Last night, in the IRI Relationship Support Group, two questions came up:
Is monogamy an unrealistic goal for most marriages?
Under the current system of simply “assuming” monogamy, it’s an unrealistic goal for most marriages.
But it’s possible for any marriage to be monogamous IF they recognize the need to deliberately work together to continuously reinforce their commitment through honest discussions about everything – including their attractions to others (which are natural and inevitable) and more importantly, how they will deal with those attractions or temptations.
(People tend to think it’s too risky to discuss such things, but the greater risk is in NOT discussing them, which leaves the fantasies to grow without any offsetting focus on the potential consequences of acting on them.)
And, of course, in order to make monogamy a realistic goal, a couple needs to be informed about the myths (mentioned above) that can undermine their intention and desire to remain monogamous.
Is there a hypocrisy when people talk about affairs?
In other words, people say how horrible it is, yet may also be having affairs.
Yes, there is a hypocrisy, but even those being hypocritical don’t always recognize it. Since most genuinely “believe in” monogamy, even those who have had affairs may talk disparagingly about others similarly engaged. That’s because almost everyone involved in affairs uses a great deal of denial and rationalization in understanding/explaining their OWN situation.
There is also a great hypocrisy among those who have NOT been the ones having affairs. They say affairs are horrible, but inadvertently support affairs through their participation in all of the “societal factors” that I wrote about in response to the first question.
NOTE: Even the most pure, religious, “good” people (who might say they don’t contribute to any of the “societal factors” mentioned above) have inevitably made a huge contribution to undermining monogamy by virtue of their failure as parents to talk openly and honestly with their children about sex as they were growing up. Due to this lack, kids learn that “sex and secrecy” go hand-in-hand. They learn to be deceptive and to hide their sexual activities from their parents. Then as adults, when they’re married and tempted to have affairs, they simply continue the pattern of deception learned while growing up. They act on their desires and pretend to their spouse (just as they did to their parents) that they’re not. So no one is exempt from the responsibility for contributing to affairs.
DBA, MBA, BBSc, MPsych (Clin)