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"Emotional Monogamy" - how does it work?

Posted by done_with_wondering on Fri 17 Feb 2012 to the SM/Bondage/Fetish web board

From another thread:

Juantastic wrote:

...

One thing that I think is key to both is agreeing to the sexual promiscuity but establishing the expectation of emotional monogamy.

...

We made a commitment of emotional monogamy to each other ...

(The context was swinging and cuckoldry)

Would anyone like to explain what they might mean by "emotional monogamy"? As humans we have a whole range of emotions, some predictable, some unpredictable, in all sorts of different company. Does EM mean you make efforts to avoid experiencing certain sorts of emotions to a certain level except when your only companion is your spouse / primary partner? How does this work out in practice?

By the way, I'm asking because I'm genuinely curious; not trying to make a point. I've had a quick Google and haven't found much consensus on what it means, nor a clear definition.

"Wisdom begins in wonder” (Socrates)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" (Albert Einstein)

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/226772/

Reply by Souci_X on Fri 17 Feb 2012

I would have thought it was making the difference between physical and mental so though you may be fucking other people you aren't loving other people.

I guess its hard in practice because emotions are one thing that we seem to have little practical control of, I suppose not getting into a position or situation where dramatic emotions are possible to flourish.

Personally I think love is a little more complicated.

Reply by foxycherry on Fri 17 Feb 2012

Souci_X wrote:
I would have thought it was making the difference between physical and mental so though you may be fucking other people you aren't loving other people.

I guess its hard in practice because emotions are one thing that we seem to have little practical control of, I suppose not getting into a position or situation where dramatic emotions are possible to flourish.

Personally I think love is a little more complicated.

Would agree with this ^^^.

The level at which your playing/screwing others is one thing, that of course is agreed between you. However, it doesnt go beyond this. It is just physical.

Again agree that when emotions are involved it can get very messy, as we arent always in control of them. Just sometimes, the grass is always greener.

Reply by juantastic on Fri 17 Feb 2012

As the person who used the phrase in the cuckolding thread, I would describe 'emotional monogamy' as an agreement not to fall in love with anyone else. But then you end up trying to define 'love', so perhaps it's best to look at it as an agreement not to become involved with someone else to a degree that will threaten the continuation of the existing relationship.

It doesn't mean that you can't have feelings for other people, simply that you should be wary of feelings turning into attachments. Your life partner should always comes first, and if it comes to one of those "It's them or me" situations, there should never be any doubt in which direction the axe will fall.

Reply by tallulahme on Fri 17 Feb 2012

foxycherry wrote:
Souci_X wrote:
I would have thought it was making the difference between physical and mental so though you may be fucking other people you aren't loving other people.

I guess its hard in practice because emotions are one thing that we seem to have little practical control of, I suppose not getting into a position or situation where dramatic emotions are possible to flourish.

Personally I think love is a little more complicated.

Would agree with this ^^^.

The level at which your playing/screwing others is one thing, that of course is agreed between you. However, it doesnt go beyond this. It is just physical.

Again agree that when emotions are involved it can get very messy, as we arent always in control of them. Just sometimes, the grass is always greener.

I.e playing with fire...

Putting yourself in a position to sniff the grass, eat the grass, chew the cud, and decide if the grass is greener, with definitive knowledge that it is or isn't!

Reply by done_with_wondering on Fri 17 Feb 2012

Juantastic wrote:
As the person who used the phrase in the cuckolding thread, I would describe 'emotional monogamy' as an agreement not to fall in love with anyone else. But then you end up trying to define 'love', so perhaps it's best to look at it as an agreement not to become involved with someone else to a degree that will threaten the continuation of the existing relationship.

It doesn't mean that you can't have feelings for other people, simply that you should be wary of feelings turning into attachments. Your life partner should always comes first, and if it comes to one of those "It's them or me" situations, there should never be any doubt in which direction the axe will fall.

Thanks - that's a helpful clarification. I think similarly but not quite the same. We can have all sorts of "attachments" of varying strengths, to organisations, individuals, leisure and work activities etc. The one area in which I think my "monogamy" is unwavering is in my ultimate commitment, care and concern. Lifestyle and practices and relationships with others may come and go, but I intend that there will only be the one relationship which is "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health ... till death us do part", and for which I would give up all other manner of commitments and interests and activities.

