After a lifetime of infidelity, self-proclaimed lifestyle guru Maxwell Billieon developed an approach to relationships which he describes as the "new monogamy." With Ray J as his case study, Billieon penned and published a self-help book entitled 'Death of the Cheating Man: What Every Woman Must Know About Men Who Stray,' which teaches readers to identify the "difference between being faithful and being committed," how to "stop enabling men to cheat" and contends that "women are the new men."
While Ray J still mourns the loss of his dear friend and lauded singer Whitney Houston, The BoomBox spoke with Billieon about the new read and his path to becoming a new man. While at first skeptical -- to say the least -- of his rhetoric, we discovered that his "new monogamy" is really just the old "open relationship" -- and it isn't the worst idea we've ever heard.
How did you choose to work with Ray J on the book?
I started writing my book in 2009, and I met Ray J on a joint project that we had in the entertainment business. He came to me and started talking about his cheating. He did not believe that men could be monogamous, that he didn't know any men who could be monogamous, and I told him that I was 100 percent monogamous and that I could teach him to do it. He did not believe me. So I took him on as a client, I took him on as a case study and I taught him the virtues of being a new man. I told him that the most important part of it would be to be honest with himself and that he would have to be honest with me. We set out and took a couple of months where he came to my office and he came to my house and told me what he's been through, and we walked through the steps and he decided and felt that traditional monogamy was not for him and he wanted to be a new monogamist. He learned the principles, and now he's set out to be a new man.
What can be gained by monogamy and honesty?
I'm a monogamist, I believe firmly in monogamy. But I believe in the new monogamy. Traditional monogamy meant that we fall in love and assume we have the same agenda and set out our lives based on the assumption of that particular agenda. New monogamy recognizes the fact that we may not have the same agenda. We know that that communication is the key to any great relationship, not just personal relationships but also business relationships. New monogamy tells us to put our communications on front street. First thing, this is what I want. This is what you want. Let's make an intelligent decision on whether our goals and agendas match up. Our missions -- do they match up, and if yes, than we can walk the path to monogamy together.
However, in traditional monogamy we would never have that conversation. We would fall in love, say, "I love you, you love me," we walk down the path and then maybe seven years later, maybe 35 years later, we fall apart. The new monogamy says that we are always going to communicate that we recognize that both people in the relationship can make the intelligent decision of what is right for them as an individual, so they can both walk down the path evolving together. So to me, traditional monogamy is dead. It's 100 percent about the new monogamy. In my conversations, women firmly agree with me. They just want the information; they just want to know everything from the start, so they can find the right mate and not have to worry about us cheating or leaving.
If women are the "new men," maybe cheating is not a reaction but something they're doing for themselves?
Well, no. Definitely not. Women are doing things based on reaction. A women's role in society has always been centered around their reaction to men, whether it be in relationships, fidelity, infidelity or how they came in to their ability to have the right to vote, getting an education past 8th grade, women's rights in America has always been based on what men had the right to do and women couldn't. Now, we have that same issue applying to infidelity, women feel that "Hey, if men can do it, so can we."
What does it mean for a woman to "pull a Yoko Ono?"
Ahh, one of my favorite discussions. Women love this particular conversation. Yoko Ono became notorious for a few reasons. They call her the woman who broke up the Beatles. But what Yoko Ono was really brilliant at was understanding a man's capabilities and more poignantly, understanding her husband's capability. And when she and her husband started having troubles, she felt that and that infidelity was starting to linger. She knew what her man was capable of, so instead of enabling him to cheat -- that's what most women do; by ignoring the signs, they enable their man to cheat -- she recognized the signs and decided she was going to take control of that side of him.
She hooked him up with a woman. She sent him off to Los Angeles to work on his record. She kept tabs on him. And when she felt that he had enough time when his records were finished and he had time to clear his head, she called him and told him it was time to come home. She got pregnant within months after he came back and when he passed away, she got his publishing.
Should we expect our role models, like the president or celebrities, to be monogamous in a traditional sense?
No, I think that we should be honest. I think we should stop grating our social role models based on traditionalism. We should start expecting them to be honest. If traditional monogamy is not for me, why would I expect the president to live under those rules? He should live under the rules that make him and his wife happy. Somehow it does not work out, it should be based on their ability to make that decision, but not because the president or our governor or senator has cheated. What we should expect from our social leaders is that they are honest. That they are honest with themselves, honest in their relationships, and therefore they are honest with us.
When you say new monogamist, do you mean "honest polygamist" or "polyamorist"?
No, because you don't necessarily need polyamory. You could still be in a traditionally monogamist relationship, it just means you have 100 percent open communications. A man could start today and decide that traditional monogamy is what he wants. But marriage is forever. It should be forever. Who you are at 30 isn't who you are at 60 and your woman, your man, your mate deserves to know that. It's not about being polyamorous or being polygamist. It's not about having more than one woman or more than one man, it's about being 100 percent open and honest with yourself that you can always do that with your mate.
When you and Ray J worked on the book, what kind of input did he have and did you guys disagree on anything.
None. I wrote the book.
He's on the cover though.
He's my case study.
I see. Was he an interesting case study?
I am 10 years older than Ray J, so he represents a different demographic. That is why I chose him. I could have chosen a lot of different social notables, lots of different entertainers that I know, but I chose him because he represents the younger demo. His demographic in particular is all about the cars and the champagne, popping bottles in the club. I wanted to showcase to my generation, as well as the younger generation, what the principles are. If I don't speak to that generation and to my generation, then tomorrow's generation will be cheating as well.