Monday, November 24, 2008

Relationship beliefs

I have an underlying belief that I need to admit to myself:

I'm convinced that all men cheat.


Actually, I'm pretty darn convinced that all women will more than likely cheat too.


My grandfather cheated on my grandmother. My mom cheated on my dad. My dad cheated on my mom. I cheated on my husband. He cheated on me.

I can even think of at least 3 married men, off the top of my head, that are have recently expressed interest in having sex with me! Sheesh.

Is monogamy even attainable or is it just one of those fantastic beliefs that I need to let go of?


The book that I am reading
is asking me to reexamine my beliefs about men, love and relationships. She goes on about my relationship with my father (which I have examined for many years) and then about my expectations of relationships.

I know that if I go into another relationship with this belief, I know it is what I will find. A self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will. Hmmmm.... how to let this go?

The thing is, I am not really even surprised if it happens. It seems so obvious to me that monogamy doesn't last long.


I remember when my innocence about this topic was shattered. I was 6, maybe 7, and being quite the intuitive child like my Rose, I knew about my mother's affair with my father's best friend before she began taking me on outings with him. I can still remember how he looked at her behind my dad's back.... I knew it wasn't right.

Soldier and I had this conversation last fall. He was apologizing for being so cynical about relationships surviving a deployment.

"That's ok," I told him, "If I were to show you all of my cynicism... I would fully expect that you will cheat on me."

He looked surprised. And that's when we had the discussion about what would happen should I or he be approached during the deployment for sex. I didn't promise him I wouldn't partake. And I knew he most certainly would since he would have been denied for so long. Maybe that's why I didn't react when he admitted to me that he would be looking to have sex with many different women upon his return from Iraq.

Maybe I've convinced myself that I have to be open to it. Open to the possibility of the man I'm with not being true to me. Then there's the possibility that I may not be true either. Maybe it allows me to not fully commit. If I don't fully commit, then maybe it won't hurt so bad?

Maybe that's why I'm so intrigued with this (something the ex and I discussed as well) and this and I could totally see this and I've already delved into this. Maybe if I'm open-minded to it, maybe it won't seem so intriguing to the man I'm with. Or maybe it will and he'll be honest with me about it and share it with me, should the need arise? And I could have some extra fun too?

Maybe?

Then I'm torn because I'm also a mother to two little girls. I want them to have a healthy male role model in their lives. One who is physically present... not just one night a week and every other weekend. I think that maybe sometimes I do want to get married and have a normal husband/wife life again.

Was my married life normal? He was gone all the time and I was... lonely.


I went out with a guy once, an old friend, who openly admitted to me that he didn't believe in monogamy. I thought I agreed with him. By the end of the date, however, I admitted to myself that perhaps I should look for someone who at least believes in it. At least then, I'd know he'd give it the ol' college try. That guy I went out with? We only went on one date as he was eying up other girls right in front of me all night.

*sigh*

I don't think my grandfather, mom, dad, or my husband went out looking for another relationship or affair. I know from personal experience that I didn't. Temptation was there and... my relationship was in such a state that my resistance to it was... not strong enough. I did believe in monogamy at that point. And my husband during his affair? He couldn't handle how he felt about himself during and after his affair. So, he believed in it as well. Soldier? I think he's just damn scared of a true relationship. I don't think he trusts that he's worth it at all.

Which begs the question:

I wonder if my belief goes deeper. Maybe I have a belief in not being good enough or satisfactory enough and so... I have to try to be open to being everything instead? Could I let that go?

And would I be satisfied in a monogamous relationship if I stopped believing that the man I was with should be my everything?

Perhaps I should try to be everything to myself first.

There is more work to be done with this belief. I need to decide what it is I truly want.

I'm a kinky girl, I'll admit it. But hmmm.....Further examinations and realizations to follow, I'm sure.

19 comments:

  1. hmmmmmmmm

    Well I have never cheated since married. since 96, has she? I dunno.
    I think the hang up is the difference between the views on the relationship between sex and love.

    Sex is a physical activity, like tennis. Obviously there is more to it but in its purest form its just two (or more) folks together (and I always try to make it an athletic competition of speed and endurance, with a lot of strength added)
    So if it is seen as just an activty then it wouldn't be such a bad thing huh? (he writes while looking over his shoulder so as not to get busted by the bride!!)
    she doesn't see it that way.

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  2. I think it starts with do you think your worthy enough for it? Yes you do have some pretty poor role models, but it's your choice to follow that path. If you think your worth monogamy you'll start to attract me that will be monogamous with you.

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  3. I have never cheated on anyone or been cheated on (to my knowledge). But none of my family members (parents included cheated) - so I think it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I guess cheating - in my mind - isn't an option. To me it seems easier to just dump the person before going that far... especially when children are involved.

    Good luck burying this.

    Now, as to whether monogomous relationships are human nature - I am completely unsure on that one.

    Don't settle though to this idea that the man you want to be with will ultimately cheat on you - again, if you are going to bother with a relationship it damn well better be a good one - that IS monogamous.

