Monogamy

Dear Emily,
I have a question. I have communicated to my partners that I don’t want a complete commitment and want to keep things light. They don’t listen. I try to spell it out. I try to be subtle. Nothing seems to work. I don’t have a fear of monogamy but was in a long marriage where sexual compatibility was terrible. She made me feel awful for wanting it. I just wanted to point that out before my question rattled the monogamy bell.
Great show. Keep it up!
Dan
Los Angeles, CA
Dear Dan,
You win the ‘I’m glad you brought up this question’ award. Especially because straight forward monogamy is being challenged more and more these days. The way I see it, there are a few things going on here:
1) Women think they will change you. You say you want to keep it light, but when you’re with her you are probably very present, attentive and raring to have sex. A woman experiences this as actions speaking louder than your words. Sure you said “Let’s keep it casual” but after all that great sex and intimacy her mind might be taking the relationship more seriously. This is why we should all listen up. 99% of the time your partner is trying to tell you something. Are you listening?
2) What you’re asking for is not the norm. Many women (and men) are looking for a commitment: the house, picket fence and 1.2 kids. What you say just does not compute, literally, for a person who is seeking commitment.
3) It takes two to tango, so it’s key for you to look at your role in the situation. Are you sending mixed messages? You tell her you want to slow down the relationship but your actions might say “I want you completely”. This can translate as “He wants me something fierce, maybe I should I ask for a drawer in home?” It’s not that women are being difficult it’s that your actions and words might not match up and send waves of confusion through your latest conquests.
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