I wrote a piece called, “Monogamy in Gay Couples,” that has received a great deal of attention and a lot of comments. Although say, “Haven’t we beaten this subject to death?” and others profess to only subscribe to monogamy, a lot of others have mentioned that we love the idea of monogamy but just aren’t very good at it.
Erotic love diminishes and/or dies in a relationship, some would say after the first year. Couple become delusioned when their sex life seems to generate the same excitement it once did, but that is the progression of all relationships. Some accept that and look for ways in the relationship to rediscover excitement; other turn to others outside the relation for that or to bring in a third party to pump up the excitement.
Dan Savage speaks of “monogamish” relationships where there are intermittent brief departures from the rules of monogamy, and I’ve often suggest that perhaps we should have a free hall pass to explore a larger world, similar to the rumspringa in Amish communities. “Rumspringa” is translated into English as a period of “jumping or hopping around.” Its function is a period free of the constraints of the Amish community such that once the person gets this out of their system they can make an informed consent about returning to the more rigid restrictions of the community.
Perhaps all relationships could benefit from this freedom, a chance to discover that perhaps that freedom wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and the person returns to a stronger commitment to the values of the community or the relationship.
Many of us value monogamy, but we’re not very good at it, and there is a pressure to terminate a relationship if the boundaries of the relationship were breached: “One a cheater, always a cheater. Get rid of him/her.”
I believe that infidelity is more about lies and deception that it is about what one does with their genitalia, and you seem to recognize that that was your primary failing. I agree. Trust can be re-established. It does require forgiving yourself but it also involves accepting responsibility for your behavior and also a sense of empathy for what the other person experienced. The apology also demands a promise not to re-offend, but that might also involve a mutual agreement about re-negotiating the rules of the relationship to make it more monogamish or to allow for a rumspringa.