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sleepdoc's avatar

How would you respond of feel about this advice on committed relationships (details in question)?

Asked by sleepdoc (4666 points ) October 15th, 2010

One of my, well let’s call it a work acquaintance, the one who is always full of TMI, was talking about committed relationships and made a statement akin to this. When we are in committed relationships, sometimes our partner doesn’t fill all our needs. That is when we turn to friends to participate in a hobby or relaxation activity with us. The way I see it the are filling a need our partner doesn’t. So if a partner is not meeting your needs sexually, then you should be able to go and meet your needs in that area too out side of the relationship. What are your thoughts?

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31 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

Absolutely, without a question. However, that’s an objective answer… subjectively, it’s going to have to be up to the people in the relationship. And if it’s something like the fact that the other person doesn’t satisfy you sexually generally, and not they don’t do some of the things you think are particularly awesome, I don’t think the relationship is going to last very long.

Loried2008's avatar

I feel like it would only be okay if your partner knows and is okay with it. Also, the other person would have to understand your situation. However, I would also like to say.. If you can’t get what you need from someone in a relationship what’s the point in that relationship anyway? (I agree with @iamthemob that there’s a difference between generally not having your needs met and something small here or there that can be worked out)

marinelife's avatar

Is it all open and aboveboard? Yes, it is OK, but why bother with a relationship then and call it committed?

Is it just justification for cheating? Then, no.

iamthemob's avatar

@marinelife – committed doesn’t say anything about your sexual practices – it means simply that you’ve committed yourself to the person. When you hear people talking about cheating, most often (for women at least, but also for many men) they fear an emotional betrayal rather than a simply sexual one.

Commitment isn’t monogamy. So I think it’s a valid characterization.

Then again, that might be because I just want to have my cake and eat it too. :-)

BoBo1946's avatar

@marinelife I’m with you on this one. Why take the vows or have a relationship if you are not going to be faithful to that person. If the two people agree on this matter….that would be their business. Total honesty in an open relationship is fine….that is just not for me! If you truly love someone, don’t see how you could allow them to go outside the relationship and be with another person. My mind cannot go there.

iamthemob's avatar

@BoBo1946 – Because sex is recreational, yo! ;-) (I can be crude, I know…)

BoBo1946's avatar

@iamthemob oh, if both partners agree on this…hey, that is their business…just not for me!

Cruiser's avatar

I think it begs a bigger question of why would one stay in such a relationship??

sleepdoc's avatar

@Cruiser… I don’t know the circumstances for this person, but let’s just assume that was the only thing lacking in the relationship.

iamthemob's avatar

@sleepdoc

Are you saying that one cannot satisfy the other sexually at all?

If so, yeah…I wonder as @Cruiser wonders.

Cruiser's avatar

@sleepdoc That would be a toughie then. Except for kids, monetary needs or a blind commitment to religious beliefs, why remain in a relationship that is sexually unfulfilling?

sleepdoc's avatar

@iamthemob… I wasn’t saying anything specific. Just let’s say that outside of the sexual aspect of the relationship EVERYTHING else was perfect.

@Cruiser… I guess was thinking if you are fulfilled in every other way, is tolerating sexual fulfillment ok. Maybe your statement in the answer to that question thought anyway.

iamthemob's avatar

@sleepdoc

Again, there’s a big difference though…if there is no sexual chemistry then that’s a dealbreaker, and I think @Cruiser has the point. If everything else in the relationship is perfect, and you have a deep love for each other, then you’re friends, not lovers.

However, some sexual spark, and the situation is different.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Cruiser I’m with you on that one…why stay! Doesn’t appear to be the popular approach! For myself, a generation gap! It will stay that way!

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think it depends on the couples definition of commitment. For myself and my husband, that would not be appropriate to either one of us. If something happens where one of us isn’t fulfilling the others sexual needs, we will talk about it and work on it together (as we would for any problem in our relationship).

