Relationship Diversity Podcast

Default Vs. Intentional Monogamy

September 21, 2023 Carrie Jeroslow Episode 66
Relationship Diversity Podcast
Default Vs. Intentional Monogamy
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Episode 066:
Default vs. Intentional Monogamy


What if the societal norms you've always followed are stifling your happiness and growth? In today's episode, I'll question the accepted narrative around monogamy and delve into embracing intentionality in relationships. I'll unpack the pitfalls of default monogamy which can often feel like a trap, and explore the freedom and fulfillment that can come from choosing monogamy intentionally, after careful consideration and self-reflection.

This shift can help you take ownership of your relationships empowering you to design a relationship that is the best expression of your authentic self. 

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Please note: I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker. I am not attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any physical, mental, or emotional issue, disease, or condition. The information provided in or through my podcast is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by your own Medical Provider or Mental Health Provider. Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider and/or Mental Health Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific circumstance.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Welcome to the Relationship Diversity Podcast, where we celebrate, question and explore all aspects of relationship structure diversity, from soloamory to monogamy to polyamory and everything in between, because every relationship is as unique as you are. We'll bust through societal programming to break open and dissect everything we thought we knew about relationships, to ask the challenging but transformational questions who am I and what do I really want in my relationships? I'm your guide, Ca Jarislow, best-selling author, speaker, intuitive and coach. Join me as we reimagine all that our most intimate relationships can become. I grew up being shown one kind of relationship structure monogamy. My parents were monogamous. When they got divorced they each went into other monogamous marriages. All of my friends' parents were monogamous. All the TV shows I watched and the movies I went to see showed only monogamous relationships.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I was a teenager in the 80s and began my adult life in the 90s. I've always been a curious person and at that time in history if I wanted to learn more about a specific topic, I had to search for it, like go outside my house or apartment and literally search by foot or car for more information. When I started getting interested in yoga, I traveled 60 blocks south in New York City to take a Hatha yoga course at the Himalayan Institute. So it made a lot of sense that I defaulted into searching for and being a part of a monogamous relationship with one other person. My first marriage was monogamous and although we talked in depth about a lot of nontraditional topics think energy healing, developing psychic skills, spirits or even aliens we never broach the topic of relationship structure. After that relationship ended and I went deeply into healing my parents' divorce, my mind was opened like never before. I don't remember how the idea of an open relationship even came into my awareness. It was 2004 and I had just faced my biggest fear my own divorce and came out of the experience elated and feeling a freedom I had only ever felt before.

Carrie Jeroslow:

As a young kid with no cares in the world, I began to question everything I had grown up believing. As I got clear on what kind of person I wanted to be in relationship with and wrote it down in my journal, one phrase poured out on paper. It read like this my partner is open to creating a life together that is most in affinity with us, not programmed by society's thoughts, ideas and expectations. I was clear that I wanted a partner who desired to build a life together. That was our truth, his and mine, and no one else's Someone who had the courage to walk our own path together.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So when I started dating a guy who had just gone through a divorce and who had confided in me that he had cheated on his wife throughout their entire marriage, an idea came to mind. It was born from circumstance and desire. I don't remember any kind of research that I did to understand it. I felt empowered and free and it just seemed like a logical and empowered request and desire.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I told my boyfriend that my non-negotiable was honesty. I didn't want to perpetuate the story that his sexual desire for variety needed to be hidden from his intimate relationship. I suggested that, as long as we were both honest with each other, we could have other intimate experiences with other people. He agreed and felt accepted and acknowledged in a whole new way. I don't think he was ever a monogamous person. He was a big flirt and loved women, but was shamed sexually from a very early age.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I didn't realize at the time that what we were doing was called an open relationship. It just felt like the best expression of my needs, priorities and desires. That relationship lasted about 18 months and, as a side note, although challenging, was an amazing growth experience for me, therefore, a completely successful relationship, even though it ended and even though I went back into monogamy for a while after it. This time it was a different experience my mind had been opened, pun intended, to another possibility in terms of relationship structure. I went into my next relationship, my marriage, choosing monogamy intentionally, and through our 16 years, we've chosen our best to be intentional with our relationship structure by checking in with ourselves and each other to see what feels most aligned with our priorities, needs and desires at each stage of our relationship, shifting and altering through time to reflect our personal and relational evolution. And this is what I'm going to talk about in today's episode Default monogamy versus intentional monogamy, what each is, how they differ and how to shift from the unconscious to the conscious, from default to intentional, empowering you to decide that's an important word Decide what feels best for you.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Fulfilling the difference can help you build a more fulfilling and sustainable intimate relationship tailored to your unique needs and desires. So let's first start with default monogamy, which refers to the traditional concept of monogamous relationships that many people inherit or adopt. Those two words are important inherit or adopt. Without much thought or examination. These relationships often follow a societal script, where individuals date one person at a time, aiming for exclusivity and long-term commitment, many times because that's just what people do. Monogamy can be a wonderful and successful choice for many, but it becomes problematic when people enter into it without fully understanding their own motivations and expectations and without questioning and exploring if it's in alignment with who they are and what they want from their relationship. This can lead to falling out of integrity with their monogamous agreement, creating the space for infidelity, cheating and lying.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Default. Monogamy at its core involves ideas such as social expectations, where society often assumes that monogamy is the default relationship structure, leading you to feel pressure to conform. Lack of conscious choice, where you fall into monogamous relationships without exploring alternative relationship styles or considering whether monogamy aligns with your personal values and desires and obligations of commitment. Where you feel obligated to stay in a relationship even if it no longer serves your happiness or growth. Intentional monogamy, on the other hand, is a conscious and purposeful choice to engage in a monogamous relationship after careful consideration and self-reflection. This approach acknowledges that monogamy is just one of the many possible relationship structures and, after self-exploration, it's determined that choosing monogamy aligns with your personal values, priorities, needs, desires and goals. Intentional monogamy, at its core, involves ideas such as self-awareness, where you've taken the time to understand yourself, your desires, your dreams, your goals and what you truly want from a relationship. Open communication, where you prioritize open and honest communication with your partner to ensure that both of your needs are met. And flexibility, where intentional monogamy allows for flexibility in the relationship dynamic, recognizing that relationships evolve and change over time and the internal scripts of each are very different as well.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Default monogamy script can sound like this is all I know, this is all I've been shown. Well, that's what's expected of me. What will they think? This is the right way, this is the only way. My life will only be good if I meet the person and ride the relationship escalator from dating to marriage, to kids, or a relationship is what's going to make me happy. Default monogamy shrinks and contracts. It uses stimulus from the outside to determine what the relationship is going to look like, relying on outside pressure and expectations. So, in other words, I am in a monogamous relationship because that's just what I'm supposed to do.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Intentional monogamy asks questions, explores different ways of being, educates and researches, engages in self-inquiry, remains curious, learns what's possible and learns about the self and then chooses what's in alignment. Consciously, it asks this question what else is possible? Intentional monogamy expands and evolves, uses self-awareness and gains clarity from internal processing. In other words, I'm going to go within, understand all that's available and, with the understanding of myself, choose a monogamous relationship structure. So both default and intentional monogamy can lead to happy and successful relationships, but the idea of consciously choosing the path that aligns with your authentic self can take your relationships to the next level of deeper intimacy and more fulfillment. So here are some steps to help you move from default monogamy to intentional monogamy.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Step one, and one of the most important steps is I've said it already self-reflection. Ask yourself what do you really want? What's important to you? What part of your past or current relationships feel really good? What parts don't? Take the time to go deep within and understand your values, desires and relationship goals. This is the place to start, and this is big work and takes a lot of bravery and feelings of self-worth to believe that you are worthy of having what you want. This is the space where you honestly consider whether monogamy resonates with your true self or if you feel pressured into it by societal expectations. This goes in tandem with step two, which is to uncover societal, familial and cultural programming that you unconsciously took on and ask yourself if it's really what you think and feel. This step takes continual courage and curiosity.

