Marriage With Cheating: The New Monogamy?

Marriage With Cheating: The New Monogamy?
THE cover story of the November 21 issue of New York magazine is about “Sex: The State of Play.” The cover photo shows a pile of naked men and women, hugging and kissing each other. One of the articles in the cover package, “The New Rule of Cheating: Marriage With Benefits,” I found particularly interesting. The article is about the growing number of straight couples who have chosen to take a leaf from the love lives of gay couples, and admit that strict monogamy is not possible in long-term relationships, nor necessarily that healthy.
These couples are quoted as basically saying that they either allow each other to flirt with someone else, with some even allowing their partner to have sex with someone else! They say that as long as their partner loves only them, it is okay for them to have fun and play with other people.
To read the article online, click here.
Here are some of the various relationship variances as defined by New York magazine:

1. Above the waist rule: An agreement that any touching above the beltline is fair game.

2. Body-fluid monogamy: When a couple forgoes the latex with each other but requires it for all outside sexual activity.

3. Cheating: Secret, extracurricular romantic and/or sexual activity that breaks the rules. So nineties. So lame.

4. Closed relationship: How some people in open relationships refer to “old-fashioned” monogamy.

5. Don’t ask, don’t tell: A policy whereby people in a committed relationship may screw around, so long as they are discreet.

6. Fifty-mile rule: You don’t sleep with anyone who lives in your city.

7. Physical monogamy: You can look, fantasize, and engage in dirty talk — but no touching.

8. Work boyfriend/girlfriend: A colleague – your lunchmate, IM partner, smoking buddy, etc. No sex, though.

Since I tend to be jealous, I personally don’t believe in open relationships, though I do think that strict monogamy can be stifling for many people. Communication is the key for any healthy relationship. What do you think? Comments, please!

Comments (7)

  • Dotsson

    What a bunch of bull!!! I think this is just a lame attempt by the magazine to get people to read. If you marry someone, it isn’t just about their body but their mind and who they are… how can you go around and sleep with other people and then come home and pretend that everything is ok?
    Aren’t there other things other than sex in a relationship?

  • dodong

    There was an article that points to society going towards permissiveness particularly the west. Old folks like us may not even aware about the change. But there is survey that indicates a general trend of sexual preference in the new generations. Threesome is on the top of the list. Western teens are talking about it, whether we like it or not. The article suggested that this could have been the result of information technology (easy access to information globally) and consumerism (ads catering to desirability).

  • Kiss My Mike

    I can’t speak much for straigh relationships, but I can say how an open relationship is predominant among gay couples.

    Personally, I believe that it’s hard to treat relationships in a black and white context. I think there are gray areas that some people refuse to access.

    There is also no right or wrong formula as everything depends on the two people involved and how they came to an agreement e.g. the variances that were highlighted in the article.

    The best way to find out is through an open communication.

  • Anonymous

    until last night, i was in an open relationship with a woman. she is recently divorced (i may have had something to do with that…) and she is not ready for a serious relationship. i told her i wasn’t going to wait around, but continuing our friendship and sex was fine by me, as long as i was free and she was free. she seemed ok with that. this happened earlier this month.
    last night, my ex was in town and we had sex. my divorcee calls me up, cursing me and telling me that “we will never be together and you will never touch me again.” apparantly, she thought we were in a committed relationship. she’s the one who said we couldn’t do that now, she’s the one who said i should see other women, she’s the one who wanted to see other people at all. as soon as i go and do as she says i should, she hates me… what’s up with that?

  • Anonymous

    It seems to me that the “New Monogamy” looks an awful lot like the old adultery. Even if your spouse openly admits that they’re committing adultery, their reasons for wanting to have an affair are the same as they’ve always been. They don’t feel fulfilled in the marriage. They’re basically announcing to their spouse, “You’re not enough to make me happy, and sometimes I’d rather be with someone else,” which is really insulting if you think about it. I believe that open marriages basically fall into two categories. The first is comprised of people who would just prefer to behave as though they’re not married at all. They’re not in love, so their marriage is just an extension of their singlehood, and not really a marriage in any way. The second group is made up of couples who want to stray, but are so insecure about losing their spouse that they draw up a byzantine series of rules to try and prevent each other from falling in love with someone else. (“You can only fool around with someone else on Wednesdays, when I’m out of town, above the waist, between 1 and 3:30 PM……in a cave that you can only get to at low tide!”) It all seems so high school! (“I said I’d go out with Tommy, but that’s only because he has a cool car, but then Britney said that Tommy’s her ex, but, like, that should be totally cool because I set her up last semester with my friend Steve…..”) The hilarious thing is that these couples often congratulate each other on how they are too evolved to be oppressed by “society’s rules,” and then proceed to invent a tangle of rules to rival the U.S. tax code. Let’s face it; if you really need all these rules to prevent your spouse from straying too far away, then that’s essentially an admission that you don’t trust your spouse or your spouse’s love for you. And if that’s the case, then you can have all the rules in the world, and it won’t matter. Emotionally speaking, your spouse is already gone.