Thanks for other comments too. I do agree that it can be playing with fire ... but some people seem to manage it pretty well and have lots of fun.

"Wisdom begins in wonder” (Socrates)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" (Albert Einstein)

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/226772/

Reply by mia on Fri 17 Feb 2012

I see the term to mean one is having a relationship with a person (or group of people) and may with their (and others involved) consent and knowledge have play or sex outside of this, but that the play or sex outside of this is not leading to any sort of relationship.

x

Now where were we? Ah, yes - abject humiliation!

@Modified_Bodies

@O_and_P

@LGB_Forum

@Globetrotters

Reply by done_with_wondering on Fri 17 Feb 2012

mia wrote:
I see the term to mean one is having a relationship with a person (or group of people) and may with their (and others involved) consent and knowledge have play or sex outside of this, but that the play or sex outside of this is not leading to any sort of relationship.

x

Interesting. So different to the notion of "friends with benefits" in which their is an ongoing friendship-style relationship as well as briefer times of passion (if I understand the term correctly).

I wonder if both terms came from "The ethical slut" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_slut (which was once recommended to me but which I've never read).

"Wisdom begins in wonder” (Socrates)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" (Albert Einstein)

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/226772/

Reply by juantastic on Fri 17 Feb 2012

tallulahme wrote:
foxycherry wrote:
Souci_X wrote:
I would have thought it was making the difference between physical and mental so though you may be fucking other people you aren't loving other people.

I guess its hard in practice because emotions are one thing that we seem to have little practical control of, I suppose not getting into a position or situation where dramatic emotions are possible to flourish.

Personally I think love is a little more complicated.

Would agree with this ^^^.

The level at which your playing/screwing others is one thing, that of course is agreed between you. However, it doesnt go beyond this. It is just physical.

Again agree that when emotions are involved it can get very messy, as we arent always in control of them. Just sometimes, the grass is always greener.

I.e playing with fire...

Putting yourself in a position to sniff the grass, eat the grass, chew the cud, and decide if the grass is greener, with definitive knowledge that it is or isn't!

Surely all it proves is whether or not the new partner is better in bed. The only difference between an open relationship and a closed one is that you are each allowed to have sex with your friends. I would go so far as to say that being in a closed relationship actually increases the risk of a partner straying because they still crave the physical thrill but can't detach the emotional commitment. Furthermore, there's no stress free option for having your cake and eating it - you can cheat and lie to your partner or you can be honest and leave them. Open relationships are definitely only right for people with the correct mindset, but it's all too common for people to condemn them, just because they wouldn't work for them.

I'll be honest. Our sex life was rubbish for many years. With hindsight, and having come to understand myself a lot better, I can see that it was because we are both primarily sexually passive. It takes someone to get the ball rolling. We both built a lot of resentment over our less than fulfilling sex life, and that baggage has now gone. Yes, we play apart, but we also play together better than ever. Having experienced sex with other people (same room swapping with other couples) I have learned a few tricks and can now be quite assertive when the time is right. I also have a much better idea of how to push her buttons. As a couple, we now switch in that regard. Sometimes she is in charge, and sometimes I am.

I'm not saying that we don't still have relationship issues (I think every couple does to some degree) but resentment over sex is no longer one of them. Introducing new sexual partners has done nothing but improve a relationship that was on the brink of divorce two years ago. Entering into a sexually open relationship hasn't destroyed our marriage. If anything, it has saved it.

Reply by done_with_wondering on Fri 17 Feb 2012

Juantastic wrote:
... Entering into a sexually open relationship hasn't destroyed our marriage. If anything, it has saved it.

Fantastic!

I'm still interested in the notion of emotional monogamy though. As I suggested, in the course of life lots of people have emotional attachments of various sorts, even if only to a football club! Does emotional monogamy mean (for you at least) that you avoid letting sexual activity and emotional attachment both apply to the same person?

"Wisdom begins in wonder” (Socrates)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" (Albert Einstein)

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/226772/

Reply by ladydreams on Fri 17 Feb 2012

How on earth can you have emotional monogamy?

We can control our behaviour and what we do but, one thing that is beyond our control is emotions. Unless you turn them off completely within yourself, again not normally under our control but by extrinsic factors.

