The “traditional” monogamous relationship container has definitely served its purpose, but is it relevant today, or even keeping pace with change ? You have no doubt heard ‘ the only thing “normal” in relationships is the setting on the washing machine’, and probably have a wry smile with that phrase. Yet, even though the traditional monogamous relationship model that has been accepted throughout much of history, its strength of consistency is finally starting to crumble under the face of change. So many people have chosen a monogamous lifestyle, only to have their dreams dashed, and is this their fault for believing it still is possible?
Have they even received advice flexibility supporting them in creating their choice ? Are “we” doing enough to support not only younger people, but everyone who wants to be in relationship? The average modern relationship must adapt to become more varied in keeping with the growing freedom of choice that is available.
To do this, in spite of huge cultural conditioning, will challenge any newcomer, especially if they are unsupported. Modern lifestyle has placed more stress on the traditional ideal ‘couple’ yet we still regard monogamy as the ideal model for our relationship needs. And, with little consideration given to what exactly monogamy requires. As we are all living longer, our romance, friendship, financial, marital, intimate, emotional and sexual needs have become more complex with more options.
We enjoy better health with more productive and complex lifestyles.
Never before has the image of the romantic couple relationship been under so much pressure to perform, deliver and adapt, but do we have the skills to achieve this? This is also creating a whole new meaning to “life partner”, someone who can grow with you and not get in the way of your choices.
My question is are we failing monogamy by simply being too limited and inflexible in how varied this relationship dynamic can be? How many monogamous relationships receive effective support and encouragement? Especially of a standard that will ensure personal growth, depth of connection and longevity in the face of change? Can the widespread perception of how monogamy should look, change, and change in that most challenging of places- that of lovingly intimate and heart connected sexuality? We believe that the most important aspect of your relationship dynamic, whatever it is, is one of shared conscious choice from a place of open hearted intimate connection and vulnerability.
Fidelity and Monogamy
Confronting the shame, fear and control that comes up around intimate sexual boundaries in your relationship and having a conversation about it is vital to validate a healthy part of being human. Given the amazing power of sexual energy, the challenges that arise from sexual desire exist, whether it is spoken or not. Many relationships do fail simply because one or both fall into shame about desire, and give up, simply because open discussion is too challenging. Further, there is much armchair judgment offered when a committed couple consciously choose from inside their monogamous relationship to explore their sexuality, particularly when it is known about, which most often it’s not.
Why is this so challenging for some of us? And, is it any of our business? Being in a monogamous relationship in a sex negative culture is hugely challenging, as any expression of sexual desire outside the relationship is seen as a “deadly sin”. Men struggle to understand their sexual desire, the primal urges that when shut down usually leak out some how, such as watching porn, domestic anger and frustration. Women also carry intense shame around their own sexuality, body shape and simply just being woman. When these shame pieces collide, many relationships collapse under the weight of shame, guilt or simply from lack of support.
Monogamy is an Ideal Relationship Container
Yet, monogamous relationships are by far the ideal container for bringing these issues out into the open and healing them with loving fun. There is no “one size fits all” cure. But when a couple consciously choose to explore these and other boundaries, with honesty, intimacy and vulnerability inside their relationship, wonders are created. Our belief in Oztantra based on our own experience and what we see in others, is that the ultimate experience in relationship starts with one person first, yourself. When that happens and is grounded in each individual self, then simple and open communication can be a very powerful experience that transforms into the relationship.
It is usually not intimacy or sexual excitement that is lacking, but a desire to move towards something greater, which is usually held back by simple, yet unconscious fear. The skills in meeting, holding and growing in this place are a beginning in achieving more modern version of monogamy. Successful relationships do expand, deepen, thrive and develop longevity by having highly developed communication skills.
Real and open relating takes practice and highly developed emotional skills, but most importantly, communication that is clear, embodied and consistent. This is the hardest type of relating to achieve, and from our experience in supporting couples, is the most rewarding. This type of relating or communication will take many forms, but most importantly, it just needs to happen. Regardless of the outcome. In this place, the expansion, deepening of love, connection and intimacy can be beyond words, remembering that the challenges are mostly only minor speed bumps, even though they may initially appear like Mt Everest…..
Monogamy and Sexuality
In conclusion, when those powerful sexual desires or primal urges become toxic is when they are suppressed or not talked about. This simple lack of communication eventually creates feelings of betrayal and rejection followed by closing down and becoming emotionally distant. And it is the feelings of betrayal, breach of trust, hurt and rejection that create the deepest cuts and are hardest to heal. It takes courage, skill and trust in your relationship container to talk about these potentially big unmentionables. Communicating from a place of loving trust and vulnerability, sharing your secret desires and fantasies can be incredibly freeing (and fun..!!).
It takes a lot of courage and skill to really show up at this depth, as it directly challenges any unresolved inner child wounds.
In this place, the level of intimacy and vulnerability is intensely magnified and if experienced, will create a genuine expansion of trust, depth and open hearted connection.
Regardless of the outcome, simply having courage to have these conversations will make a difference.
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