In the second installment in our new advice column, the Guides address open relationships vs. exclusivity—just in time for Valentine’s Day!
I have a question about monogamy versus polyamory. I see a lot of articles in the media on polyamory and open relationship and it seems to me that it is becoming in vogue again, kind of like in the Sixties, and that many people are experimenting with new ways of being in relationships. I am wondering what is happening when you are not exclusive in your love relationship, and if it is possible to maintain deep intimacy or if the relationships get watered down by having multiple partners.
Many people are cheating on each other anyway and so allowing affairs can seem like a protection in a way. And yet so many still want monogamy and hold on to the idea of exclusivity and dream of “the one and only.”
Finally, what do you do if one partner wants monogamy and the other doesn’t? I would love to hear what the guides have to say about this topic.
The Guides respond:
In a sense, love on the human plane is like a playground. There is a lot of freedom. Freedom to choose, freedom to experiment. And like a playground, there is the risk of getting hurt. One may stretch too far or overestimate his or her limits or abilities, and there will be a consequence. One may fall down. One may end up injured. One may then look at the playground differently next time, may say, I’m not going to try that again.
So we would counsel you to be objective in terms of what each one chooses and why, what each one may be learning and how. There are easier and harder ways to learn, and each soul makes his or her own path. This is not just true in relationship, but it is especially true in relationship.
So, your way and another’s may be different. Your way and another’s may be compatible or they may not. The question is, what’s right for you? If you are monogamous and your partner is not, you may have a problem. It doesn’t matter what is “right” in an objective sense. What matters is that your boundaries are likely to be violated. If you are willing to give of yourself exclusively and another is not, that is a recipe for injury. Why would you give fully of yourself to someone who is not willing to give fully to you? It is a choice you can make, but the question is, how does it feel? Does it feel good? Is it what you want? Are you willing to ask for what you want? These are the questions that matter, because these are the questions that will lead to growth.
Now, can a person remain deeply intimate with another while in an open relationship? Yes and no. The intimacy there is likely to include all the feelings provoked by the other connections the person has. So that is a sort of intimacy, in a sense. The intimacy to feel rage or jealousy or desire or whatever other feelings must also be present when there is more than one romantic connection. This is a kind of intimacy, but it is much more difficult than the “simple” intimacy between two people, which we know is not actually simple at all. Either way you will grow. It is simply a matter of how.
As always, there is no “right” or “wrong.” Everything is of God. But not everything is of you, or for you. That is to say, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or believes or values or does. What matters is what you want, what you are willing to say yes to, what you know in your heart is best for you. Go deep into yourself and ask yourself what’s true for you, and listen to the answer.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, reflections, and comments! Leave a comment below or on my Big Picture Guidance Facebook page!
And on this upcoming Valentine’s Day, may you know yourself as Beloved no matter what!