I could spend my life in this sweet surrender - Aerosmith

Reply by RanDesu on Fri 17 Feb 2012

Do people think that love is a weakness or that it is something in which we are lacking in Polite Society?

Does the signature on the contract make us devoid of all human emotion?

Do we love one and fuck others? Do we love more than one and fuck a few? Do we fuck and make excuses? Does it matter to anyone else who we fuck? Who, indeed, gives a fuck? Does the fucking matter?

Does 'emotional monogamy' just mean that the pair are in love and can accept openness and honesty in their own relationship? That they have the freedom to be free, because they trust each other and how they feel?

Why don't they just say that then?

Love is not a weakness, neither is being honest.

Reply by juantastic on Fri 17 Feb 2012

RanDesu wrote:
Does 'emotional monogamy' just mean that the pair are in love and can accept openness and honesty in their own relationship? That they have the freedom to be free, because they trust each other and how they feel?

Why don't they just say that then?

Love is not a weakness, neither is being honest.

I think this touches on an important point, and perhaps the distinction between loving someone and being in love with them. Yes, there is that openness, and also the trust and that your partner will not 'fall in love' with somebody else.

Of course it's natural to love your friends, but unless you have mutually agreed to a truly polyamorous relationship, I think it's reasonable to expect that you should only be 'in love' with your life partner.

Reply by TheLondoner on Fri 17 Feb 2012

ladydreams wrote:
How on earth can you have emotional monogamy?

We can control our behaviour and what we do but, one thing that is beyond our control is emotions.

I've met, and in a couple of cases still know, people who can do this, male and female, so it's definitely do-able.

Whether it's healthy to do so is another debate.

Reply by Souci_X on Fri 17 Feb 2012

Just want to say something seeing as my quote led on to the whole grass is greener thing, I don't think open relationships are a bad thing at all, I can see the appeal and I think people CAN have sex without emotions getting involved, I just don't think we can always choose for that to happen.

Reply by Alphamale999 on Fri 17 Feb 2012

wonderer wrote:
Juantastic wrote:
... Entering into a sexually open relationship hasn't destroyed our marriage. If anything, it has saved it.

Fantastic!

I'm still interested in the notion of emotional monogamy though. As I suggested, in the course of life lots of people have emotional attachments of various sorts, even if only to a football club! Does emotional monogamy mean (for you at least) that you avoid letting sexual activity and emotional attachment both apply to the same person?

I think your summary is pretty succinct. Emotional monogamy is best defined as avoiding sexual activity and emotional attachment applying to the same person. This is clearly not a universally popular concept, but certainly defines an acceptable definition in some quarters.
Reply by bellamaria on Fri 17 Feb 2012

tallulahme wrote:
foxycherry wrote:
Souci_X wrote:
I would have thought it was making the difference between physical and mental so though you may be fucking other people you aren't loving other people. I guess its hard in practice because emotions are one thing that we seem to have little practical control of, I suppose not getting into a position or situation where dramatic emotions are possible to flourish. Personally I think love is a little more complicated.
Would agree with this ^^^. The level at which your playing/screwing others is one thing, that of course is agreed between you. However, it doesnt go beyond this. It is just physical. Again agree that when emotions are involved it can get very messy, as we arent always in control of them. Just sometimes, the grass is always greener.

I.e playing with fire...

Putting yourself in a position to sniff the grass, eat the grass, chew the cud, and decide if the grass is greener, with definitive knowledge that it is or isn't!

Spot on. It's an excuse, nothing more.

Reply by a_gloomy_kitty on Fri 17 Feb 2012

i find it more unusual to become emotionally attached to people i play/date. so for me i can totally be into one person and care for them, while play/fuck other people and not care about them in the slightest

the problem i have is not everyone is as honest, that they think they have to pretend and promote emotions in order to get the physical.

the key is always comunication.

Reply by A_Poster on Fri 17 Feb 2012

bellamaria wrote:
tallulahme wrote:
foxycherry wrote:
Souci_X wrote:
I would have thought it was making the difference between physical and mental so though you may be fucking other people you aren't loving other people. I guess its hard in practice because emotions are one thing that we seem to have little practical control of, I suppose not getting into a position or situation where dramatic emotions are possible to flourish. Personally I think love is a little more complicated.
Would agree with this ^^^. The level at which your playing/screwing others is one thing, that of course is agreed between you. However, it doesnt go beyond this. It is just physical. Again agree that when emotions are involved it can get very messy, as we arent always in control of them. Just sometimes, the grass is always greener.

