Doctor Love: Live-in Relationship

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

Readers, email your question to [email protected] Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love,
I am a gay male and for the first time in my life I want a live-in relationship with a man I have been dating for over a year. We are great together. We share similar ideas of nutrition, exercise, politics and religion and such. I’ve opened up with him emotionally where as previous arrangements were purely sexual and never emotional or intellectual.
My question is about monogamy. While I understand that monogamy means not having physical relations with another, does it mean giving up all sexual interests other than inside the relationship?
I have a friend in another country and we’ve had cyber relations for a few years. I haven’t divulged this information but I feel like I should. Will it have to stop? It is not emotional. We’ll never even meet and I don’t even know his name. Is this sort of affair something that would be considered cheating? What if I find myself attracted to another man once we have made the step to live together? I don’t worry about becoming as emotionally involved with anyone else but how can I be sure that I won’t want to be with someone else physically?
/s/Anon

Dear Anon,
You and your partner seem to have discussed your mutual interests in everything except sex. Now it’s time to discuss that topic openly and honestly. This doesn’t just apply to gay relationships. Your questions don’t differ from the questions heterosexual couples need to answer before making the step to commitment.
Monogamy means different things to different people. For some, as long as there is no physical contact, it’s not considered cheating. For others, any sexual interest that doesn’t involve the partner is considered cheating—like pornography or online relationships. Still others feel true fidelity lies in emotional commitment rather than physical monogamy.
You and your future partner need to have a detailed discussion about your understanding of monogamy. Will you be monogamous at all? Perhaps his definition of monogamy is even broader than your cybersex arrangement. Or he may require that you end your online affair and promise to be traditionally faithful to him. Are you entering this new phase of your relationship with the possibility of marriage and if so, how will that effect your monogamy agreement? Assuming anything will only open the door to arguments over promises never agreed to.
As long as neither of you push for what they want, nor let themselves be pushed into accepting what they don’t want, you can have a lasting and loving relationship. This is possible if approached with complete respect and honesty.

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