Earlier today I watched a video by YouTube star Davey Wavey titled “I’m In An Open Relationship…”. The video is Davey’s explanation of his reasoning for being in an open relationship stating, “To me it’s like going to Disneyland and being like ’Alright, I’m just going to ride this one ride over and over and over again.’ And like yeah, of course you could totally do that but why would you do that to yourself? There’s all these other really cool rides you could ride on.” He further questions monogamy by asking ““Why? Why would you do that to yourself?” It made me start wondering; why are there so many posts, videos and blogs defending open relationships but very few defending monogamy? Why are gay activists, like Dan Savage, leading the forefront of this movement by terming phrases like “monogamish”, stating that by nature, we are not meant to have only one partner? Let me put this bluntly; to me, it seems like a huge justification to fuck whoever you want to fuck. It might be better to ask why we aren’t striving for more committed relationships? Intimacy is a vital part of every relationship, and that does not just begin and end in the bedroom. Who really wants to have an honest conversation about this topic? To me, there is an answer for the need to be in an open relationship; be single.
My husband and I have been together for over seven years. We have been married for four years. I would love to tell you that during that entire time we have been in a committed, dedicated and monogamous marriage. I can’t tell you that because it’s not the truth. There have been times that we have struggled with infidelity, wondering eyes, flirting with others, inappropriate messaging to others, etc. Those were extremely painful times for both of us. I have learned two very valuable lessons having been through those periods of our relationship. First, at any of those times we both played very valuable roles. Maybe we weren’t giving the other person what they needed or maybe we acted with poor character. Whatever the reason, we both played a part in why the lack of monogamy occurred. Second, being in an open relationship wouldn’t have made our relationship any better; it would have only lessened the ties of intimacy and pushed us farther apart instead of bringing us together. The best thing that ever happened in our relationship were these indiscretions because they forced us to have open conversations about or relationship. Having been through difficult times with my husband only made me want to be monogamous even more, but I know today that monogamy is not a joint decision. It is a choice each member makes of themselves in a relationship.
Today I have several choices. I can sit down with my husband and have a conversation about our need to be in an open relationship, so we can both enjoy all of the rides at Adventureland, as Davey Wavey suggests, or we can decide to have healthy boundaries that move us both towards closer intimacy and monogamy. I choose the later, which is why I choose to not cheat on my husband or act inappropriately. I choose to be a man of character. I choose to share the intimate moments with my husband because for me, I only need one ride. Does it get boring? Sure. Does it lose excitement? Absolutely. Are there times I see other attractive men and get turned on? Are you kidding me? But that doesn’t mean I need to act on those behaviors. I am a sexual being, yes, but I’m not ruled so sexually that I can’t save my fantasies and intimacy for my husband. That alone, can be pretty exciting. Forcing yourself as a couple to find new ways to improve your sexual life can be more exciting than looking outside the bedroom door for an easier way. For me, that’s like standing in a long line at the amusement park and getting out of line because you don’t have enough patience to wait for the ride. It could be a pretty amazing ride if you just gave it a chance.
Having worked with couples for years, gay and straight, the ideas of monogamy, cheating and having open relationships are nothing new. Difficult times happen to even the best couples and people have affairs, cheat and act out. This doesn’t mean that you throw in the towel and say, “well, I guess if we’re going to stay together we might as well have an open relationship.” It means you work towards common goals of monogamy and intimacy. I know many couples who have had infidelity in their relationship and by both partners owning their part and working towards common goals they have turned their relationships into the most powerful relationships possible. I like to think this happened to me and my husband. I have also known many couples, gay and straight, in open relationships who either eventually break up or one partner is so entirely unhappy with the arrangement that they sabotage the relationship. That is the truth.
The day we got married I asked a very good friend of mine, who is in his 70’s and been married 50 years, if he had any advice on marriage. He told me that at some point in a relationship, both partners will cheat on some level. He smiled and put his hand on my shoulder and followed it up by saying, “But divorce is not an option.” That is the goal of monogamy. There is something so absolutely beautiful about looking at all of the ups and downs in a relationship and knowing that it is for the common good of total intimacy; being part of each other’s souls. For me, sleeping with whoever you want and being OK with your partner doing that just doesn’t sound appetizing. It’s not like I don’t see people I would love to have sex with because I would be lying if I made that statement, but not acting on those temptations and those desires is what makes my relationship stronger. The fact that I ultimately desire being with my husband more than I desire being with a stranger is what makes the relationship more enticing, passionate and meaningful. That is something you get with monogamy that just doesn’t come with an open relationship.
I don’t pass judgement on the couples who choose to be in open relationships. I don’t honestly know if they have any better or worse success rates than couples who are in supposed monogamous relationships. I don’t know if they have better or worse sex or if they fall out of love quicker. In his video Davey asks, “How monogamous are you really?”. Well Davey, let me answer that for you; I am 100% monogamous. I can only be responsible for my behaviors and my actions, but I choose to not act out. I choose to be a man of character. I can’t make that decision for husband, I can only make that decision for myself. If he chooses to cheat then I have to make the decision whether or not I am going to stay and work on the relationship or leave, but being in an open relationship is not an option for me. Davey’s not really talking about relationships; he’s talking about the lack of communication in a relationship and the need to be sex driven instead of soul oriented. Again, I choose the later. It’s really about the payout.
Honestly, it all kind of makes me sad. Having been in other monogamous relationships as well, there are huge gifts that come as a result of being committed to only one person. I’ve never been in an agreed upon open relationship and I’m sure it has it’s gifts as well. “Hey babe, I’ll be back in a few hours. I’m going to fuck John. Can you save American Horror Story and dinner until I get back?” I don’t want that kind of relationship. I don’t want one where we cheat on each other either, but at least with infidelity it gives you a chance at working towards a better relationship by identifying each others weaknesses and improving them. Trust me, I know.
My dream is to be with my husband until one of us passes away. I like curling up next to him in bed at night and listening to him sleep knowing that we both have the same goals. I like knowing that even though we’ve been through some bad times, and there will be more to come, we can get through anything. I don’t want to wonder who he slept with and if it was better than me and if he brought some disease home and will I not be good enough… having agreed to that type of relationship on my own free will.
Maybe I live in a fantasy world and there really isn’t such a thing as monogamy. Maybe every relationship is doomed for failure and we should all just be open and unassuming. But I just refuse to believe that and give up. I’m not willing to throw in the towel. I want something more. Just like in Pretty Woman, I want the fairy tale too…Is that too much to ask?