There are many definitions of monogamy out there. Here’s mine, along with the ways I think that committed partners in a monogamous relationship should take care of each other – or at least what my own needs are.
Upon rereading it after writing it, I suppose it’s also about how I think that mature people should behave in relationships.
One man and one woman (or two of each, depending upon your sexual preferences) – a couple, with no one else involved on any kind of intimate level.
Two people who have sex only with each other.
Who only play with each other.
Who only even overtly discuss sex or play with each other, other than in general terms.
Who do not flirt overtly with others.
Who cut off the flirtation if someone else starts it, or when they realize that they may be doing it themselves.
Who actually do recognize when, in fact, such flirtation is happening, and when it has moved beyond the completely innocent to something more suggestive.
Who understand that deep, searing eye-locks and overt, explicitly sexual and D/s-charged exchanges are not innocent flirtations, but open come-ons that will hurt their partners.
Who do not develop intimate emotional connections with others that might encourage the other to think that there might even remotely possibly be any other possibility other than purely platonic friendship.
Who make sure that clear boundaries are set with other people to ensure that there are no misunderstandings about the nature of the friendship.
Who make sure to back off and explicitly and overtly set the issue straight when they notice that another friend or acquaintance is responding in a way that indicates a belief that there is more to the relationship than there is, or a desire for more.
Who actually do notice when these things might happen, and have an awareness of when and how they do.
Who fully understand the D/s and other emotional buttons that can be pushed that would trigger someone else to believe that there might be something else possible – and who make sure to *not* push them with anyone but their committed partner.
Who have enough control over their own reactions and behavior to make sure that they do both notice and cut things like this off if they start, and who preferably don’t even let them get started in the first place.
Who do not engage in any other kind of seductive behavior with other people, especially if their partner is uncomfortable with that.
Who don’t play word games with defining things like “friend”, “flirting”, or “play”.
Who discuss and come to mutual agreements about what is and is not OK outside of the relationship, and who make damn sure they stay within those boundaries to the very best of their abilities.
Who would never dream of doing anything with anyone else that might upset their partner, or lead to suspicions of cheating.
Who care enough about their partners to immediately apologize and reassure them if, in fact, they do inadvertently do something that leads to suspicion and discomfort of any sort. After all, no one is perfect, and misunderstandings and misinterpretations do happen, but what will make or break the relationship is the reaction that results when the injured party objects.
Who care enough to make sure that they not only do not repeat that error, but no other as well.
Who make an effort to understand the spirit of what their partner needs in the way of fidelity, not just trying to define every little detail up front. Who then act in accordance with what they understand that spirit to be.
Who then apologize immediately if they accidentally overstep something, and do everything in their power to make sure that their partner knows that it was inadvertent – and that it won’t happen again. That nothing even remotely similar will happen again – or anything else that gets discussed in the course of straightening out that particular misunderstanding will happen again.
Who understand that just because they didn’t repeat Mistake A again, doesn’t mean that Mistake B or C or D aren’t also important.
Who understand that Mistakes B, C, and D are exactly the same as A and each other in spirit, when they violate relationship agreements. That they are equally damaging.
Who understand that repeated mistakes that violate relationship agreements constitute a pattern that will not be at all reassuring to their partners, and that will just fuel suspicion and distrust.
Who understand that repeated overstepping of relationship limits of any sort, even inadvertently, will have a cumulative negative effect on the relationship, that will just be compounded if denied when their partner finds out and calls them on it, particularly if they get defensive about it.
Who do not get defensive when asked if something else is going on – who just instinctively move towards doing and saying anything possible and necessary to make sure their partner is fully reassured because they care enough about their partner’s feelings to automatically want to make sure that they are that well taken care of.
Who care more about their partner’s needs and feelings than they do about any other friendship or relationship.
Who make damn sure their partners know that they are unquestionably the only one in their hearts, beds, and on their minds.
Who are open and transparent about the nature of any other relationships they have.
Who don’t have anything to hide from their partners.
Who are willing to even show all emails and other correspondence with other people to their partners in order to reassure them that they are the only one. Who will spontaneously offer that to them without even being asked, because they know that it will reassure her.
Who don’t get defensive when asked about what might be going on with anyone else, but instead just make sure to do whatever is necessary to reassure their partner that she is unquestionably the only one in every way.
Who understand their partner’s need to be reassured.
Who make each other their priority in life, barring unforseen circumstances like emergencies in the family or with other close friends. If there are emergencies involving another friend and one’s partner at the same time, the partner’s needs take priority.
I’m sure there’s more, and I’ll add to this over time as I think of other elements.