by still loving your partner the same but allowing them the ability to act on whatever they’re feeling.

      I feel the reason many relationships fail is because many lack all three of those bullet points! Lol.

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your insight, I loved hearing your thoughts.

      Like

  2. To begin with let me say “Congrats Taleah” on your reaching a level of consciousness where you are probing the depths mankind, womankind, philosophers and clerics have pondered for millennia!
    While all the focus on open relationships appears to solve the problem, of a wandering eye, wandering lust, deceitfulness and cheating on ones partner, it simply amounts to making an excuse for people who made commitments and vows, to break them, and, I might add, break the hearts of their partner whom was cheated on, and the hearts of their children as well.
    There comes a time, as they say, “when boys and girls have to put away their toys,” and they have to live up to the commitments which they’ve made and make prioritized choices, frustrating as they may be.
    Faithfulness, Honor, and Trust, in the face of the many attractions and temptations we all encounter, is the highest virtue. While we are young, we tend to act impulsively seeking immediate gratification of our wants and desires; yet, as we get older and mature, we ,(hopeful), learn to let go of the selfish wants and desires in favor of honoring the commitment we made to each other, and to the children we bring into this world, by being faithful.
    I agree with Anon, about working through our wants, needs, and desires, by being honest with each other about these things. Yes, it’s very very hard to open up to each other about these thing as well; yet, that’s what honesty and faithfulness require. The help of counselors may be a great value as well.
    The cause of so much pain and suffering in the world is because people cling to what the “Buddhist” call “Mara” which are the things of the physical and material world which ultimately, don’t bring true happiness in life. Learning to let go, (as do mature adults) of the “toys” and temptations in life can be the path to happiness, faithfulness, virtue, trust, and the joy that one day comes with the fulfillment of vows and commitments to ones partner in later years.
    As Anon indicated, you later in life find a place where you weight the value of transient fulfillment of lust for another against the value and virtue of honoring your spouse with faithfulness which you pledged, working through the difficulties of marriage and life’s frustrations together. I’m reminded of the what they say couples later in life who have been married 65 years or more say, “We never considered divorce; we considered murder, but not divorce!) I don’t recommend murder, only work through problems together to reach a higher plateau of life with your partners. Later in life, you may end up with a partner at your side after thick and thin, at your side!
    Finally, let me say, when you bring kids into the world in your relationship, you’re life belongs to them; this requires you to provide a loving supportive home and environment for them until they are adults and leave your home. Anything you allow to draw your focus and interest outside of the home threatens their welfare. Parents have a duty to walk the straight and narrow path in commitment to they vows, spouse, and children to insure their hearts aren’t ripped open destroying their belief in pursuit of a virtuous life with a lifelong partner whom is faithful, and virtuous. living up to they commitments they made not only to each other, but to their children.

    QED.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, as I am happy to be in such a consciousness where I can ponder such thoughts and ideas in an open and clear head space. Lol.

      You say that open relationships ultimately give the excuse of breaking vows and commitments and hurting one another (and the children if involved). However, the main point I’m trying to convey is what if we opened our mind to this idea with out the negative connotation in which you’re relating the two. If it was a joint decision in which both people were content and okay with what was going to happen, who is getting hurt?
      Open relationships are not for anyone off the street, as I believe it takes a deep mental understanding of yourself and your partner. However, if more people began understand a deeper part of themselves and to grasp the concept of admitting to lust and longings, and perhaps acting upon it in a healthy relationship- that chaos would not follow it

      I see your point of the “Mara,” and yes the desire of someone outside your committed relationship wouldn’t bring you happiness. In a true state of consciousness you would be able to see these feelings/emotions, acknowledge them, and leave them behind. However, we are still human and the majority of society wouldn’t be able to live through a mantra. We crave touch, sex, and companionship from another person. And as I said in the blog, I think you could spend a lifetime with someone and be fulfilled with them and still have some fulfillment with another, and resume your life. I also don’t think labeling your relationship as “open” would automatically mean you’re both going to go out numerous times and make a habit out of it. But laying all the cards on the table and allowing the opportunity of need be, it could perhaps not intruige your partner at all to do it.

      As parents you are right in you do have a larger role to contribute with setting an example for your children and the commitment made to them. Parents are still individuals though- with their own thoughts and feelings. I feel this title is also what drives people away from their spouse because the idea of lifetime commitment is still many people cannot truly live by, which is why I say monogamy is dead.
      Yes, in this ideal relationship we’re talking about where communication is open and partners can be honest and work through their issues, there would be a way to love each other and only be with one another, but that is hardly ever the case. So whether or not open relationships could help transform the motives and repercussions of cheating, one thing for me is a constant. That monogamy is just a facade in today’s relationships and most people cannot think or act in a monogamous way.

      Thank you for the comment, I loved hearing your perspective!

      Like

  3. I have been the cheater and cheated on. However to me there are different levels of cheating. Yes I’m the end it’s all betrayal but some bigger than others. Looking back at my life, I think open relationships are something I could handle. We have something to learn from everyone, men and women (for me). When people think “open” they think that means sexually open for business with red hooker lights on (well that has happened). Anyways, open relationships could be for conversation, laughter, support, and many other things including sex.