I.e playing with fire...

Putting yourself in a position to sniff the grass, eat the grass, chew the cud, and decide if the grass is greener, with definitive knowledge that it is or isn't!

Spot on. It's an excuse, nothing more.

Huh? Whats an excuse, and for what - and why does one need an excuse in an honest relationship?

And all men kill the thing they love, By all let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword!

Reply by foxycherry on Fri 17 Feb 2012

Doesnt emotional monogamy depend on a few fundatmental understandings? Firstly, you have had made a decision that you will be with your partner, that you both feel the same way and that you have a good communication system. Secondly, you have both agreed and understand for whatever reasons, you need/want to play/fuck others. Third, that underneath your reasons, you are both very sure how of you feel. That you both will be able to talk about and have the freedom to express any feelings of jealously.

I have had fb's in the past, but have made sure that they were men that I wouldnt fall for.

I think that if you are sure you can handle this, then there shouldnt be anything to stop you. For me and the grass is greener comment, I think we often put ourselves in positions that can set us on a path to which we dont have any control over. We can't control how we feel or fall for or how these feelings develop.

Emotions are not something anyone has any real control over.

Reply by SubbaBubba on Fri 17 Feb 2012

I used this phrase in my profile when I first wrote it, dunno how long ago now. I'd not seen it elsewhere at that point, and what I meant by it was that I desired one "love" relationship and that we would be primary to each other. For me too, and it doesn't define the term but what I meant by it, I wanted others involved in play in clubs/hotels.. anywhere safe and sane and consensual but not my place or his place. For me, to deal with the emotions involved in sexual or bdsm play with others, more especially watching my man have sex with others, there has to be a firm boundary. It's me he goes home with, it's me he will love. (Hopefully). I have to be number one. It's not negotiable. And having experienced the negative aspects of spending whole weekends with another sub and my ex-boyfriend I know I just can't deal with the jealousy. Or the temptation to fall in love with the other sub...

So I guess it comes to much the same as many others have written. Love's subjective but I want it with one person. I want to be a gang with two members, a secret society a deux, an in crowd of him and me and others can be wonderful, sexy, friends, occasional sexual partners, kinky playmates even... but I wouldn't be able to deal with being told - I love you both the same. Eek. It happened. I know I couldn't...

Reply by juantastic on Fri 17 Feb 2012

Black0rchid wrote:
Juantastic wrote:
I would describe 'emotional monogamy' as an agreement not to fall in love with anyone else.

Can you decide who you fall in love with?

Could you send me the receipe please. xx

But don't you make exactly the same commitment as part of your marriage vows? And isn't it still an unspoken one in an unmarried but long-term relationship?

Yet the possibility still exists that you will make a new friend. That the friendship will grow. That you will ultimately end up preferring to spend the rest of your life with them than with your current partner.

Done right, the only difference between an open and closed relationship is the sex. You're still as free to get close to people emotionally as you would be if you were in a closed relationship, and perhaps 'emotional monogamy' should be considered comparatively. In either case, you try not to cross the line and become too attached or involved. That line just doesn't happen to be defined by sex. At least that's the way that people in open relationships see it.

Obviously, you can never say never, but the trust issue is the same regardless of whether you're in a closed relationship or an open one with the proper understandings in place. And as I said previously, being in an open relationship allows you to take a bite of the cherry every once in a while (or even quite regularly, depending on your arrangement) without having to lie to your partner or give up what you have with them. It lets you scratch the itch and then carry on as before.

For most people, sex is something that they save for the one person that they truly love (okay, they may spread a little around along the line while looking for the one, but once they meet and as long as they're happy, this is how it should continue.) The only difference with a sexually open relationship is that this is not the case.

Yes, sex is typically important in a relationship, but I'd like to think that people aren't so shallow that it's the be all and end all. It does seem that modern relationships come with the expectation that your partner is your prince or princess, the best you've ever had, and you couldn't possibly ever want more or experience better. To admit otherwise is considered highly offensive, but let's be realists. We can't all be married to the world's best lover.

A good relationship (closed or open) is not based exclusively or even mostly on sex. There are many other factors that add up to true compatibility. I actually find it a little saddening to think that anyone would leave their life partner simply because the sex was better with someone else. But I suspect it's a common reason for separation in closed relationships.