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  4. I don't expect people to cheat but I do expect them to find others attractive. For me the cheating comes when the dishonesty about this begins. I suppose I believe that if people talk about their thoughts the cheating doesn't happen! Naive? At the end, the lie is cheating - the act is not (for me)

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  5. Well I have been cheated on in every relationship. And recently found out that my Dad stole some of my ex-husband's porn and is seriously into recreational stuff (damn bipolar sex addicts!). Now my heart is kind of broken and I am in a hypersexual phase, finding myself open to all sorts of things I may not have been before. I've had sex with a married man (separated), several (protected!) one-night stands while seeing a guy regularly. That said, I don't think I could do an open marriage. If I get married again, I'd like to believe that my husband would be able to find everything he wanted with me. I am open to pretty much anything and I'd want him to be honest with me. I'm too insecure to be content with my significant other going elsewhere. It would hurt too much, I think, even if I said I was up for it.

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  6. Oh my, my...Do you have three days to discuss this with me?

    I can totally relate to this post and your feelings.

    I think monogamy is possible and that I am deserving of it...but do I actually want it?

    I tend to lean with the "variety is the spice of life" theory but I don't have 2 girls to set an example for either.

    There are so many variables in the situations you mentioned. I want to be able to trust men and normally do until they prove otherwise but let's just say I am on "alert" and try to stay fully aware of my surroundings. I can tell when people have the hots for each other...its undeniable. Nah.....I don't trust em!

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  7. I'm not sure how I found your blog..but, I was right were you are. I was cheated on. And it hurt like hell. It has taken me almost 4 years to trust again. And sometimes I still have those thoughts in the back of my head. (will he cheat too?) But, I can't have a trusting relationship and give my all. Right? I guess I would rather go through that pain again then lose a chance on a great love. Give yourself time....it'll happen when it's suppose to.

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  8. Can we meet and talk about this on my next trip to Texas?

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  9. Mike hit it on the head - well for me anyway!Its about your own self worth!

    I have yet to be in a relationship where I can be faithful! From my very first boyfriend!!

    Its why, right now, I am happy with the way things are. I have no ties to anyone!So while I try work through it noone gets hurt!!!

    I do think that men are capable of being faithful though! There are a few good ones out there who do beleive in it!

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  10. its a touchy topic but an interesting one and one that I am grappling with at the moment,I feel like I am between the devil and the deep blue sea I really took a lot from your blog looking at it from the female perspective I also wonder about my worth when I look at myself in the mirror,I am full of self doubt because I don't like what I see.

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  11. I think there are plenty of adults in the world who don't cheat, men and women. Respect, trust, love, compassion, connection, ... there are lots of things at play.

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  12. > The thing is, I am not really even surprised if it happens. It seems so obvious to me that monogamy doesn't last long.

    Monogamy exists. But I suspect that you're operating in a pretty specific subset of society. From what you write and from the comments your writing gathers, I get a picture of a culture and mindset that's drastically and fundamentally different from the culture I grew up in. That's cool; one of the most fascinating things about your blog is the windows it opens into lifestyles and beliefs that are new and intriguing to learn about and try to comprehend. Not because they're so liberal and wild and I'm so stodgy and conservative. :) But rather because you put substance into explaining/excusing/justifying/detailing your viewpoints and opinions. That's awesome; it lets me see how you make the choices you make. I love that insight!

    Anyway, I've seen lots of cheating and I've seen lots of faithfulness. I've never seen cheaters find joy via their excursions, though I've certainly seen and achieved lots of fun that way. The faithful aren't necessarily assured of happiness or anything but they don't have nearly the emotional trauma and moral trauma that the cheaters go through. I've lived through both roles, myself, and I'm a huge fan of being faithful rather than cheating.

    Oddly, I don't much care about my partners' fidelity much... if she wants to cheat it'll certainly hamper our intimacy; everything I've ever learned about human romance indicates that is not divisible by more than 2. I know; there are abundant protests to the contrary and I've earnestly investigated them many times and I've still never found anything that really supports long-term benefits of open relationships. The articles T quoted were fascinating! But they were heavily biased and they slanted things toward the viewpoint that the authors obviously subscribed to.

    But I don't really feel all that upset or wounded by partners who cheat, other than feeling sad that it's hampering our relationship. Primarily via deception.

    My best friend ever was an open-relationship kind of girl. It didn't really bother me at all 'cause there wasn't any need for deception. She'd tell me all about her latest puppy and we'd talk about stuff like that for hours. But I was careful never to fall in love with her, because she wasn't really capable of intimacy.

    Anyway, I'm against cheating 'cause it rips my soul apart and sows misery for me and others. So it's primarily a selfish reason.

    > I think that maybe sometimes I do want to get married and have a normal husband/wife life again.

