What is emotional monogamy? How do we define what fidelity might look like? What really helps you feel secure and embraced in a relationship? And what would constitute betrayal for you?
I ask because as I encounter more and more dialog around relationship- I hear the word 'should' over and over. It seems that people walk around with a general consensus that the majority thinks as they, themselves think. I'm starting to get the impression that these assumptions are also preempting some very important conversations.
In reality, we do not all 'relationship' the same. We come from different stories/journeys/paths. And honestly- those stories/journeys/paths have left some feeling more supported/loved/nurtured or violated/lonely/raw than others. Not all of us were a protected priority. While others of us may have felt protected and knew they were a priority yet didn't learn how to stand on their own two feet. It is even rarer that many feel they came out of their story, unscathed and whatever whole is.
Then- we got out into life and meet a someone who sparks our interest. We start looking forward to enjoying their company. Make more room and more time in our lives for/with them. We get wrapped up. Even fall in love.
Their are some amazing communicators who feel at home with language and experience little conflict when engaging in growth with a partner. And then their are the rest of us. Those who self protect, deflect, haven't ever considered where we stand on an issue until right this moment- and to be honest- just aren't ready to look inward about it while feeling as tho they are standing naked in traffic in the middle of a rain storm.
This is where the questions come in. There are all sorts of ties that bind between people- small and large. And what is small or what is large can be different to different people. In reality, we desire different types of interaction; and have differing views as to what is essential to US.
Do you discuss these topics with your partner as they come up?
In the many couples I speak with a few roles and dynamics stand out: K and M were married for about 8 years when M had an affair. K was incredibly hurt and felt betrayed. M couldn't understand why K felt so hurt when K wasn't really showing M affection. Didn't share their day, or talk about things anymore, etc. M felt that K was getting love and connection from elsewhere and so M felt a need for those connections elsewhere also. K was very hurt. Felt that quality conversation elsewhere was NOT an infidelity yet sex elsewhere was. M felt like this. 'I feel loved by intimacy and touch. You feel loved by conversation and mental stimulation. You don't talk to me (albeit for the baggage I may have helped insert into the relationship) yet you do connect with many others- on a deep level. I feel alone, hurt and betrayed by that. So why is it you can go get love from other places when I feel inadequate for not being the place you come to for those things- yet when I go to get filled up with what I need- you trump all the emotions with your betrayal?'
Does M get to request intellectual fidelity? Does K get to request physical fidelity? Is there a way of looking at this that reaches a common ground where emotional and physical monogamy are concerned?
Historically, a large part of the world has lived from a social structure that considered sex with one partner to constitute monogamy and hasn't considered that we have different love languages- and therefore are filled up and emptied by different things. Not all relationship is defined by the same set of rules/parts as others.
It is my invitation that we look at relationship again- from the perspective of different love languages. And the different weights and values that we each may put on different things.
I am in relationship to a someone whom I deeply love, yet, we are not labeled by nor in behavior toward the social standard. The intimacies between us are not your run of the mill, cookie cutter intimacies either. I receive her love best when she allows me to massage her feet, or do her laundry. If someone else touched her feet or did her laundry it would break my heart. I believe she receives my love best by me allowing her the space to take time for herself. In no way would it be ok for me to make ultimatums or request a shift in the way we BE in relationship to eachother. Perhaps less a re-write of an over-played love story... and very much more a carving out of what honors US.
For me, emotional monogamy is in large part my own confidence that we can deeply love people, humanity, without it being romance. For another, that love may be a threat to their value system. For me, I do not need a label or even a traditional way of expressing or receiving love. For another lines/boundaries/contracts may feel very important.
In the end I see a tangled web of starch lines mingled thru-out words or a lack of words where ideas like commitment and betrayal are concerned. What I have learned in all of the diverse exchange I've embraced around these ideas over the years is- it is increasingly evident that we are to first have ourselves in perspective before we can see anothers perception. In all- we are all really living from our own experiences/needs/desires/intentions. Perhaps we haven't shifted our view enough to better see the other side... I do feel confident, tho, that less of what we receive was ever put in place to harm us; it is more that the person we are in relationship to is simply doing them. (with the tools they have collected up until now.)
What we are monogamous to is different for different people. We make love in different ways. Eventho making love has socially been limited to the idea of sex. What if sex is only one little bitty piece of making love? What if love is in the laundry, support, understanding, faith, language, personal stability, the ability to save touch for a time it can be received, or living without succumbing to social pressures to follow a historic lead with a not so good rap?
How loved do you feel and are you willing to truly look inward for the answers as to what really creates warmth and security for you? Is it possible that when you have felt wounded in relationship, it has been less by your partners intentions and more by your own expectations?
I very much look forward to your feedback.
a lot of amy's ability to serve as a bridge for people comes from her poetic observation. as a writer, poet, coach, mother, friend and peace agent- she lives a passionate life of authentic after authentic moment that includes a spectrum of color, growth and humanity supported by Spirit.