Reply by Azrayel on Sat 18 Feb 2012

It's usually/often intended to mean emotional involvement with one person. However, in practice emotions are hard to control so what seems to happen is a committment not to form a romantic relationship with a second person - i.e. not telling someone how you feel about them, not encouraging someone to develop romantic emotions towards you, not doing the kinds of 'coupley' things that you usually reserve for romantic partners, etc.

Don't you just love goodbyes?

Reply by Belasarius on Sat 18 Feb 2012

Souci_X wrote:
I would have thought it was making the difference between physical and mental so though you may be fucking other people you aren't loving other people.

I guess its hard in practice because emotions are one thing that we seem to have little practical control of, I suppose not getting into a position or situation where dramatic emotions are possible to flourish.

Personally I think love is a little more complicated.

I agree with all of this. But I am confident it can work.

I think, for me, one key issue is feeling that I have permission to play away. This is slightly odd because I don't need or desire permission for much else in our relationship. But, I know I have that permission, given with grace and without a hint of recalcitrance, so that's ok.

BUT, whilst she is content that I could roger anything in sight ( hardly likely but that's another story) I really am not happy doing that: As far as I'm concerned anyone I play with has to be a chum of both of us and someone we have respect for an whose company we both enjoy. In other words I want to feel there is transparency and trust all round.

Further I think emotional monogamy creates a huge area of responsibility towards those with whom one plays: they need to be in no doubt about the fact that, whilst friendship does not stop at the bedroom door, love does not even start.

I think one can only use the privilege of emotional monogamy if all is open to everyone and the partners you include in these wider friendships have a similar attitude to friendship and fun. Ie that you can all be very important To each other, but no more important than you are to your other friends.

My goal - to save women from nature (Dior)

Follow me on twitter: @belasarius99

Reply by Calimero_rslw on Sat 18 Feb 2012

I am emotionally monogamous to on master... Even with my master having at times encouraged me to be less cold with my sexual partners...

But my heart belongs to one... It doesn't matter who I have sexually.. or even how good a friend we become... I am emotionally attached just to my master...

I can have pretty good sexual time with others.. however the thought of cuddling up or spending the night with another man makes me feel rather odd.. have sex, kiss, orgasm etc fine.. but after sex.. they leave and I have my time with my master.

To be fair we are hoping that one day we do add a proper 3rd that feelings will develop for... But even at that... They won't have parts of me....

Some people in swinging do seem to struggle to have sex without developing feelings.. I've lost several regular playmates that way.. as they couldn't see how I could have the sex like that with them without having feelings... But I genuinely didn't above liking them.

I am and always have been my Masters Slave, from the day I was born I was his. I just didn't realise it till My Master claimed me.

Reply by Belasarius on Sat 18 Feb 2012

This is the earliest mention of the concept i can find on the web:

http://www.polyamory.org/SF/Openheart/wolfie.html

Here are some others from IC:

http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/288733/4

http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/290142/6

http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/319967/2

I also wrote this on another's (now deleted) blog the other day :

"I go bonkers when she isn't there for any prolonged period and it is made quite clear that seeking "holiday cover" is absolutely acceptable. I'm only comfy with it when it is someone we both know, respect and get along with - and its someone who is a chum when we are together as much as when we are apart. And also that it is someone who understands that friendship need not stop at the bedroom door, but that, also, i am emotionally monogamous."

and this, on the same blog:

"I see myself as monogamous. But that doesnt mean I won't roger another. Sex is play. It's not serious.

Or that's how we see it."

My goal - to save women from nature (Dior)

Follow me on twitter: @belasarius99

Reply by Rhoobarb on Sat 18 Feb 2012

Juantastic wrote:
But don't you make exactly the same commitment as part of your marriage vows?

Nope. Marriage vows consist of nothing more than a statement that you are free to marry. Anything else is optional.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

Reply by Sobri_Quet on Sat 18 Feb 2012

Interesting thread. I'd tend to agree with the people that say that one cannot control one's emotions. Every committed closed relationship relies on emotional monogamy. For me a relationship is damaged fatally when the love stops. To stop loving someone but stay with them out of some sense of duty, pity or convenience is a far greater deceit than being sexually unfaithful yet society (and most wronged partners) seems to only judge those who are tempted sexually.

