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Facing Reality, The "New Monogamy" Is Keeping Relationships Together

Affairs outside of marriage are nothing new, but this take on monogamy is.

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Monogamy is a conscious choice made by human beings, and perhaps the best choice for our species. A long-term, connected, monogamous relationship makes for better parenting and encourages emotional creativity among humans: to get along with someone for many years, you have to learn certain relational skills, including self-control, psychological acuity, patience, conscious empathy, and simple kindness. If monogamy is not natural to humans but a choice that we make and negotiate every day, then it becomes an opportunity to protect our most intimate bonds while continuing to grow as individuals.

Marriage can no longer be regarded as a constant steady state, without variables or changes, which we automatically fall into once we’ve said our vows. It’s a relationship that’s continually being renegotiated--even if we aren’t conscious of the fact. It’s far better that we negotiate with each other with honesty, sensitivity, and eyes fully open to what we’re doing than simply engage in magical thinking that it’ll all work out if we just keep pressing blindly forward, wishing for happily ever after.

Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Center for Healing. She’s the author of "Getting the Sex You Want" and "What’s Eating

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