Carrie Jeroslow:

From a very early age, we observe all that goes on around us and unconsciously make conclusions that form our beliefs. You could have watched a movie when you were five years old about a girl who's crazy about a guy, goes through lots of challenges and then finally gets the guy and lives in quote happily ever after, and the monogamous script begins to cement in your psyche without you even realizing it. Question your beliefs and journal your thoughts. I have been doing this for decades and still things come up and I'm amazed at how my past programming shows up in my life in tiny decisions that I make. I have to be super aware to be able to stop myself and open up to the question is this a default behavior or is it coming from who I really am in my own beliefs?

Carrie Jeroslow:

The next step is to open dialogue with your partner or potential partner, if you're already in a monogamous relationship or considering one, engage in open and honest conversations with your partner, discuss your expectations, boundaries and whether aspects of your relationship are intentional or based on societal or familial programming. Talk about what you've uncovered from your self reflection and see if your partner is open and able to explore their own beliefs. This could feel scary and threatening, but if you start with the intention of honoring and hearing your partner and being open to communicating with love and care and you feel they are able to give that back to you, this process has the potential to create more intimacy and closeness between you. And, lastly, continually assess and adjust. Develop a schedule that you come to, where you will ask yourself how you're really feeling in your relationship. Maybe it's monthly, maybe it's quarterly, maybe it's yearly, but always show up and ask yourself how are you feeling in your relationship, how is the health of your relationship and is it in alignment with your goals? Like I always say, we are continually evolving. Leaning into this instead of resisting it can help you experience more fulfillment in your life together with your partner. By reassessing, you can make adjustments as needed to ensure that your relationship remains intentional and in alignment with your personal evolution.

Carrie Jeroslow:

The distinction between default and intentional monogamy emphasizes the importance of making conscious choices in our intimate relationships. There's no one size fits all approach to relationships. That's the whole message of this podcast. What works for one person may not work for another, but by taking the time to understand your motivations, communicate openly and adapt as needed, you can create a monogamous relationship that is intentional, fulfilling and uniquely yours. Remember, the most important aspect of any relationship is that it serves the needs and desires of both partners, no matter what the chosen structure. Bringing conscious awareness empowers you to build and design a relationship that is most in alignment with who you are and what you want in each chapter of your life. This is relationships reimagined. Stay curious the more comfortable and normal it is to acknowledge the vast and varied relating we all do, the faster we'll shift to a paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships. New episodes are released every Thursday. Stay connected with me through my website, carriejeroslowdotcom, instagram or TikTok.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Stay curious Every relationship is as unique as you are. Are you wondering why you never seem to find lasting fulfillment in your relationships, or do you create the same kinds of relationship experiences over and over again? Can you never seem to find even one person who you want to explore a relationship with? Have you just given up hope altogether? If this sounds like you, my recent book. Why Do they Always Break Up With Me is the perfect place to start. The foundation of any relationship, whether intimate or not, is the relationship we have with ourselves. In the book, I lead you through eight clear steps to start or continue your self-exploration journey. You'll learn about the importance of self-acceptance, gratitude, belief shifting and forgiveness, and given exercises to experience these life-changing concepts. This is the process I use to shift my relationships from continual heartbreak to what they are now fulfilling, soul-nourishing, compassionate and loving. It is possible for you. This book can set you on a path to get there, currently available through Amazon or through the link in the show notes.

Default vs Intentional Monogamy
Finding Lasting Fulfillment in Relationships