    I'd suggest sowing lots more wild oats first; it doesn't sound like you're looking to be monogamous anytime soon and that means it's probably a lousy idea to try it. And monogamy is a core part of the normal husband/wife life. Unless you mean a polyamorous husband/wife life... which I'd encourage you not to delve into simply 'cause experiments like that can have devastating effects on the kids who have to deal with the ramifications of choices that they're way to young to make even if they are consulted.

    > Perhaps I should try to be everything to myself first.

    I'm a big fan of this. Thumbs-up. :)

    > Sex is a physical activity, like tennis.

    It certainly can be distilled to that. So can childbirth, kissing, holding hands, and saying "I do". But those are just the shells; the true value of these things goes ever-so-much more deeper than "physical activity".

    What an interesting post. Thanks T! :)

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  13. Wow, T., not sure where to begin on this...

    You make some very poignant observations and the responses from others seem to bear the conflict in the topic.

    I guess it boils down to a couple of elements. Since I've been on both ends of infidelity in my first marriage and have had no predilection or inclination toward cheating in my second; I suppose that arguments for both sides can be made. Finding physical intimacy (or any kind of intimacy for that matter...) in a person while supposedly committed to another is rooted in the cliche that there is somethng missing in the marriage/relationship. I do believe that monogamy exists if both want monogamy AND both are "getting what they need" from the relationship. While sex is not always about intimacy, it certainly is under most circumstances. In my case, I was not (and apparently neither was she) receiving the level of intimacy (mental, emotional AND physical...) that I needed. I sought it elsewhere. I have found in my present relationship an overwhelming level of mental, emotional and physical intimacy. Probably to the extent that it is more than I really need. That said, After knowing my wife as a friend for 24 years and having been in a committed relationship with her for almost 5, I believe I have achieved "monogamy".

    I can certainly sympathize and even empathize with all of those who feel the need to stray for whatever reason they so choose. People are unfaithful because they either want to cheat or they are driven to do so because of their internal needs that cannot be controlled by conventional relationship wisdom. However, I can offer the observation that monogamy does exist, but in this day and age, it requires all of the stars and planets to be aligned and two very strong willed people to attain it.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to offer my thoughts.

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  14. This definitely resonates with me. I fear so much relationships unless I am addicted somehow. the only thing that seems to quell the fear that I may lose feelings and someday be tempted to cheat. The problem with the feeling of addiction is typically borne from a neurosis and is the unhealthy relationship for me.

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  15. My hubby and I have been married 8 yrs. He is in the military and has been gone a lot. When we first met, he was in the final stages of getting over his ex-fiancee who cheated on him while he was deployed. My hubby and I didn't know each other very long before we got married but we were both drawn to each other. We hadn't been married a year yet when he got orders for a 1 yr tour in Korea. At the same time we found out he had orders, we also found out I was pregnant with our oldest son. The korea tour is known as "death to marriages" because a lot of marriages get screwed up because the men or women choose to cheat over there. Sex is rampant there. Anyways, my hubby left for his 1 yr tour when our oldest was 5 weeks old. It was a very tough year for both of us. My hubby had plenty of opportunity to cheat on me, heck I even gave him permission one night but he didn't do it. We spent that year, building our relationship and making it stronger because we were true to each other. Now that we have been married for like I said 8 yrs we have been through many trips that he has had to go on for his job. There is one thing my hubby knows and that is that I am still head over heels in love with him. Anyways I guess the point of my comment is that monogamy does exist. I think it just depends on the person.

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  16. I'm going to chime in on this coming from the cheating end of the spectrum. Whether monogamy is natural or not, well, I think there's ample biological evidence to support that it's not. However, we do a lot of things within our societal constructs that aren't natural, and we get along just fine.

    I do think that monogamy is attainable, but it takes the consistent and continual fulfillment of a certain subset of needs--different for each person. Without that, we go seeking something.

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  17. I think the problem is that we do not value relationships or each other anymore.

    The rate of divorce is like 55%, you more likely to get divorced than stay married. WTF? Granted, most divorce is for financial reasons, but adultery is second. In the military, we have a 65% divorce rate, 85% is due to adultery. What does that tell you? Separation is a major causing factor.

    In my opinion, I think the major issue is that we do not look at sex like we used to. Sex used to be something that was shared between two people. Now it is just something to do on weekends when your bored. Having a large number of partners is no big deal anymore. It is just sex, right?

    I will say. I think EVERYONE, has either cheated or been cheated on. Breaking up, sleeping with someone else, then getting back together is still cheating. We don't see it, because we don't want to. It is a fact of life.

    Do I believe it is possible to have a monogamous relationship? Yes, I do. But I do not think it can happen until we learn to stop being so self centered and learn to value our partners.

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  18. I have a lot of thoughts on this but not enough time to elaborate. Great blog and very thoughtful. I get you T. I dont know how you found my blog, but we have a pretty mirrored life in many ways.

    I love your writing.

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  19. " ... And would I be satisfied in a monogamous relationship if I stopped believing that the man I was with should be my everything?"

    Smart woman, who knows to be careful of what she wishes ...

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