The Paradox Of Marriage

So after all I ask myself, who doesn´t think about having an affair, except for those people with an extremely low sex-drive or those few who seem to have found the perfect match. This leads me to wonder why marriage is still such an ideal, one partner for all your lifetime, while reality proves it being so difficult. Whether one believes in evolution or the Bible, who can deny that man/woman is not monogame by nature. If you believe in evolution, this is only natural. If you believe in the Bible, you can see it as a consequence of the fall. And why all this fuss about faithfullness? Would it not be much more loving to grant your partner some extra fun. Why all this exclusivism and possesiveness? And I know the arguments against this that I am provoking. But unless I see as many people saying "I am happy in my marriage" as those that are not, I´m just not convinced. If I truly love, why do I have to possess? Desire, yes, but does this mean whoever I desire can be only for me?
Jaypanther Jaypanther
36-40, F
20 Responses Oct 29, 2011

I am happy with my relationship! But I'm not married to her, and we have each a place of our own. Don't want to get married, nor do I really want to live with her. It's nice her coming to my place, and my going to hers. It's also nice to spend some time on our own. I stayed with my wife to raise our children. It wasn't easy for the last one as the relation had degraded so much, we hardly talked.

Relationships must evolve one way or another. I love my lady, and she loves me. We are learning with each other. Yet, other than buying a camping car, we don't have any real projects! How about that?

<p>I so agree with you. Although I believe in marriage as a cosy, comfortable blanket after some time, and necessary to sustain partnership and friendship, it is also a passion killer. If you don't renew it, it dies. The only way to renew passion is to bring a slight, kinky jealousy to it. Not possessive jealousy, but only as a tool to excite the couple and renovate the spark. I know about the grass being always greener, so it doesn't mean you have to leave your partner for somebody else, unless the relationship is broken and it lacks respect and love. But to expect that fiery passion to last forever, it's insane. And like you said, some of us have a higher sex drive which cannot be fulfilled by one partner only, after years and years and years of marriage and living together.</p><p>Of course, think safe sex. Promiscuity is a different thing and unhealthy, physically and mentally. If you have the need to have multiple partners, something might be wrong. I repeat - might- everyone has different needs. Personally, I believe in bonding with the person you're having sex with somehow. I can't do emotionless sex. However, I understand that finding that middle ground between love and sex is very hard and requires a lot of maturity and learning to let go. Only if you have been to hell and back with the loss of some deep love (whatever the kind), you can learn to achieve this middle ground more peacefully. It is complex because, above all, you have to love yourself dearly and only rely on yourself to be truly happy. Others can make you happier, yet only if you are happy within yourself, in the first place.</p><p>I wish my hubby found someone else sometimes to escape with. If he still loved me after that, then I would be sure of his love for me as much as I am of my love for him. Marriage should not be a prison.</p>

I think probably everyone thinks of having anaffair some time, during their marrage, especially if the person has been marred before. looking for that spark, the passion, but ,the grass is not always greener on other side

Very well said, Jaypanther, or at least very well asked. Religious ideology, the story of the fall tells us one thing, and all of our understanding of human biology tells us something different; our closest evolutionary relatives, the bonobos, are not monogamous. And it could be argued that Jesus himself was not all that concerned with sexual morality.

P.S. Please add me

I am married but yes I still find myself being attracted to not dead for crying out loud! But even when things aren't great, I made the conscious decision to not take that leap out of the love and respect for my spouse. I decided if it ever got to the point that an affair was the better option, than I would call it quits in the marriage first, because I believe my spouse deserves such as I am treated with the same respect. And things have not been great. I have had no sex life for the past three years but choose to stay true despite the many temptations I have encountered along the way. I look at it as it is a possessiveness in me and I'm ashamed to say how selfish I am. I don't like to share what I have and the thought of my spouse with another hurts too much to my devotion, my feelings and my pride. There's always someone out there who can love your spouse better than you can, and I don't want to lose what I have, I would rather fix it. I think it's a matter of wether or not your relationship is worth keeping. To everyone their own choice and beliefs though!

Homo sapiens are possessive by nature. We subconsciously wish to own whatever we desire to prove to ourselves of our own worth. We measure ourselves and others by whatever we own and by what is ours. Our partners, our physical possessions, our careers, our physical abilities and even our own appearance. We always wish to own something better than what we have, but we refuse to give up what we already own. I'm sure that once we "love" someone then we wish to hold on to that regardless any other logic.

