No one likes a cheater. For that same reason, countless amounts of time have been spent in front of the television booing the person that has just failed a lie-detector test.
The LGBTQ community continuously struggles with monogamy vs. non-monogamous relationships. The response to the topic is of mixed emotions.
On one hand, some couples that have decided to maintain an open relationship have found themselves just as happy as couples that have decided to maintain a strictly monogamous relationship.
Just the same, other couples that have decided to maintain a monogamous relationship value the stability that is offered within a committed relationship. Such stability plays into their psychological health as well as the prevention of the spread of HIV.
There are many options for couples in search of the right method of exclusivity:
Lester Brown, a 33-year-old director at a marketing research firm, is in a monogamous relationship with a 30-year-old event coordinator that is not out. They have been together for almost 3 years.
David Czar, a 35-year-old engineer, is in a non-monogamous relationship with Chris Pine, a 26-year-old retail manager. They have been together, on and off, for nearly 5 years.
Both Brown and Czar have helped in formulating three simply challenging steps in maintaining a relationship in the LGBTQ community.
Friends First. “Luckily it was really important to us to connect on [a] friendship level and not just a physical one,” Brown said. “We never get tired of being around each other, and I know it sounds strange and I don’t know if it would be considered healthy, but we spend most of our time together and we love it.”
Many relationships in the LGBTQ community skip the “getting to know you” phase. It is often a rushed situation that fizzles out just as quickly as it was sparked. What Brown finds important in his relationship with his boyfriend is that he does not view him as a piece of meat; he’s spending his life with his best friend.
“We started out trying to get to know each other, but it quickly grew into a more intimate situation,” Czar said. “We were so hot for each other, but after all these years things got a little mundane so we found ways to mix it up.”
Yes, intimacy is important in a long-term relationship, but when the foundation of your relationship is solely sexual then what you have when those acts are not occurring is a lack of connection and depth with one another. The value of each individual involved is strictly determined by their “achievements” in the bedroom.
Stick To It. “[Our] biggest challenge was having our past follow us and others who did not respect our union so to speak, but once we decided to make that commitment and also live together we’ve been monogamous,” Brown said. “We will always face the challenge of temptation as I’m sure would be a challenge for any couple.”
It happens more often than not, the elusive ex comes back into the picture after all these years. It is important that you come to terms with that previous relationship in order to completely move on to the next.
Many couples fall victim to temptation. This is nothing to be ashamed of, but rather once that flaw has been admitted then both individuals can begin to work on ways to stick to the commitment they formed with one another.
There is nothing more damaging to trust then when someone goes back on their word. If you aren’t ready for a monogamous relationship then don’t get in one. If you are involved with someone who is seeking monogamy, then it is important to define what monogamy means to each person.
“Being with one another is much more than what happens when we have sex,” Czar said. “Our hearts are for each other-so what if we like to have a little fun with others.”
For some, being monogamous could mean that you are completely exclusive to one person. For others, monogamy could mean that you are only sleeping with one person, but are given the freedom to date and interact in other sexual acts with another.
Many of the conflicts that are found in relationships are formulated through the psyche. Each individual maintains a different definition of the same concept. The key is placing both definitions on the table so each party is able to make a sound decision on the progression of the relationship.
Communication Is Key. “We have a policy in our relationship that the only rule is there are no rules, we talk about any feelings we have and make decisions from there,” Brown said. “What I do know is universal is the skill of communication and having an open ear and mind.”
Without communication a relationship is not able to maintain the previous two steps above. This not only promotes understanding, but trust as well.
“Most people think it was me that brought up the idea of bringing other people into our bedroom, but it was actually Chris,” Czar said. “I was a little thrown off at first, but to be honest I had thoughts about the same thing so it was nice to connect on that level.”
By feeling comfortable enough with your partner to express your desires and needs you give them an opportunity to partake in your life, but also allow them to gain respect for your honesty. It is important to continuously maintain a listening ear while expressing your own feelings.
Whether it is monogamy you are searching for or an open relationship, if you care about the individual it is your responsibility to inform. “I love him to death, but I’ve always been told to keep one eye open at night,” Brown said.