    Mark Workhoven

  • Gaby

    I’m actually writing a paper on Milan Kundera’s novel The Book of Laughter and Forgetting(published in 1979)…my english professor said we could write our reasearch paper on any topic in the novel that caught our attention…in part two of the novel Kundera depicts the marriage of two individuals who have agreed on an open relationship…the agreement is that the man can sleep around and the woman will remain the good one to which she can endlessly be mad at him and he will feel guilty…In this Kundera is showing the downfall of the marriage institution to which the world is allowing…this couple ends up being completley unhappy with eachother because although they are being honest with eachother and agreeing to their “new” marriage bounderies they both feel like they can never make the other trully happy…the man because the guilt of seeing his wife suffer due to his womanizing ways, and her because she can never trully understand why this man who claims to love her needs to sleep around with other woman…true she is the one that he comes home to everynight, she is the mother of his children, and she, like he tells all his mistresses is the one he loves and spends holidays with… but when it comes down to it she is always thinking about these other girls…does he like them more than me… why dose he take them here and give them gifts and not to me…or if not it is the mistreses themselves who are jelouse of the “wife”. But how can you say you love someone if you cannot completely give your self to them and them alone…in the “new monogamy” all youre doing is an insurance agreement…I think youll give me the cutest kids, and youll be a good mother/father to my kids…so why dont we sign an agreement that we’ll have the same last name live together and have kids…yes you deffinatley feel special – someone liked you enough to leave you their inheritance and be a parent to their kids- but they dont love you- because if they loved you then they wouldnt want to be with anyone else…what the new monogamy marriage is, is an economic agreement that says hey we trust in each other financially, and thats about it…So for those that have this open marriage I pity the fact that you never gave yourself the oppurtunity to find someone that REALLY loved you, enough not have to sleep with anyone else on any other day of the week or no matter how far away from home… marriage isnt about trusting eachother finacially its about the heart and knowing that to one person in this world you are sooo special that they cant think of being with anyone else. I believe marriage is not longer about love, if it was anyways. If you would like to read more about this, heres a good article by Lynn Jamieson http://www.crfr.ac.uk/Reports/ljnonmonpdf.pdf , and a very god essay by Emma Goldman titled Love and Marriage is also really good and stating what the institution of marriage has become. I really feel bad for the generation who will be seeing this open marriages as a marriage…I deff dont want my children to see that as normal, it is just sadly an evolution of a concept that was once pure…the sad part is that i know it will come a time where these open terms will be just as common s pre marital sex is to us now. Those that wait till marriage are considered odd – religious freaks even – and as I tried to explain to my parents this – the only thing they could tell me was that in their generation virginity was something special – and it has deffinantley lost its appreciation. As I see it marriage for love seems to be arriving to its end – it is now just a necessary means to claim adulthood simply just a way to say hey look at me I wa lucky enough to find someone to want to live with me and claim my last name (for men) or to give me their last name (for woman)much like men these days feel fulfilled each time they find a girl to sleep with them. These our sour days for morallity. When it comes down to it we are a product of our upbringing…all I can say is that my children will not grow in an open relationship, it will be up to them to believe in marriage for love, or just financial stability…

    Have a great day
    – Gaby

  • Anonymous

    Maybe, it’s not for you. The only person that can make you happy is you, too put all that pressure on your spouse to make you happy isn’t fair. Love isn’t sex, it’s love. So sex with someone who you are not in love with is just sex. An open relationship is just that open. It doesn’t mean that someone has to cry or get hurt. Open communication is the most important aspect.

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