Reply by Ama_Sidero on Sat 18 Feb 2012

Perhaps important to note also that while an individual may have an idea of "emotional monogomy", communications is important as the partner's idea of "emotional monogomy" may not be the same thing.

For example, many men tend to feel it is ok to play over the internet as there is no intention of ever meeting up and "it's pretend". That crucial element "no intention of meeting up" seems to give them the idea they can have whatever connection they want. It is often the case that their partner has other ideas e and the communications isn't sufficient.

@Play_Space - Next party is Friday, March 2, 2012 and the first Friday of every month!

Road Trip to the Sea!!! The October trip has tJust elapsed...More info here.

Reply by IrrepressibleSoul on Sat 18 Feb 2012

Ama_Sidero wrote:

For example, many men tend to feel it is ok to play over the internet as there is no intention of ever meeting up and "it's pretend".

as do many women......

Tathagata Buddha, the Father Buddha said "with our thoughts, we make the world"......well I bet he never had to build a flippin' shed!

Now listen...I did not "submit" my latest project - I THRUST it upon you...with great fury and vengeance...and stuff - alright?!?

Reply by Ama_Sidero on Sat 18 Feb 2012

IrrepressibleSoul wrote:
Ama_Sidero wrote:

For example, many men tend to feel it is ok to play over the internet as there is no intention of ever meeting up and "it's pretend".

as do many women......

Touche. And very true. I just dont hear from many of the women. ;-)

@Play_Space - Next party is Friday, March 2, 2012 and the first Friday of every month!

Road Trip to the Sea!!! The October trip has tJust elapsed...More info here.

Reply by juantastic on Sat 18 Feb 2012

IrrepressibleSoul wrote:
Ama_Sidero wrote:

For example, many men tend to feel it is ok to play over the internet as there is no intention of ever meeting up and "it's pretend".

as do many women......

It's also surprisingly common for women to take on female lovers in real life on the basis that it doesn't count as infidelity. We have a friend whose wife has had another woman 'on the side' for ages, yet she went ape when he strayed from his wedding vows. She'd have taken it even worse if he'd been playing with men rather than women. So where exactly does this double standard come from? Does the gravity of the situation relate directly to the number of cocks that are involved?

Though it's topic drift in a way. I believe we're discussing an agreement to emotional monogamy, and it's therefore implicit that each partner is aware of the other one's activities. If someone is doing anything sexual (on-line, phone or anything) behind their partner's back, and that partner would consider what they're doing to be cheating, then they are cheating. Pure and simple. The arrangement that we are discussing here has the consent of the partner. That one does not.

Reply by Ama_Sidero on Sat 18 Feb 2012

Juantastic wrote:
IrrepressibleSoul wrote:
Ama_Sidero wrote:

For example, many men tend to feel it is ok to play over the internet as there is no intention of ever meeting up and "it's pretend".

as do many women......

It's also surprisingly common for women to take on female lovers in real life on the basis that it doesn't count as infidelity. We have a friend whose wife has had another woman 'on the side' for ages, yet she went ape when he strayed from his wedding vows. She'd have taken it even worse if he'd been playing with men rather than women. So where exactly does this double standard come from? Does the gravity of the situation relate directly to the number of cocks that are involved?

Though it's topic drift in a way. I believe we're discussing an agreement to emotional monogamy, and it's therefore implicit that each partner is aware of the other one's activities. If someone is doing anything sexual (on-line, phone or anything) behind their partner's back, and that partner would consider what they're doing to be cheating, then they are cheating. Pure and simple. The arrangement that we are discussing here has the consent of the partner. That one does not.

Sometimes. Sometimes there *is* consent from the partner because its they cannot conceive of - a deep relationship forming, but it can. That is why I used it as an example, as it can just as easily be a "grass is greener" situation as real-life situations - in fact, maybe even more so, as they build up an unrealistic fantasy image of the other person. You mention "doing anything sexual" I don't think it need necessarily be sexual to be necessary for it to have "gone too far".

@Play_Space - Next party is Friday, March 2, 2012 and the first Friday of every month!

Road Trip to the Sea!!! The October trip has tJust elapsed...More info here.