JustmeAman's avatar

My wife for the past almost 2 years has been very ill and has not nor can she fulfill my needs in the sexual sense but to go out and find it elsewhere would be cheating on her and hurting her. She is not at fault that she is sick and if I am committed to her then keeping myself committed to her and her alone is my idea of a real commitment. Have we become so self-centered as to think cheating is fine because we need it or want it? Sorry but morals are beginning to become nonexistent. What happened to integrity and owing up to our responsibilities and even honor? I guess I’m a dying breed but I think it is really self-centered to think this way. IMHO

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Aside from life changing scenarios to a previously sexually honest couple as in what @JustmeAman writes, trying to justify staying with someone because they’re great in all other ways than sexually is a bunch of BS. Unless the un-sexually satisfying partner knows how their sexually compromising partner feels ahead of time and decides to commit to this type of relationship anyway, they deserve to be able to have a partner who thinks they’re outstanding in one of the most crucial human binding ways known. I’d be pissed as hell to think my chosen partner I’ve given up all others for is settling sexually. Bollocks I say!
My opinion assumes as (previously) mutually agreed monogamous couplehood.

iamthemob's avatar

@JustmeAman – Nope, we haven’t. Cheating is cheating. If you’re monogamous, then the situation described in the OP is indeed, cheating. However, if you’re not monogamous, then there’s nothing immoral about it.

john65pennington's avatar

This person is approaching this problem from the wrong angle. i realize that he/she is not married to this one person, but there is a commitment code for people dating each other. if not for the code, then why bother?

I see this situation this way: if these two were to marry each other, his “outside interests” will continue, based on what you have told us. in other words, “keeping a little on the side” will still exist, even though he is married. not a good idea.

nikipedia's avatar

I agree with @iamthemob. Commitment and exclusivity are not the same thing. If I couldn’t meet my partner’s needs sexually I think it would be pretty selfish to insist he stay with me and not permit him to go elsewhere.

iamthemob's avatar

@john65pennington

How is that not a good idea? If they get married, and he’s getting a little bit on the side, it doesn’t matter if the other guy is fine with that, or if he’s getting a little bit on the side as well. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I think the idea that sexual fidelity represents a more important commitment to someone other than providing emotional, financial, and social support as well as an agreement to share your families, lives, and perhaps raise children together is, I think, a little backwards (not uncommon…but backwards I say).

lapilofu's avatar

“So if a partner is not meeting your needs sexually, then you should be able to go and meet your needs in that area too out side of the relationship.”

I think this is pretty inarguably true. Of course, just as you wouldn’t hide the hobbies and relaxation activities you participate in with friends, you wouldn’t hide your outside lovers. And because so many people assume monogamy, this sort of arrangement obviously needs to be made clear to a partner beforehand.

More generally: I think one of the major issues with the way relationships and monogamy are widely perceived is that we’re encouraged to pretend our partner can fulfill all our needs. No one person can fulfill another’s every need. Not only is this crazy to believe, it’s damaging to relationships. (I’m not saying monogamy as an agreement is infeasible or crazy, only that if more people accepted this truth, they would better understand how to build strong relationships—even monogamous ones.)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m of the opinion (and this would help couples everywhere) that a partner isn’t supposed to fill all our needs and our lives must involve others (not necessarily sexually or romantically, if that’s not your thing). If a couple have sexual issues, then is not the time time to go outside and ‘get it elsewhere’ but if everyone’s attuned to themselves and their partner and one is simply not interested in doing something and they’re okay with their partner expereincing that once in a while through another being, that’s all right by me. However, I do think it is one of my roles as a partner to seriously consider everything my partner desires and to (within reason) be able to satisfy their urges.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – I think that’s a great point. One of the most important factors is when the sexual issue developed.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I think it depends on the reason for the lack of sex. Perhaps there is a fundamental reason the spouse is not sexually available to his/her partner that is lost on the partner who rationalizes cheating.

Examples:
Spouse A justifies the Spouse B’s weight as a reason to cheat.
Spouse A develops a drug habit after the marriage, and tells Spouse B that if you make me choose between you and the kids, and the habit, you can take the kids and leave. Spouse B lacks the support system to make it on her own with young children, and stays in the marriage but withdraws from Spouse A. Spouse A rationalizes that the lack of sex is the fault of Spouse B alone.
Spouse A and Spouse B both work outside the home. However, because Spouse A makes twice the money as Spouse B and travels during the week for work, Spouse A feels Spouse B should be responsible for all the household and child-rearing chores.
Spouse A watches a great deal of porn and expects Spouse B to perform like a porn star in bed. Nothing Spouse B does measures up. Spouse B quits trying.

