Tuesday, August 29, 2006

An excerpt from a great book

Here's an interesting except from a book I'm reading called The New Intimacy:

I didn't plan on having an open-ended marriage. It simply began to develop that way when I discovered my husband loves other women besides me; that he's not monogamous in a traditional way. This realization freed me from the obscenity of possessiveness. Some of my extra-marital relationships have been fruitful to me and I'm less naively open with others, but no less free. I do wonder about the future--there's a measure of risk and uncertainty in the way we've now chose, but I'm learning not to be afraid to be a person, a woman with worthwhile contributions to make to human society. As a matter of fact, there's a continual excitement about our marital relationship and mutual growing--anything else would be emotional death for us.

We are not advocating an end to marriage or to the family, nor are we claiming that marriage is without great worth. On the contrary, a healthy marriage is the source of immense joy and fulfillment when it provides a context for human growth, strength, and freedom; when it sustains separateness as well as mutuality; uniqueness and privacy as well as community and sharing.

Marriage requires more than romantic love and good sex, as delightful and important as they are. It requires self-actualizing persons who have direction and purpose in life, who can function creatively under the tension between commitment and freedom.

Traditional monogamy however, no longer provides for mutual self-realization. We consider traditional monogamy, with it's rigid requirement for exclusive devotion and affection, even though hallowed by the theological concept of fidelity, to be culturally approved mass neurosis.....What we emphatically reject, however, is our society's sanction of this marital model as normative and supreme. We believe all civic and constitutional rights should be extended to personal lifestyles. We prefer a model of monogamy which celebrates co-marital intimacy and does not equate fidelity with sexual exclusiveness. For too long, traditional moralists have been passively allowed to pre-empt other conscientious lifestyles by propagating the unproven assumptions that we cannot love more than one person (of the opposite sex) concurrently; and that co-marital or extramarital sex always destroys marriage; that "good" marriages are totally self contained and self-restrictive and sufficient; that only emotionally unstable people seek and need intimate relationships outside the husband-wife bond. We repudiate thse assumptions and consider them half-truths at best. When these assumptions are dogmatically upheld by society as eternal truths we consider the phenomenon to be a cultural neurosis in the sense that the issue is predetermined, all non-conformists are castigated, and there is no openness to new experience in new contexts.

Within [open ended marriages] the possibility of adultery is totally absent because exclusion, possessiveness, and jealousy have no place in the relationship. "Adultery" is a theological judgement which can apply only to the restrictive type of convenant. When one partner breaks the vow of "to thee only do I promise to keep myself," a relationship of trust is broken and he or she is unfaithful But it's also possible to create a model of marriage--a covenant--monogamous in the sense that it's based upon an intended lifetime committement between two, but which nevertheless is open-ended because it does not exclude the freedom to have any number of intimate relationships with others.

The open-ended marriage is certainly monogamous--a primary one to one relationship based on mutual commitment and intended to last a lifetime. In this sense it's quite conventional.

What a new model of open-ended marriage seeks to promote is risk-taking in trust; the warmth of loving without anxiety; the extension of affection; the excitement and pleasure of knowing sensuously a variety of other persons; the enrichment which personalities can contribute to one another; the joy of being fully alive in every encounter.

****our journey has more to it than just sexual boredom between two monogamous partners.....we aren't merely looking for is a quick fuck with a stranger. I think we have unlimited capacity to love other people and shouldn't have to feel restricted in who we choose to love, provided our partner (our PRIMARY partner) is in agreement. I don't want to have sex with strangers, but with those I have some connection with. I'm not overly concerned about falling in love with someone, because I know how to separate sex and love. Besides, I don't think that all feelings of love and intimacy automatically develop into thoughts of marriage and threaten your primary relationship.


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