Hi Jaypanther,
How are things now? Is this the end of your thread? Is there a decision?
I hope you and yours have reached a resolution. I will pray for you both.

hi! well, in short: I still live the acceptable and long for the less acceptable... still in between

Trust. Relationships one and all are built on it. An affair betrays that trust. How do you feel when betrayed.<br />
Agreed together we can have other lovers? Can we commit ourselves fully o two or more persons at the same time. Like the opposite ends of a stretched thread, we live in tension between satisfying one or other partner and both our partners seek different ob<x>jectives so which do we choose? If you do not choose to assist with the ob<x>jective that you agreed to, how can I believe and trust you have my best interests at heart?<br />
Evolution? Altruism means I give something up for benefit. So I agree to be your partner and you mine and we bind ourselves to love and care for each other for the benefit I gain having someone help me with the result of procreation, to assist me in making sure my offspring (yours and mine) survive. Cheating removes trust. Is it a good idea and can love survive betrayal?

My husband and I have just entered an open relationship. However, neither of us have found a sexual partner yet. Its all very new and exciting. We are completely open and honest with each other. I think it is definatly possibly to have 2 different sexual relationships. One doesnt have to effect the other. Loving my husband doesnt have to effect the need for me to want to have sex with someone else....and the desire that I have to have sex with someone else doesnt have to effect the love or desire I have for my husband. They CAN be two completely different things. I say go for it Jay...good luck to you.

thanks april! Unfortunately my husband wouldn´t agree to an open relationship...

A few thoughts. First, as you stated, what is playing itself out in many circumstances is a natural tension between our primal urges emanating from our lower brain stems, and our higher selves and our social constructs. Our lower brain stems, from an evolutionary biology perspective, move us onto new gene pools to achieve genetic diversity (how many times have you read about a spouse that doesn't want to have sex with their partner, but still has a sexual appetite?). However, importantly, we do need to recognize that marriage itself has evolved in terms of social or cultural functionality (yes, evolution occurs there also) and serves a very useful purpose. I'm sure you have read that married people live longer and generally are happier than single people.<br />
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Many of the coconuts on this message board should probably be divorced / single, but should do so in a mature, honest and dignified way. Lying or betraying your spouse (and children) not only damages your entire family, but ultimately yourself. That being said, people need to soberly recognize there are no perfect spouses or marriages, but ultimately many of us are better off by being in a loving, supporting relationship with someone who has their best interests at heart. To be clear, this does not mean sex -- many in Western cultures put way too much emphasis on sex, and therefore introduce a lot of self-inflicted misery into their lives (and lives of innocent others).<br />
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In terms of open marriage, there needs to be: (i) complete honesty and disclosure, and (ii) an effort to be certain one partner doesn't feel under duress to enter into the arrangement. My own sense is that these arrangements rarely work -- one partner often feels somewhat coerced or has a change of heart. <br />
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At the core, what I think is oftentimes lacking in today's relationships is honesty and respect for others. After millions of years of evolution, we now are much more than our brain stems, and we as a specie need to start behaving that way.

get a divorce on your own....get into a relationship on your own terms, not because you feel you need to be in a relationship for one reason or the other. A relationship should compliment your life, not validate it.

I'm telling you jaypanther from experience that an affair is a short term fix for a problem that's always going to keep coming back unless you deal with it properly.

what is the problem that keeps coming back? and what do you mean by dealing with it properly?

he is the mind that you can't have two relationships at the same time.

I can understand your feelings Jaypanther as I go through these quite frequently, however have not yet had physical sex outside marriage. Whereas in thought I have done it a number of times and the more exciting the thought the greater the satisfaction.<br />
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I heard someone mention about "outsourcing" the sexual need and this makes it sound like a service with no attachments. If a situation arose that I came across a person looking for the same thing as I with no strings attached, then I would be tempted. However the difficulty here is how do you identify such people (opposite sex). ?

I also have never cheated physically but could imagine an arrangement where both partners agree on giving the other some space. My husband doesn´t like the idea and I´m hanging in there... if the right person came along and wanted ... I´d probably go for it. And concerning your question: You ask them openly- shocking but effective.

and just how does that convo go? "hey you wanna bump nasties every wed nite let's say @ten"

Jaypanther,<br />
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It is not about right or wrong, it is about wisdom. What is the wisest thing you can do for the whole situation? Is this other person someone you would be willing to give up your marriage for, I don't think you can have your cake and eat it too. I wish too I could have both, but what would that mean. My marriage would have NO meaning. Perhaps that might be the solution...the instittution of marriage not in existance? Did tne fall focus on monogamy? If was a literal story who else was there besides Eve? What other choice did Adam have? Another challenging question for Biblical thought-if Jesus was fully human-could it have been possible for him to have had sex with Mary Magdalene and not be married? Would this change theology? The SON of GOD doing a human thing. Some would say Jesus couldn't have done that because they look at sex as a bad thing. WWJD? If I could have things my way; everyone would love each other and people as possessions would be the sinful act freely loving would be the grace filled act. Unfortunately the church, society and most people aren't that open to love. Blessings!

