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Marriage, Monogamy, and Infidelity: 7 Varieties of Secretly Non-monogamous Marriage Partners

Updated on January 12, 2010

A happy, monogamous, life-long, traditional marriage is almost universally desired, yet has been proven time and time again through high divorce and infidelity rates and legions of unhappy couples to be, in most cases, an idealistic, unrealistic notion trumped by the reality of human nature.

Married and happy? Consider yourself fortunate. Married and unhappy? We have compassion for you. Married and cheating? It’s your life and we won’t judge, but you may want to consider the karmic consequences (even if you don’t get caught).

Through work involving personality and cyclical timing assessment, intuitive consulting, and matchmaking, we’ve become familiar with 10 main groups of married people:

1. Those who have never strayed and are faithfully devoted to their long-term marriage partner. Typically, this group consists of 3 separate categories:

a. Together, they are part of a set that makes up roughly 5% of the married population—both partners in this bond enjoy that rare, life-long, mutually satisfying monogamous connection. Even more rare is the male who has no desire to be with anyone else--for his entire life.

b. This next couple isn’t sexually active any longer and may have developed a knack for denying their sexual urges, lost interest in sex altogether (which is atypical, and could be a health problem or another unresolved issue), or replaced their sex drive with one or more compulsions involving food, shopping, gambling, or medication.

c. In their insistence on striving to live the fantasy of a picture perfect, traditional marriage, one spouse completely overlooks the fact that their partner is having wild sex with neighbors and coworkers.

2. Those who are terrified of losing their spouse (and, or children and, or half of their assets) and having to endure a “failed marriage,” yet can’t shake the powerful, persistent urge (which is natural) to get involved with someone other than their spouse. They haven’t physically cheated, but are consumed with regular fantasies of doing so. They may (e.g., their partner refuses to have sex) or may not have valid reasons to seek love or lust outside of their marriage.

3. Those who avoid sexual affairs, but carry on emotionally intimate relationships with people other than their spouse.

4. Those who cheated once, admitted it to their spouse, and never did it again, thus far.

5. Those who say they would never cheat, condemn those who do, yet after a few drinks on a girls’ or boys’ night out for example, end up having a one night stand, then deny it happened, even to themselves.

6. Those who have a steady, secret lover on the side.

7. Those who have had a few affairs and manage to keep it quiet.

8. Those who believe their romantic cup overfloweth and greet each day with the spirit of a young sailor on shore leave who has been at sea for months. They are skilled at maintaining the outward appearance of a sound marriage, and secretly rooting out new lovers anywhere they go.

9. The happily married couple who has an unspoken agreement to allow each other “breathing room.” But things get complicated when one is blatantly caught in the act of infidelity since both are more comfortable pretending they are exclusively monogamous.

10. The couple who has agreed upon a non-monogamous relationship. They acknowledge their natural desires, thumb their nose at society’s expectations, and encourage each other to explore other love and, or purely physical relationships (safely and responsibly, of course), while creating a surprisingly strong bond due to their honesty and openness.

This type of relationship is gaining in popularity and tends to work best with two people who are secure with themselves, emotionally mature, and value their distinctive connection. They understand that each connection is different and offers unique, valuable lessons and rewards, and they are more aware of the spiritual reasons for their relationship instead of being fixated on the mythical, matrimonial fairytale archetype.

This couple is not “cheating” because they have agreed upon an honest and flexible arrangement. Remember, it’s mainly the dishonesty that breaks up a couple when one has strayed from their strictly monogamous relationship.

It’s important to note that affairs happen whether or not a couple is happily married, and you can fall in love with someone without sleeping with them. Our empirical research shows us that everyone has many soul mates, thus it’s natural to have romantic attraction to multiple people throughout your life, and it’s unreasonable to expect that one person meet all your emotional, physical, and romantic needs.

We’ve also found that you will meet who you’re meant to meet, when you’re meant to meet them, and it will last for as long as it’s meant to last. The rigid rules of marriage fail to lock in happiness forever because they are trumped by the veracity of life.

So how do you avoid these problems? By being brutally honest and realistic with yourself and a partner, before and during a commitment.

Married or not, human nature is what it is. Could it be that someday the institution of marriage, as it is defined today, will be an ancient relic, one that is as shunned as being single is today? Maybe not in the near future, but we do believe later generations will do so and thus enjoy happier love lives.

Copyright © 2010 Scott Petullo, Stephen Petullo

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