So what is modern monogamy? Modern monogamy can be described as two people who share a belief in the value and importance of their principle relationship where there is emotional exclusivity, while all other areas are open to discussion and negotiation. Couples may negotiate in many areas of their relationship. Some may engage in sex once with a third party, or only engage in sex while traveling away for work. Others may agree to have sex together with other couples or a third person.
Whatever the negotiated boundaries that are agreed upon – it’s fundamental that there is a deep level of trust and honesty. Both parties must feel secure in their relationship and trust their partner. There can be no coercion by one partner. Both partners must freely choose to change the boundaries of their relationship together.
Concepts of monogamy are core to a couple’s relationship. If you are not on the same page as your partner over the basic core value of monogamy it will probably lead to conflict between you both in the future. Ask yourself, do you and your partner share the same value and beliefs in monogamy; are you and your partner being totally honest with each other as well as with yourself, with your values and beliefs in monogamy?
A few points to consider: if your partner has a long known history of flirting or infidelity prior to becoming a couple they probably will not change after you get together. If you desire to have sex with others outside of your principle relationship prior to becoming a couple then being married will probably not change your feelings. Disclosing how you feel about monogamy and your concerns may help your partner understand and accept your feelings and behaviour. Being secretive with your feelings and behaviour will probably only lead to developing a separate life outside of your principle relationship. The greater degree of secrecy in a couple’s relationship, the greater risk of infidelity.
Christopher Swane - Couples Counselling and Psychotherapy - Wellington New Zealand