Terms of Commitment
M.-J. Taylor

The real question is, can one have a commitment to a sexual/romantic partner if one has more than one sexual/romantic partner?

Why do some people believe there is no commitment without monogamy?

I'm not at all sure I have an answer to that. Perhaps it's simply a learned response. Our culture promotes monogamy.

If I am sure of anything, I am certain that it's a fear-based belief: if my partner has sex with another person, I will be abandoned/neglected/unloved/insecure/whatever.

Why do you think people believe a commitment can't exist without monogamy? Isn't there more to commitment than sexual fidelity? Why does the threat of sexual fidelity apparently (for many monogamously inclined people) outweigh all the other parts of the commitment?

What do we mean by commitment? Perhaps that's the issue. In my marriage, commitment does not equal monogamy. Commitment for me means I am in this for the long haul. I will be available to my partner and I will work through our problems, with a therapist if necessary. I will not leave.

Can I stick to that commitment? I don't know.

What are grounds for dissolution of that commitment? In my case, sexual contact outside my marriage is not a reason to break the bond. But what if my partner became abusive? Completely unavailable? What would it take for me to leave?

A commitment seems to me to be a contract of sorts. If we both keep the terms of the contract, we will stay together.

Forever. Commitment, for some people, has an element of "together forever." And it's very hard for monogamous people to imagine that they could stay in a marriage that wasn't sexually fidelitous. They fear that their jealousy would be too painful to bear or that the partner would fall in love with someone else and leave them.

Hey, I worry about that, too, even in my poly commitment. I have been so caught up in New Relationship Energy (NRE) lately that I have had moments where I wondered if I want to be in a primary relationship at all. I've had fears recently that my husband might find his new love so compelling that he would be tempted to put her first. I've had moments of frustration with other marital issues when I've questioned whether I want to be in this marriage. It's scary and painful sometimes and I am "committed" to polyamory. How much more scary it must be for someone who believes monogamy is the only way.

I am rambling. This is an interesting topic to me, and I just can't help it.

Another thought on the topic of "what other people think". It's none of my business! In other words, when I start to give others opinions the power to affect my feelings, I try to remind myself that my opinion is really all that counts. It is "my" commitment. If someone else thinks it's not a 'true' commitment, well, that's just their belief. It doesn't change the truth for me.

It's hard to learn to take back power. But it's really much easier to change my attitude than someone else's!

Enough for now!!! What do you think? (Not that I care! ;D )

Love and Light,

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. - William James

M. - J. Taylor