Monogamy, i.e. eternal fidelity with a partner, used to stand for the optimal relationship model. Nowadays this is a bit different - at least according to relationship coach and speaker Melanie Mittermaier. The affair manager believes: "There are people who are a bit too curious and too open. These people need to pull themselves together and bend over backwards in a monogamous relationship." To ensure monogamy is still guaranteed, couples form fences with barbed wire around their relationships, according to the expert: "They award the surrounding area and believe that this protects their relationship. No wonder, because cheating is one of the most blatant no-go's in our society. Statistically speaking, one in two has cheated at least once in their lives. And one out of three people in the current relationship is supposedly doing it.
Melanie Mittermaier: "The probability of being part of a triangle at some point in life is much higher than the probability of eternal fidelity. But judging the whole thing doesn't help. Because even barbed wire can't stop cheating. The expert says, "Cheating is part of life. It's part of life and it will always be part of life."
Of cheating and polyamory
The good news: cheating does not necessarily mean the end of the relationship. Melanie Mittermaier tells: "It happened to me too: I fell in love with someone else. And in such a way that I could no longer eat, sleep or think. I was totally torn between butterflies in my stomach and the knowledge that I shouldn't feel this feeling at all - let alone live it out.
And what do you do in a time of need? You sit down and google. Melanie Mittermaier: "Google told me that besides closed relationships in which no one gets out and no one gets in, there are also open relationships and polyamory. That means it is possible to love several people at the same time. So I took a closer look at the concept of monogamy and dealt with it in depth."
The expert has now been working with all three sides of triangular relationships for five years: "I have learned one thing. The sentence 'Honey, it's not what you think' is always true. It is never the way the deceived think. However, it is also not how the cheating person believes and certainly not how the lover thinks. The lover thinks for example, the husband waits for an opportunity to break up with his wife.
Cheating: The different sides of the relationship
Statistically speaking, only one man in ten separates from his wife. Melanie Mittermaier thinks: "A mistress is not a man thief. Because in order to steal a man, he would have to belong to someone else first. A mistress is also not to blame if a relationship breaks down. Couples can usually manage to drive a relationship into the wall completely unaided."
Moreover, the victim in an affair does not necessarily have to have been the victim in the relationship. It takes more and more people to create a mess. Melanie Mittermaier: "It is a myth that only unhappy couples cheat. When I fell in love with someone else, I was not unhappy at all. On the contrary: my husband and I had overcome a crisis and were on a great relationship level. I fell in love with someone else anyway."
Instead of cheating: Are open relationships the solution?
The affair manager wonders why jealousy and possessiveness should be better than infatuation: "Why shouldn't it be possible to fall in love more often in life? After ten years of marriage, I then had these conversations with my husband for the first time. We decided to remove our fences, dismantle the barbed wire and clear the area of 'cheating'.
Opening the relationship bit by bit was not a walk in the park, but hard work. Melanie Mittermaier: "An open relationship is challenging. For us, freedom has a high value and we both find it great. And I love being monogamous - most of the time." According to the expert, monogamy has nothing to do with love and is also not a law of nature: "We are not vegetarians by nature, but we can still decide to stop eating meat." Whether it's permanent but so healthy is a matter for everyone to decide for themselves.
What love really is
The expert also finds that Hollywood and Disney have installed completely untenable relationship models: "We believe we can find everything in one person for a lifetime - the best friend, the best dad and the hottest lover. And instead of investing in the relationship and having the really tricky conversations with the partner, the couples prefer to add a layer of barbed wire around their relationship. And if, despite maximum security, someone tends to cheat, then there's the death penalty - separation."
But do we have to? Melanie Mittermaier: "In my view, a divorce rate of 50 percent is far too high. We could learn to deal with the issues differently and not always throw in the towel. Monogamy does not harm love. It is ultimately a form of relationship that can work, but does not have to. It can be okay for ten or twenty years, and then it might need renegotiating."
For if monogamy prevents us from developing as a couple, then according to the expert, it is very damaging: "What our love and our relationships need is generosity and goodness. Love is a child of freedom and needs openness in the mind and not necessarily in bed. What love needs above all else is a space in which it can unfold."