Reply by apriljones on Sat 18 Feb 2012

Juantastic wrote:
As the person who used the phrase in the cuckolding thread, I would describe 'emotional monogamy' as an agreement not to fall in love with anyone else. But then you end up trying to define 'love', so perhaps it's best to look at it as an agreement not to become involved with someone else to a degree that will threaten the continuation of the existing relationship.

It doesn't mean that you can't have feelings for other people, simply that you should be wary of feelings turning into attachments. Your life partner should always comes first, and if it comes to one of those "It's them or me" situations, there should never be any doubt in which direction the axe will fall.

Its interesting how this implies that in the end it all comes down to actions; what people do and not what they feel.

I don't necessarily disagree with any of the above. However, it appears to me that 'emotional monogamy' insofar as a definition such as this could permit someone to be on the verge of a powerful feeling for someone they couldn't fight, and yet so long as they didn't act on it, or even so long as they brushed it under the carpet and intentionally avoided its development, they were fulfilling their commitment.

Is that emotional monogamy? or logistically reasoned and agreed lifestyle monogamy? or emotional avoidance?

Reply by done_with_wondering on Sat 18 Feb 2012

Fascinating stuff from all sorts of people.

I've had very emotional times with individuals, which I don;t think would breach "emotional monogamy" as most people define it. Two examples: rock climbing partners, and in counselling situations.

I wonder if it's "falling in love" (which I see as infatuation coupled with fantasy of a new future) rather than just emotion which breaches most people's understanding?

I personally think "falling in love" is a terrible term for infatuation. Love for me means commitment to the well being of the beloved, whereas infatuation is a temporary hormonally-induced thing. Therefore, in my understanding, one can't "fall" in love; one can climb towards it.

"Wisdom begins in wonder” (Socrates)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" (Albert Einstein)

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/226772/

Reply by A_Poster on Sat 18 Feb 2012

I have to say it all seems very simple to me. If you spend time with other people you might develop feelings towards them. That might be more likely to happen if your having sex, or it might be more likely to happen over conversation - depending on the individual. I suppose you can minimise the chances of this happening by not engaging with the same person more than once, fucking in silence, whilst blindfold.

The real question, for those that can't entertain the possibility of having feelings for more than one (or can't entertain their partner having feelings for more than one) is at what threshold would their singular attachment jump from one to another? If its at first glance, then that doesn't say much about the depth of your existing relationship!

And all men kill the thing they love, By all let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword!

Reply by Elohims_jay on Sat 18 Feb 2012

Take away the word emotional and replace it with the word commitment .... "Commitment Monogamy"

For me the use of the word emotional makes the waters very muddy .... so commitment sits better with me.

We both have other people we play with (BDSM and sexual) ... some we have known for years, are very very fond of and see on a regular basis .. others we see maybe a few times a year for fun ... BUT ... regardless of which of us was "playing away" the needs of the other always come first .. and those we play with a made very aware of that dynamic.

For example ... I am deep into a scene with someone and my phone rings because he needs me ... Everything dropped and I go to him ... He is away for a weekend of fun and frolics and something goes wrong that I need him back for ... I KNOW he will be home ASAP after me letting him know that.

That is how our relationship works ... we can and do get fond of people ... come to "love" them as we would family ... but the commitment is to each other alone and that is always the primary understanding.

If the line is ever crossed where either of us wanted to give that same level of commitment to another person then, for us, our relationship is possibly about to move from open to poly and a time out will happen for a lot of talking all round.

"You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough." ~ George Moore

Reply by apriljones on Sat 18 Feb 2012

wonderer wrote:
Love for me means commitment to the well being of the beloved, whereas infatuation is a temporary hormonally-induced thing. Therefore, in my understanding, one can't "fall" in love; one can climb towards it.

Ok, but for some people, some of the time, infatuation becomes love quite involuntarily and out of nowhere. In these cases, its more like flying than climbing.

Reply by Belasarius on Sat 18 Feb 2012

apriljones wrote:
wonderer wrote:
Love for me means commitment to the well being of the beloved, whereas infatuation is a temporary hormonally-induced thing. Therefore, in my understanding, one can't "fall" in love; one can climb towards it.

Ok, but for some people, some of the time, infatuation becomes love quite involuntarily and out of nowhere. In these cases, its more like flying than climbing.

Actually, my experience leads me to agree with @Wonderer.

