By Sonal Sonawani
Monogamy can be truly frustrating for some people. The pressure to be with just one person and to eliminate all possible options, can be too much to handle. I meet a lot of people who are in committed relationships, including monogamous marriages, where they find themselves falling for someone else. Wracked with guilt and confusion, most often, a lot of people end up engaging in infidelity or breakup or divorces. So, what is the right thing to do? Should I stick to my relationship, or should I engage in a new relationship? Or should I consider doing both, till the time one of the relationships organically comes to an end? A lot of people find themselves ruminating around these questions.
Is This Cheating?
Almost everyone finds themselves cheating on their romantic partner at one point in the relationship. Thinking and fantasizing about someone else, being emotionally more connected to someone else, having a physical relationship with someone else, or missing someone else. All of these constitute as cheating, if you feel the need to hide any of the above from your committed partner, even once. So, before you judge anyone else, consider that you too might have engaged in a relationship with more than one person at the same time.
Should I Pick One?
Having clarified all judgments, let us try to understand whether you need to make a choice, and if yes, how can you do so?
These individuals are not commodities where you select either, on the basis of their features and characteristics. A lot of times, when you meet someone new, you might find the excitement exhilarating. The newness of the person, the flirting, the attention can be consuming and addictive. Your brain starts to find various ways to find a new connection and it starts filling all the blanks by lying to you about your current relationship.
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Your old partner suddenly starts looking boring, unattractive, nagging, over-possessive, and unloving. You feel you’ve stopped loving them a long time ago. That something was always missing, and now, with this new person you have found your way.
Yet you realise you still love or at least respect your committed partner. Hence your mind tries to rationalise between familiarity and excitement, thereby leaving you no choice but to be in both relationships simultaneously and judge for itself, what feels better. You probably know this is wrong, and feel a twinge of guilt.
But then again, your mind comes to your rescue and tries finding even more wrong things in your current relationship. Most often, single people end up choosing the new relationship. For married people, it might be difficult to choose the new relationship so easily due to social constraints. However, they either end up working on their marriage, leaving their spouse or lead a miserable life with their spouse, or continue the new relationship simultaneously. In either case, yes you must pick one, otherwise your own judgments and rationalisations will ensure that you remain miserable.
How Do I Choose?
Most often, the new attraction acts as a red flag for your current relationship. Use this as an opportunity to find out what’s working or not working for your relationship. Monogamy is difficult. Let us accept that. However, honesty is not. Honesty allows you to communicate freely without fear of judgment.
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A lot of people feel that they’ve fallen out of love. But in reality, the passionate and immature love is mostly replaced with mature and evolved love. It is not exciting. It can become monotonous. A lot of people wish to experience immature passionate love. They’re not wrong in wanting that. Your brain is filled with oxytocin and several other physiological and chemical changes are taking place. It is natural to feel a sense of high, elatedness, attraction and general sense of well being and happiness. So a lot of people keep falling in love over and over again.
It is important to communicate with your current partner about this. No matter how harshly you might be judged or how dramatic the reaction of your partner might be. Try to give them a fighting chance, to say the least. Your own decision in your mind does not allow your partner to present their end of the story. If there is honest communication, you will find a way to either resolve your issues or end your relationship mutually. In both cases, the choice is made by the couple and not by you alone.
How Can This Choice Affect My New Partner?
The decision can become a lot more complicated, when the new partner starts putting pressure on you to end your relationship. In many cases, there are threats of leaving you. This can lead to feelings of insecurity within you and make you want to end your current relationship in a hurry. Your own fears of loneliness and solitude might result in a hasty decision. What if I don’t end up with either? You need to overcome this fear first before you do anything else.
Your new partner can wait. She has not had enough experiences with you to become the bitter and miserable person your current partner has. Communicate with her as well about how difficult this choice is for you, and how you wouldn’t want to treat her with disrespect by nullifying an entire relationship to obtain a second option. Allow yourself to treat her as your first choice, when all efforts to resolve your current relationship have expired and you have reached a mutual conclusion. If she will still have you, when you are romantically single again, then you would be treating her with the respect she deserves.
Monogamous relationships are complex. They present an illusion of security while eating away at your chance for new love, passion and romance. However, it is in monogamous relationships where you fight with yourself the most, because you understand your vulnerabilities better. Each time you snap, get angry, or feel bored, irritated, sad, it is an opportunity for you to look within yourself and find what is it in you that you need to learn. When your learning’s are complete, you might feel the need to move on. Nevertheless, any relationship is first about you, and later about the other person. You may run away from one problem to find solace in another person. But you can never run away from what you need to learn from yourself. It is only when we understand and apply this, can we be in healthy relationships.
So, whoever’s confused between picking one out of two partners, I wish you best of luck with your choice! A little bit of honesty and facing your fears of loneliness can do the trick!