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-   -   Emotional cheating in mono relationships (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10043)

Purpurea 05-20-2011 09:07 AM

Emotional cheating in mono relationships
 
Because of my own story, some questions about emotional cheating in mono relationships raised in my head, and I would like to know what you think about it. Especially those of you on this board in a mono relationship are welcome to answer (I'm sure there are a few ;)). Of course, everyone else is free to express their opinions as well.

I think what characterizes the need for a mono relationship is the need to feel to come first to your partner. The exclusive rights a mono relationship offers, the label, exclusive sex, marriage, are not the point, but the message this behavior sends out: "I love you more than anyone else." I think someone who needs a mono relationship, needs to be honestly loved more than other people by their partner.

What if your partner said: "There is someone else I feel emotionally equally close to, but although I wanted to if you didn't mind, because you do I will not have sex with this person, nor call them my girlfriend/boyfriend/life partner." - and you're ok with that, would you REALLY feel that this person is equally close to your partner, or would you, because of the fact you still get some exclusive rights, still feel you're number one to your partner, although the rational part of your brain might understand you're not?

And, to ask the polys now: Isn't this still emotional cheating to your partner, ALTHOUGH you express your true feelings verbally? Aren't you still sending out a wrong message on the emotional level, because you are not willing to show it in your behavior as well? Or to put it in a different way: Could we polys honestly lead a mono relationship, just by not letting someone else physically as close? And would it be honest, if we didn't let someone else emotionally close, although we could in theory?

Again to the monos: Would it be enough for you to know your partner COULD let other people emotionally equally close, but refuses to do so because of you?

PenguinDreams 05-20-2011 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Purpurea (Post 82451)
I think what characterizes the need for a mono relationship is the need to feel to come first to your partner. The exclusive rights a mono relationship offers, the label, exclusive sex, marriage, are not the point, but the message this behavior sends out: "I love you more than anyone else." I think someone who needs a mono relationship, needs to be honestly loved more than other people by their partner.

What if your partner said: "There is someone else I feel emotionally equally close to, but although I wanted to if you didn't mind, because you do I will not have sex with this person, nor call them my girlfriend/boyfriend/life partner." - and you're ok with that, would you REALLY feel that this person is equally close to your partner, or would you, because of the fact you still get some exclusive rights, still feel you're number one to your partner, although the rational part of your brain might understand you're not?

Again to the monos: Would it be enough for you to know your partner COULD let other people emotionally equally close, but refuses to do so because of you?

It would depend entirely on how much this other person intruded into my life. What would be unacceptable to me if I was expecting a monogamous relationship would be if this other person took vacations with my partner, if the two of them went out to dinner or other events without me if I was available, accompanied my partner to small family gatherings or attended social functions as my partner's "date". The part of poly I just couldn't get past was the hurt I experience when my partner wants to build intimacy through shared memories and experiences with someone else when they're really the only person with whom I want the same. If there's something big and exciting going on, or something important or small and intimate, I want to be there for it as much as possible. I suppose being loved the most is a factor in there but for me it's also very much about being included and creating a history together. The fact that this other person didn't have the same benefits and privileges of automatic inclusiveness would make them feel not equal in my mind regardless of how much emotional closeness my partner felt for them.

If my partner could let someone else be emotionally close but chose not to because of my feelings I would probably have some anxiety about how long they could hold out. I'd likely always have some apprehension that at some point it wouldn't be enough for them.

MonoVCPHG 05-20-2011 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Purpurea (Post 82451)
would you REALLY feel that this person is equally close to your partner, .

No I wouldn't. But the nature of the relationship would change IF it was believed that my partner was also internally monogamous from the beginning. I've experienced this and it stayed with me. Ultimately I was no longer as connected to my partner.

Knowingly Being with a poly partner is different however...once you develop some understanding of how the person loves people.

MorningTwilight 05-20-2011 08:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Purpurea (Post 82451)
Could we polys honestly lead a mono relationship, just by not letting someone else physically as close? And would it be honest, if we didn't let someone else emotionally close, although we could in theory?

I think that this is, in fact, how most polys who have been in long-term monogamous relationships start out, and they struggle with it, along with feelings of guilt, shame, and "undeserving-ness" of the love of their partners, until they finally figure out that they are poly. At that point, we step onto the roller-coaster ride.

IOW, no, I don't think it works as a long-term strategy. The dam will break eventually--or the poly will.

MT

redpepper 05-21-2011 02:04 AM

This is interesting right now. Like literally right now; as I am being driven by PN to camp with Leo and his wife and kids for the weekend. Mono is following behind and Derby hopes to visit.

Leo is my non-sexual boyfriend and I honestly love him the same as my other loves. This is being greatly tested at the moment as I am doubting he loves me. This weekend could be interesting. You can read my blog for more (from Dec 2011 on).

I look forward to reading the responses here :) I will respond more over the weekend no doubt.

nycindie 05-21-2011 05:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 82591)
You can read my blog for more (from Dec 2011 on).

For a peek into the future? :p

redpepper 05-21-2011 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 82608)
For a peek into the future? :p

oh for the love of... Dec 2010 geesh. ;)

AlexieNichole 05-25-2011 03:29 AM

Being number 1
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Purpurea (Post 82451)
I think what characterizes the need for a mono relationship is the need to feel to come first to your partner. ?


I'm actually in a mono relationship right now and just started getted interested in poly. I started hanging out with a male friend at work (who is also married and is in an open marriage). My husband had told me he was okay that I spend time with my friend at work. He knew we were being playful with each other. He only had 2 rules. One being careful if we did become intimate and two he's #1.

Honestly not completely sure what that can mean at times.

AlexieNichole

thirstythirsty 05-25-2011 08:31 AM

I just left a 9-year mono relationship, and recently started to live as poly. Back thern, I got by by denial. Simply distanced myself from anyone I felt attracted to, often without admitting the feelings even to myself.

I believe every mono relationship needs to find ways to deal with attraction to others. At the beginning of my mono relationship, I was terribly jealous a lot of the time. Later, I accepted my partner's attraction to others, since I trusted she'd live by the rules we'd set up. I held my feelings for others hidden, since I knew they made her uncomfortable.
After it ended, I re-evaluated my thoughts, and realised I could've stuck with her no matter what I did with others, hence my change in direction.

But I do not believe anyone is emotionally mono. Feelings can be repressed, and everyone finds their own way of controlling them. I believe every mono must find the way that damages them the least.
In the end, I value honesty too much. I've never seen anyone who Can't let another equally close, I've just seen half-lies on the subject, at best situations where you allow emotional cheating. The idea that you get to decide another's feelings seem a bit freaky to me. In my mono times, I simply wanted realistic rules, so that I could trust my partner. If she promised me things I knew to be impossible, I couldn't trust her other promises.

I don't believe I've changed, or that I was lying to myself in living as mono, that I was really poly the whole time. It's just ways of dealing with reality. I believe it to be a choice. A choice that must be respected, of course, and more of a choice to some people: I can't go back from where I am now.

But I feel that the idea of emotional cheating invites emotional abuse.
It might possibly be an effect of the verb/emotion dualism of the word Love. It's possible to promise to not express romantic love for anyone else, but I don't believe it to be possible to promise not to feel it. That'll just end up flooding someone with guilt, and severely skewing the power balance in a relationship.

MonoVCPHG 05-25-2011 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thirstythirsty (Post 83189)
I do not believe anyone is emotionally mono. .

You don't have to believe me..but you just met one person who is ;)


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