Falling in love leads to bright, burning, passionate relationships. Some if these fail. Relationships between people who have grown past that to learn to care for each other seem to fail less often.

My goal - to save women from nature (Dior)

Follow me on twitter: @belasarius99

Reply by apriljones on Sat 18 Feb 2012

Belasarius wrote:
apriljones wrote:
wonderer wrote:
Love for me means commitment to the well being of the beloved, whereas infatuation is a temporary hormonally-induced thing. Therefore, in my understanding, one can't "fall" in love; one can climb towards it.

Ok, but for some people, some of the time, infatuation becomes love quite involuntarily and out of nowhere. In these cases, its more like flying than climbing.

Actually, my experience leads me to agree with @Wonderer.

Falling in love leads to bright, burning, passionate relationships. Some if these fail. Relationships between people who have grown past that to learn to care for each other seem to fail less often.

I don't disagree. It is simply that sometimes, falling in love happens fast and unexpectedly (which is what my experience suggests), leading 'emotional monogamy' to be a tricky and uncertain subject, to return to the original thread topic.

edited to add:

there is 'coming to love and deeply care for someone' and 'being infactuated with someone'. Sometimes these happen at pretty much the same time.

Reply by done_with_wondering on Sat 18 Feb 2012

apriljones wrote:
wonderer wrote:
Love for me means commitment to the well being of the beloved, whereas infatuation is a temporary hormonally-induced thing. Therefore, in my understanding, one can't "fall" in love; one can climb towards it.

Ok, but for some people, some of the time, infatuation becomes love quite involuntarily and out of nowhere. In these cases, its more like flying than climbing.

I quite agree, or at least I agree that infatuation can lead towards unwise and even disastrous consequences.

To those who say emotions can't be controlled, I sort of agree, but it is possible to make efforts to avoid situations which could lead to dangerous infatuations, or to spot that you're on a slippery slope before it's too late. Sometimes easier said than done of course ...

Elohims_jay wrote:
Take away the word emotional and replace it with the word commitment .... "Commitment Monogamy"

For me the use of the word emotional makes the waters very muddy .... so commitment sits better with me.

...

I quite agree. For me, love means "ultimate commitment". And therefore it takes work, and can;t be fallen into. My metaphors are getting a bit mixed, because I do agree with those who say that the "slippery slope" of infatuation is very often a prelude to the growth and development of love; infatuation can be a catalyst, which can start a reaction.

"Wisdom begins in wonder” (Socrates)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" (Albert Einstein)

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/226772/

Reply by Lady_Susan on Sat 18 Feb 2012

All too complicated for me. If there is such a thing as emotional monogamy, it's passed me by.

I love my husband of 30 years, he is my lover, my friend, my companion, all that stuff.

But I also have very strong feelings about my two long-term lovers: I would have no hesitation in saying to anyone (including my husband) that I love them, I tell them that I love them, they tell me that they love me. People seem to be so afraid of the word, as if it was some kind of taboo, as if one is going to be struck by lightning if one says it to more than one person! My husband has three lady friends, and I know he loves at least one of them very much - as do I, she is a very dear friend.

For he and I, there is a definite 'pecking order' - we put each other first. However, we both realise that sometimes, one or other of our lovers is going to need some 'special treatment', such as birthdays or other celebrations,or if they are ill, or having a crisis; and at such times, we cut each other the necessary slack. We are also comfortable and secure enough not to pry.

The thing is,every relationship we have is unique; you simply cannot give to person A what you gave to Person B, it only exists in the context of your dynamic with that person.

The weasel phrase, as I take it, is this 'in love' business; I have only once in my life been what I believe people describe as being 'in love', and it absolutely sucked.

When I want your opinion, I'll thrash it out of you.

Can you taste the grit between your teeth....

Reply by done_with_wondering on Sat 18 Feb 2012

That sounds great. Loads of love to share around; ebbs and flows as needs fluctuate; everyone happy.

"Wisdom begins in wonder” (Socrates)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" (Albert Einstein)

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/226772/

Reply by Lady_Susan on Sun 19 Feb 2012

wonderer wrote:
That sounds great. Loads of love to share around; ebbs and flows as needs fluctuate; everyone happy.

Well, exactly. I'm not claiming it's perfect, but it works at least as well as a lot of other relationships.

When I want your opinion, I'll thrash it out of you.

Can you taste the grit between your teeth....