Posts Tagged the monogamy gap
Not relevant at all but this is my 100th post on this blog!!! Thank you so much to everyone who reads it, whether you’ve been here since day one or today is your first day reading. A special thanks also to Sparkles, Purple and Lady in Red for coming up with the idea in the first place and encouraging me to start this!
When the Boyfriend and I first got together and had just discussed the ground rules and parameters of how open our relationship would be, he mentioned it to a couple and friends and relatives of his, at least two of whom expressed the same concern: that it was all well and good for me to be okay about myself sleeping with other people, but that I might feel differently about things when the Boyfriend went and did the same.
To be honest it was a concern that hadn’t occurred to me, but when he mentioned it to me I realised that it was a valid once since in most if not all of my previous relationships – granted, the last one ended in August 2011 and I’d like to think I’ve grown a great deal since then – I have been a jealous lover. So I told him that when he hooked up with someone else, if I did react badly to it, we’d sit down and talk about it and reassess what our arrangement is – fairly reasonable, no? We both thought so anyway.
He came over this weekend – I was only gone for a week, stressful ferry journey back but very good and inspiring week away – and before he did so told me he had some “weird news” for me; when he got here (with his brother who was visiting him for the weekend) I asked what that news would be and it was his brother who told me that the Boyfriend had indeed hooked up with someone else the previous night when they were out. I was a bit taken aback, because it wasn’t what I had expected to hear (there’s a bit of an odd situation involving his ex and someone else we know going on so I’d expected it to be about that but apparently we’ve moved on from there) .
We didn’t really go into the details there in the kitchen – I’m sure his brother wouldn’t have wanted to know all the gory details anyway – but I brought it up during our pillow talk that night. I asked him what had happened and how it was, which I’m not going to go into here because it’s not my story to tell; and then we spoke about how I felt about it. I can honestly say I was actually quite happy about the whole thing, which even surprised me a little bit. There were two or three main reasons for this, the main one being that I no longer had to worry about my reacting badly to it, like his friends had worried I might, since that had been in the back of my mind; it means that the relationship is more in-balance, since me sleeping with other people when he hasn’t been could have caused resentment and a sense of unfairness; and also, I think it’ll have done his self esteem very good, which makes him happier and in turn makes me happier to. When we were first discussing these things he rather self-deprecatingly said that it didn’t matter too much since he only had “a theoretical chance at casual sex anyway,” which I disagreed with, but now he knows that’s not true.
So everyone’s a winner – he got some sex while I was gone, whoever this other guy is (he doesn’t know his name) got some too, I’m happier about or relationship and the Boyfriend seems to be as well. I don’t think we could ask for a better outcome to your partner hooking up with someone else!
The first time I met her she more or less ignored me.
The third time a few of us were at her flat. It got late. “You can sleep on the couch, or in my bed. But don’t hit on me, cause I might not say no”. (She has a boyfriend). I’ve never had so much self restraint, especially given that she was naked in front of me
A few weeks later, in a club. “When I get home for the summer I’m just going to neck some guy. Hey, want to make out later?” – but we didn’t.
Friday. Party. Wine. Sitting together. “So, do you want to kiss me now or do it later?” and finally after months of sexual tension we did make out. And a bit more. We went to the kitchen where there was a couch and where there was no-one else, things got a bit heated; the person whose flat it was told us the other bedroom was empty.
We didn’t have penetrative sex (no condoms and that would apparently feel too much like cheating), lots of oral though. She actually had said earlier in the night that she’s not that good at sex but that her oral is fantastic and she’s not wrong, the things she could do with her tongue…!
Sunday, out for coffee. “I kind of felt bad about the guy I made out with last week, but not about you. It was a long time coming” (she’s not wrong there either)
And now she’s back in Central Europe for the summer.
I went to a talk by one Eric Anderson, a sociologist from the US who currently works and presumably also teaches at the University of Winchester, last week. He recently published The Monogamy Gap, an overpriced but seemingly fairly thorough look at cheating in the digital age.
I’ve written briefly about monogamy once before here, and I’m really interested in non-monogamous relationships (by which I mean I’m interested in the theories and writings behind them, as well as being interested in actually having one), so when I heard that that was going to be the topic of his talk I got quite excited. The talk itself was really good, Anderson is a very engaging speaker and he made a lot of valid points that it had never occurred to me to consider before; just things that would have been good to write about last time round.
The first thing was the difficulty in defining “cheating”. I wrote about that in my last post on monogamy too, or rather I stole a quotation from Shazzie about it, and in true patter bandit style, I’m going to badly paraphrase what Anderson said here; say you’re in a monogamous relationship and you’re in bed or on the couch with a friend, and you get horny so you start to masturbate and so does your friend. You don’t touch each other or interact with each other; it’s the same as it would be if you were both alone, except you’re not. Is that cheating?
So let’s say that you’re on chatroulette or whatever other site and you see a hot person and you masturbate over webcam for each other; does that count as cheating?
What if you were on chatroulette and came across that same hot person, but instead of masturbating while they were, you recorded the feed (I don’t know if that’s the word for it or if you can even do that, whatever, you know what I mean) and watched it back later? Does that count as cheating? What’s the difference between that and porn? Is masturbating to porn cheating? The lines are so blurred these days, we’ve never had so much access to sex as we have in the last ten years, and it’s getting easier all the time.
Another of these was the reason as to why cheating in monogamous relationships is so widespread (that’s a funny way of phrasing it, “cheating in monogamous relationships” – obviously it’s a monogamous relationship you’re cheating in, it’s hard to cheat in an open one. Shut up Dexxx). What am I talking about? Oh yeah, cheating. Humans, reasons Anderson, get bored through repeated exposure to the same stimulus. You don’t watch the same episode of Friends over and over again; you might have the odd episode that you really like and will gladly watch now and again, but overall you want new episodes that you’re less familiar with. Ditto with sex – if you’re with the same partner for a while you’re going to get bored!
But why should a declining lack of sexual desire for a partner with whom you’re otherwise very much in love lead to the end of your relationship? Anderson’s argument was that it needn’t necessarily do so, and I tend to agree with him. You can have your cake and eat it, essentially; as long as you’re not hurting anyone you’re not doing anything wrong!
I’m not really sure whether there was an actual point to this blog; just a few more thoughts to consider. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!