By Dr. Tammy Nelson

The Vows We Make:  

When we make an explicit vow to be monogamous, we fully intend to keep it, even though many of us don’t. The Implicit Monogamy Agreement or understanding between a couple is different from the spoken, Explicit Monogamy Agreement and may never be discussed at all.

The trick is to establish and continually revisit rules so that they’re confining enough to keep a couple in a monogamous relationship--according to their own terms--but loose enough to encourage growth and exploration for their partnership and for each person individually.

In every case, it is important to understand that just as we develop as people, marriage and committed partnerships grow and develop through stages.

As a marriage or partnership grows, the agreements change, either implicitly or through passive agreements. It is healthier and less prone to misunderstandings and betrayal to make these changes more explicit and to have discussions on a regular basis about what each partner wants in their monogamy.

 We renew our license to drive a car every couple of years, why not renew our agreement to be with our partner?

The 36 Must Ask Questions to Help Define Your Monogamy Agreement

The following questions are based on the continuum of monogamy and will help you create your new agreement. Take your time and either write down the answers to the following question or discuss in real time with your partner.

1.    How often do we talk about our relationship every day? Every night? Once a week?

2.    How many times a week should we have sex? How many times per month?

3.    Do we always sleep in the same bed? Separate beds? Separate rooms?

4.    Do we watch pornography together? If so, how often? Who picks?

5.    What if I desire a type of sex that I we have never discussed?

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Dr. Tammy

Adapted from the book The New Monogamy; Redefining Your Relationship After Infidelity, by Dr. Tammy Nelson, Ph.D.