No they are not. Instead love and sex is considered filthy.

I maintain that affair is the wrong choice. This has NOTHING to do with morality and guilt for me, it is just plain simply a mistake. It is extremely hard to get off the hook from an affair and you may get stuck with your emotion between an unrealizable fantasy that tears your energy away from a real possibility to fix your marriage. I am living it for 18 months now and counting. It's painful to everyone and does not lead to faster results, it delays everything and makes everything so much harder. It delays even the option of a divorce and a new beginning!<br />
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Make an all out attack on fixing your marriage first. Fix it or move on. There are ways of doing that. If you can spend $6000 you can go to a 4-day 12 hour intensive treatment which combines marital counseling with sex therapy. The results seem to be mind-blowing. People can get over whatever is holding them back, sort out their marital gridlock, and very soon experience the best sex ever plus a really happy marriage that gets better all the time. Read a book called Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch.<br />
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But you can't do any of this once you are torn apart by a love triangle. Don't do it. Attack the crap in your marriage at full power while you can. It is so worth it!

Thanks. I wouldn´t do any of it easily, divorce or having an affair. I would like to have both, my marriage and an affair but my husband doesn´t like the idea of sharing. Most of the time I´m ok with the situation but sometimes this desire comes up for something and someone else and then it´s so overwhelming that I just can´t guarantee for my actions.

Jaypanther, "would like to have both" sounds so useful theoretically, but I think you will find it really isn't. But when you found that it is already too late. Your waste time and energy, you get stuck in the middle that you have created yourself, without a way of fixing your marriage and spoiling your new affair love if you find something in it that you really want for your life!

You cannot save a ship that has already sunk.

This is a tough question I ask on myself every time my marriage has a low tide.... Which is quite often now a days. Should I really have an affair! I have had mini flings, but not a long and sustained affair. Each time I identify a person, I always wonder what they are going to think of it, especially knowing that I am married! That has kept me from going into it fully. But I always wonder.... It is a question of time and finding the right person.... It gives me the hits though, thinking about it.

Marriage should be a mutual exchange of giving. When one side wants to give more than they take, inevitably over time it becomes a zero sum game. So it isn't so much a matter of whether exclusivity is possible, as it is a matter of having chosen the wrong one. That being said, I think an affair can be healthy in extremely limited circumstances. However that is an awfully fine line to walk, and and iut is easy to fall off of that tightrope.

I think monogamy is extremely overrated and has clearly been outdated for a very long time. Ahh, but we just love to beat our selves up for things that are perfectly natural, don't we?

The argument with morality and terms like "(un-)faithful" and "cheating" do not help at all in thinking about this and only make people stupid. The reason why you wish you hadn't started the affair is because you are cheating yourself out of the opportunity to make your current marriage a really happy place for you two (NOT "hang in there doo-goody" place but hot & happy place). But even if it has no chance or revival, you are cheating yourself out of a real future with the new lover. May be you picked the wrong spouse many years ago, it would be so much better to unwind that first and be ready and free for a new love. With an affair you are just taking one step before the first and you fall and it will hurt all 3 of you. I have been there and done that and I wish I had not. It has nothing to do with morality or that I wish I had not "ruined" my marriage, but it has everything to do with being much harder to solve the puzzle of your life after the affair has hit. It's love, it hits you, you can't just continue on as if nothing happened. It's not a joke. Please don't do it that way. First resolve your marriage.

Interesting, not many posts in this topic discuss evolution and the bible :-P<br />
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About monogomy, there are some species in nature that pair up for life, and others that simply mate and then separate. So evolution can lead to either of those cases, or somewhere in-between. It depends on what is the most advantagous approach for that species.<br />
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For most of the time that humans have been evolving, life would have been harsh and short. Presumably monogomy would have helped people survive and bring up of children together --- that's why I think it's still mostly the "default" position for us humans. However nowadays people live much longer and generally have easier lives. In those circumstances it's not suprising that monogomy comes under strain. <br />
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Possesiveness makes sense from an evolutionary point of view because it's in your interest to elimate potential competition of rival genes. That's just an attempt to explain it, not a defense of it.<br />
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Have you been married a long time?

Thanks for your input! I have been together with my husband for 13 years, married 9. I have never betrayed him in deed but hundreds of times in thought. Yes, you´re very right, things have changed in many ways. Women´s situation is totally different today than even 50 years ago, at least in Western culture. I do agree that kids need a safe and loving place to grow up for building a healthy personality- something I didn´t have, which is probably why I have these problems. I have no example of a marriage that would seem desirable for me.