Marriage: When Divorce Isn't an Option

Marriage is not one size fits all. Our culture dictates what marriage should look like based on popular beliefs, hollywood Rom Coms, and the fairy tales we are fed from childhood.
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Marriage is not one size fits all. Our culture dictates what marriage should look like based on popular beliefs, hollywood Rom Coms, and the fairy tales we are fed from childhood. The recent Ashley Madison leak is proof that an outdated model of monogamy in a marriage is in desperate need of discussion and reform. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but when 35+ million people sign up for just one site that promises a torrid affair you have to pause to question.

If the CDC declared global epidemic, which promised to pillage the total population of Canada, would that not be pause for considerable reevaluation and vital reform in the way we approach our health? There needs to honest, raw, and vulnerable conversations about marital expectations both in and out of the bedroom. Currently our fractured system is destroying relationships, family's and communities.

Studies indicate that the aftermath of an affair on the psyche has lasting and devastating effects such as PTSD. But what do you do if divorce isn't an option, you're in a monogamous relationship but your eyes are wandering? How do you avoid the catastrophic emotional impact of an affair while still fulfilling your human sexual potential?

Let me shed some light on your blocks, here are a few ways you can bring mindfulness into your bedroom and forgo the devastation of an affair.

Open the discussion. Talk about the realities of being in a monogamous relationship, with your partner first and foremost, but also with other couples who are navigating the same choppy waters of monotonous matrimony. You may find honest couples who will tell you the state of their union and how they traverse their sex life. Keep in mind that you may not be in the same place as you were emotionally and sexually as you were when you first said "I Do."

Open the discussion with a check-in of where you are currently and then what the terrane will look like after a few kids, job losses, and potentiality of life's myriad up and downs. What does it look like for you and your partner when each other experience sexual energy from another person. To assume that never happens is naive. Is it time for a renegotiation?

As time passes it is natural for people to expand, grow, acquire new sexual perspectives, desires, and knowledge. Are you willing to express this as well as acknowledge these potentials in your partner? Are you holding on to old beliefs that are outdated and not working? Are you griping on out of fear of losing your betrothed when you've out-grown each other? Or are you open to expansion and growth individually and or collectively in your relationship?

Get honest with yourself. Are you ok with the idea of having fantasies or possibly even an affair in your head but cringe at the thought of your partner diving in that pool? What if you explored it together? Does the thought of exploring your sexual boundaries frighten you? That's a sign there is room for growth and exploration. Explore the boundaries of what turns you on. Perhaps it's just the mere verbal exploration of bringing a third party to play with or perhaps even watching kinky porn together. Remember, if divorce isn't an option why should an affair be too? By expanding your sexual horizons and exploring variety together you can deepen your connection and enhance your life experiences driving your relationship forward both emotionally and sexually.

You have a choice. Marriage doesn't eradicate natural human desire to flirt, dance, connect, and potentially want to hop in bed with someone other than your chosen partner. It is however a choice. It's choice to stand in integrity, love, respect, commitment, and exploration of life and all the potentialities it has to offer. The only rules that really matter are the one you decide on with each other. There is not a clear road map as to how a relationship should unfold and evolve. The script that Hollywood writes is fraught with myths. The suggested should's, that society places on marriage are often shaming and unrealistic. For instance the societal shame and pressure to leave if a partner cheats. Do you chastise yourself for having thoughts about someone you are attracted to? What if you brought that attractive person into your fantasy life with your partner and explored it together rather than acting on it externally. Ask yourself: What works for you outside of what your religion, your parents, your friends, and community expectations that are placed on you? Get quiet and ask yourself what expectations belong to you and which ones were externally imposed. Journal your findings and use them as talking points when you share who you truly are with your partner.

Sometimes you don't know what you want. You make decisions based on others expectations. You know what others tell you what you should think or how you should behave, or what your life should look like. But when you stop and pause to really get honest with what you want in your relationship and what you think works for you, then you can have an honest discussion with your partner and challenge them to sit and explore what it is you both need and want.

Come from a place of curiosity rather than emotional reactivity. Be a scientist in your own experiment. Your growth potential is exponential, as is your partners. Waking up to the reality that marriage doesn't insulate you from natural desire allows room for growth and authentic living.