As a person who loves and has romantic relationships with multiple people at once, monogamy is not the best choice for me. However it is a valid choice that works well for many others. With images of my favorite monogamous couple and fusion Garnet, I give 4 tips on how to be better at monogamy. (If you haven’t already, go watch Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe and see all of Garnet’s monogamous badassery.)
Like really choose monogamy. Be with your person and only your person. Don’t be compulsory about it. Don’t settle for it because it seems easier. Don’t do it because you’re out of options. And most importantly, don’t go along with it when it’s something you actually cannot do. Remember there are other options if monogamy isn’t for you.
2. Co-define what monogamy means for you and your partner.
In other words, create and understand the boundaries of your relationship. Do not let convention decide for you and don’t let unnamed expectations decide either. Be proactive. Does monogamy allude only to sexual exclusivity but flirting with others is okay? Can you and your partner dance with other people? Patronize sex workers? Share emotional intimacy with others outside of your dyad? Cuddle with your friends? You two decide. It doesn’t have to look like what everyone else is doing but it does have to work for both you and your partner.
3. Know how to navigate conflict.
Are you familiar with the ideal conflict cycle? First you and your partner are on the same page, then something (usually uncomfortable) happens that causes you to be on different pages. The offended party must speak up and say “hey this thing happened; it didn’t feel good; we are no longer on the same page.” The offending party acknowledges what has happened and apologizes. You both take steps to get back on the same page. And BOOM you two are back at the start of the cycle. Of course this is easier said than done. Hence it being the ideal conflict cycle. Pettiness, defensiveness, triggers, and other emotional forms of our human baggage get in the way. Familiarize yourself with the ideal conflict cycle. Practice it with the small stuff so that it becomes easier when things really get bristly between you and your beloved. And while you’re at it, learn the three Cs: compromise, concession, counsel. These get a bad rep but when used with care and without coercion can improve the health and resilience of your relationship.
4. Remember there’s no space for indifference.
Relationships can be difficult. No one deserves indifference. One of my favorite definitions of love comes from Designer Relationships by Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson. According to the authors love is profound interest, while indifference is its opposite. Pay attention and stay curious about each other. There are so many fun and pleasurable things to discover about each other. When you are indifferent, you miss out.
And with that I’ll leave you with Garnet’s wise words. Apply them to your relationship.
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