Kayak8's avatar

I love the idea (finding people to do things with that one’s spouse/partner doesn’t appreciate). That’s why “Meetup.com” was invented so one could find people who share certain hobbies/interests the spouse doesn’t enjoy (has no particular talent for). My spouse may not enjoy painting or discussing certain types of books, but I can find others who do. Because these things bring me joy and make me a better person, I would be amazed if my SO did NOT want me to do them—in fact, I would not be able to be in a relationship with such a person.

This answer has nothing to do with cheating on a spouse. In fact, this includes being very open with ones’ spouse about the activity. If my spouse knows I love watercolour painting and he/she doesn’t enjoy it (or flat out, can’t paint), why would they care if I painted with other folks?

littlekori's avatar

if you are in a relationship and you feel that you are not being sexually satisfied and would rather go somewhere else to get it, then there is not need to be in that relationship.
i guess if it were me, i would not be okay with with it and i wouldnt want my loved one to be okay with me doing it either.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. On the surface it seem like good logic. If I like handball and she don’t then if I want to go play handball I find other like minds to enjoy the game with. Same if it were chess, Hearts, bowling, etc. However, I can enjoy those activities with people I hardly care about or know and I don’t have to be emotionally hot for them for me to have fun doing an activity with them. Plus it would be quite a feat for me to bring home an STD from bowling with someone or having a child pop in the picture. With sex it is usually done only with the opposite sex and rarely just with any Tom, Dick, Harry, Jane, Jill, or Janet. With sex it isn’t usually ”I have this itch and the 1st person of the opposite sex that shows I will scratch it with them”. With sex there is usually a connection in the mind, be it lust, infatuation, or believed love, to get naked with someone else is not as small a matter as many believe, even if seemingly done quickly and with ease.

I would ask before it even got there it was something that should have been a topic for high discussion. Even in areas of the bedroom you never can assume just where the other’s limits and boundaries are. I think people are too quick to go off boinking in a relationship because somehow that has become the benchmark to where the relationship is going. It is almost as if your relationship is DOA or on life support if you have not swapped body fluids by date #3.

To use the excuse “I had to because I wasn’t getting completed in the relationship” is a cop out or people who really are lost and don’t know themselves. No matter what the circumstances one should always be complete in themselves before getting into a relationship. The other person should just complement you not create you or fill some vacuum.

Lacking such I guess if they are both feeling incomplete and needing someone else other than their partner to try to fill that gap and they are both agreed they can fill it outside their union I guess no one can say they can’t try. The danger is what if one or the other starts to feel they are completed by their fling? It would then be very illogical to stay in the relationship you are in. That would also logically say you are not committed to the relationship good or bad because the moment something better comes you jump ship and board another vessel.

If everything was cool in the relationship but one was bored sexually then they should talk about it to find common ground or a workable solution. They should be able to do that if they were ever seriously committed in the 1st place.

Raevarin's avatar

That is a question that has many questions inside of it. If they are married, not at all. If you are married and took your vows, though words can be broken, and committed yourself to someone why cheat when it comes to the sexual nature? As for activities there are somethings men and women do that are different. A good example would be I like to go four-wheeling, snow machine riding and stuff like that, my wife does not so I go out and get that thrill with my buddies and what not. She like to partake in activities I don’t particularly enjoy so she goes and does those with her friends. Though “open” relationships are out there it makes no sense to choose someone to commit to and not to find some level to enjoy one another on that deep of an emotional level such as sex.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

This only goes to prove how new monogamy is to us. We are still struggling with our past nature of finding as many people to satisfy our needs as possible. In a way, when we just used to breed and leave each other and have more frivolous relations it might have been easier because we didn’t know exactly what we needed sexually.

I sometimes think we most likely had emotional relations and intimate relations separately.

Sometimes people have to learn to compromise. What are they willing to go without? Other times it can be more beneficial for them to have a polygamous relationship.

Londongirl's avatar

I think monogamy is very important in a relationship, it is part of forming a intimate relationship. You will emotionally drive away from your partner if you have less intimatcy, then you become good friend. So why not be a good friend instead of being in a relationship?

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