Hello, I've been lurking for awhile but I *think* this is where I belong. How did we ever get by without forums?!
I've found the threads and tone of discussion here generally helpful, so I thought I'd introduce myself.
I have a longtime partner (married) with children. We've never been very label oriented people (for example- the kids all have my last name, just because) and we run a household that is big, busy and full of friends and family. He's 15 years my senior and we've been together since I was 21- a 'that will never work!' relationship that has worked!
After 16 years together and the last baby, we have realized that we've swept some things under the rug and also needed to go back to put the official apology on a few things and work on our communication styles. It's been a lot of emotional work but good for us. Also I've come to realize a lot of this has to do with me and my needing to re-evaluate 'who I am.'
I suppose who we are goes hand in hand with how we were raised... my folks never married but had a 30 year relationship with four children. Both my folks could certainly be described as outside of the mainstream.
My partner has eccentric folks too- but was raised a nice catholic kid in a midwestern town. We have a nice, solid relationship (one we've been working hard on this winter) but really do come from places with different expectations.
As we review who we are and how we make a team, I've had to do some reflection and honesty with my views on monogamy. My personal feeling has always been that it doesn't really work and that the societal expectation pretty much sets folks up for failure. Life is too short not to give and receive love. As we grow and flow through life, things change, as do relationships.
In the course of discussion, I've realized that I do not particularly believe in monogamy. However I do believe a hell of a lot in respect, honesty and transparency. I adore my partner and we have always been very close. I am a confident woman and we've always had lots of male friends around us, as well as my girlfriends. Neither my husband or I are big casual acquaintance types, instead we strive for meaningful, long term friendships. The devil in the details is that my husband is not a big communicator (although he is learning, and has changed so much, in a good way!) and always assumed we'd have sexual monogamy in our relationship. I feel I've always been pretty clear I that I don't think it works- although we have never had the 'what are we' discussion. It turns out he's assumed one thing and I another. We are working hard to get rid of the military 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in our household!
I don't want to be the bad wife who has affairs, so that means I need to be honest. As we go through relationship books, it is so black and white, some good points about priorities but not really me, or even us. Looking for something that agrees more with my worldviews has led me here.