    Like

  4. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. I think it all depends on the persons involved. I’ve been in both monogamous relationships and in an open relationship. I experimented with the open style after coming to the personal conclusion that a lot of seemingly deep and loving relationships become fractured at the mere suspicion of the other showing interest in another. I would think to myself, “I love her unconditionally”. And then follow up that thought with, “Hmm, but what if she cheated”? And then after THAT thought I would say, “Well… WHY would she”? And that to me was the key. The ‘why’ to me would make all of the difference in how I felt about the action of sleeping with another that wasn’t me. If the reasoning centered around dissatisfaction in the relationship then I would probably be more hurt and disappointed than, if when it REALLY boiled down to it, she simply found another human being attractive and would’ve liked to sleep with them. This all comes down to our personal feelings of insecurity and jealousy right? I was cheated on in my first real relationship and it made me feel terrible. I felt like I wasn’t enough and all the confidence I had before finding out about the deed(s) was shattered. But to make that typical long story shorter I learned that confidence comes from within. Not from the things you have, aspire to be, or the pretty girl on your shoulder. But from looking at objectively and loving yourself. And yea I know that’s cliche but the most important life lessons are learned through UN-complicating the thing up until it’s in it’s purest form, only then can it be understood.

    I valued honesty in a S.O. more than anything else. Because in my opinion, the best relationships; friends or lovers are more valuable when true honesty can be expressed without ridicule or contempt from the other. I’m not saying to put LITERALLY EVERYTHING on the table or to HOLD IN feelings of distain one might have when the other may say “oh that girl/guy on TV is ooo so sexy I would get that TONIGHT!”. It’s okay to FEEL what you FEEL but I had to understand that some of my feelings came from my own insecurities and self consciousness. I felt at the time that it was unfair for me to project any of those insecurities onto her when they came from me in the first place. Although I would never enjoy the idea of her sleeping with another man (even though her sleeping other women was completely fine with me idk why), I wanted to make sure that she felt as if she could if she REALLY wanted to. For two reasons. One, because I wanted to enjoy that same freedom. And two, because I didn’t like the idea of MY insecurities holding her back in her life from doing anything she REALLY wanted to do. And the reason I keep capitalizing “REALLY” is because if it escalated to sex, then one would have to be ready to face the consequences of the other possibly getting upset. Even an open relationship there can be infidelity. That’s why the communication is the main component of the open style. Because you have to know where your partner is at all times in order to help you decide in the moment what you “REALLY” wanna do.

    In my 3+ years of an open relationship I think we each had only two encounters with people other than each other. That just shows that the freedom doesn’t make you wanna fuck EVERYTHING but instead it made me appreciate my partner for at least trying to understand me on a personal level but also on the primal…

    Now to quickly play the devil’s advocate I can definitely understand wanting your partner all to yourself and wanting to build the relationship based on the sacrifices you make for each other. I also think that is a pure and true goal to strive for in a relationship. It’s just a different path to the same intimacy. And possibly the easier one because I think it’s easier for us to settle than to command pure authenticity in our own lives.

    The hardest part of the open relationship is routinely being in tune with and externalizing your own emotions, which trust me IS NO FUN on a regular basis lol. Being your own psychotherapist can be taxing. You just want to be frivolous and not so practical sometimes.

    The hardest part of monogamy is having to find different outlets for the experiences that truly interest you. Mainly when they deal with sex but sometimes when you just want to have a platonic relationship with someone new.

    Friends and relationships have been sources of infinite possibilities in my life. From getting my car fixed for thousands of dollars less or getting that job because of that “friend”. But to think of all of those people that could be cut out of my life automatically because they would possibly threaten my S.O.’s self esteem just feels like it’s not worth it in the end.

    In the words of the late great Jimi Hendrix, “Just a little love and understanding’s all I need”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree it definitely depends on the people in relationship, and where those people are in their own state of consciousness and feelings. You also brought up a good point I wish I would’ve addressed in my post for the motives behind the “why.” Like you said, if the reason the person wanted something different was based on dissatisfaction from you (the partner) then I think that would begin laying the ground for infidelity even within the open relationship. Because I think the two people in an open relationship need to love and respect each other even more than those is proclaimed “monogamous” relationships. But as you said, if it was simply based on attraction and not diminishing any of their own feelings towards you, then it would be a healthy decision to go about.

      I think the main reason people couldn’t attempt and love in an open relationship and fail in their own “monogamous” ones is because many people aren’t confident in themselves and ultimately place their insecurities on their partners, as you said you didn’t want to do. This lack of own self worth and understanding is what drives people to cling to others in hopes of validation and emotional security. So of course the thought of their partner with someone else would never go well in their minds.

      I think we all dream of that pure goal in any relationship, that we’ll find someone and be able to work through any thing and conquer the world. Yet, as you said, you value honesty most in a relationship like many people. Except the same people who same that are the same people who don’t even communicate with their partners!!! lol. I feel people sabotage their own relationships, unconsciously, because they’re not even able to process or be honest with themselves- let alone another human.
      I loved the last part about people settling rather than pure authentic in our lives, so true though.

      I want to say monogamy could work between two individuals that are completely in tuned with themselves first, and then their partners. But, I think it’s just naive to assume that you could be with simply just one person for the rest of your life. Whether it be for sex or like you mentioned, a platonic relationship. But too many people are close-minded to ever let such thoughts flow through and be pondered, or never truly understand themselves, then open relationships will never be given a chance to see how it would end up.

      Thanks for sharing some insight from BOTH perspectives!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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