Sam wrote: “I had a question that’s been bugging me a lot lately. I know that people can be in whatever relationship they want and all that.
But monogamy has always been important for me. The problem is that I keep hearing people say things about how hard monogamy is and how you can’t expect a partner to want you that much or whatever. But I’ve found a lot of freedom in knowing that whatever happens, my partner is focused on me in that area of our lives. It also used to give me a feeling of safety and self confidence. Like I’ve been sick and don’t feel as much pressure because I can’t have sex, or I know that if my partner did anything behind my back they would have just broken up with me so the fact that they’re still there is proof that everything is okay.
Last year that changed a lot because I was in a relationship with someone who slowly started to push back on how I felt and even our relationships boundaries. This eventually reached the point of them gaslighting me about our relationship and trying to get me to let them sleep with other people. Now I’m always a little on edge because I know that even someone who says “I love you,” and I was communicating really well with was still abusive and really tried to make me feel bad for wanting an exclusive relationship. And I feel really stressed out when I heard people drag monogamy so much and feel like any relationship I’m in, my partner will just start to push against our boundaries. Especially since I can have issues with sex and confirmed related to trauma. The worst thing would be cheating obviously, but even thinking about that makes me really stressed out.
How do you think I can build a sense of safety inside a relationship or when I’m single, and how should I go about making clear how important monogamy is to me and how freeing and even sexy I find it? And how can I stop feeling bad or like I’m naive for wanting a monogamous relationship? I know relationships end and that’s okay, but while it’s going I want it to be free of little digs or power imbalances or endless pressure to perform.”
Liz says: Ignore everyone else. Who cares what they believe about monogamy? Unless you are in a romantic relationship with them, their opinions don’t matter.
Monogamy is important to you, and that’s what matters. There are millions of women who also value monogamy and want what you do in a relationship. If you’re somehow getting the impression that polyamory or open relationships are the norm now, you’re mistaken. Since this concern gives you anxiety, I do wonder if there is something deeper going on with you emotionally. Perhaps finding a therapist who specializes in abandonment issues, or abusive relationships (or whatever it is you might have been traumatized by) would do you a lot of good.
Meanwhile, prioritize this concern right away with whomever you date. Not in a smothering way, but gently bring up the topic of monogamy in long-term couplings and see where the conversation goes. You can learn a lot before getting emotionally invested. Honesty and setting clear boundaries is how you can build a sense of safety inside a relationship.
2 thoughts on “Monogamy Is Important To Him But Ex Wanted To Have An Open Relationship”
I just wanted to add that Monogamy or “relationship” is also about commitment. With that said, if two people want to share something special and culminate that with sexual expression then it will diminish or liquidate with the introduction of additional sexual partners. I am old school and for a younger person a bit on the old fashioned system but call me crazy if you are under the impression that someone exclusively wants to be with you then they abide by a handful of respectful norms that accompany that. I personally feel if you are aligning yourself with people who want “open” relationships then perhaps you are both seeking two entirely different end results. Time to reevaluate the playing field and find someone who is willing to give themself to you as you prefer to give yourself to them. Open relationships cannot end well and the common denominator is that you are basically sleeping with everyone they are sleeping with. What do you know about those people? Just saying if you desire an exclusive relationship then my feelings are to move on and find someone who shares that commonality. I think Liz said it best that relationships are not built or sustained about what other people think or do. I view relationships as two streets. Traffic (emotions/Feelings) can flow and should flow in both directions but when it becomes a one way street or someone is looking at detours then it isn’t a relationship anymore and will not end well for you. I think you brought up a great question especially in today’s “New Wave” climate of sexual freeness and lack of expected commitment.