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07.23.2010 Posted In: NETWORKER EXCHANGE By Jordan Magaziner
The Networker made the news earlier this week with one of the leading stories in our July issue, Tammy Nelson’s “The New Monogamy.” The Washington Post featured this piece in their Health section, displaying some of the more controversial ideas covered in Nelson’s article.
Although I was more than thrilled to see this month’s magazine cover presented in The Washington Post, along with a summary of Nelson’s article that’s bound to generate interest, I don’t think that Nelson’s article can be summed up with the idea of simply sleeping with other people. I feel that Nelson clearly explained her idea that breaches of fidelity are more commonplace than most of us like to believe, and that a new form of committed relationships are becoming more accepted.
In her article, Nelson says, “It isn’t that there’s an epidemic of mate-swapping liberties out of 'Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice'…in fact, most couples practicing what I call the ‘new monogamy’ still want a desire a committed monogamous marriage.” She writes that the definitions of terms like commitment, fidelity, and monogamy are more “expansive and varied than what we’ve long considered the norm.”
I think many readers took in this article to mean that Nelson believes that marriages are going in this 60s-style of “swinging” or “open” marriages—and some couples are exploring these options—but that terms, ideas, and relationships are changing, and that therapists should be aware of shifts in society so that they're better equipped to handle anything that comes their way inside the therapy room.
What did you think about Nelson’s article? How do you think therapists should handle situations of what Nelson labels “new monogamy” relationships?