There’s been a lot of talk lately about whether monogamy is a tenable situation for marriage or long-term relationships. A fairly prominent Sydney blogger, Sam Brett (apparent dating and sex guru), recently shared a screen on Sunrise with US psych and monogamish (like monogamist but only somewhat), Chris Ryan, where they argued the virtues of virtue. I don’t watch Sunrise and I can’t find the footage but I assume it went something like this, “Monogamy isn’t natural,” “But people make a choice!” And then people cried and wrote in with that new fandangled email thing about how they’ve been in love for 76 years and then Kochie wrapped it up with some finance news.
I tried to tune in to Sunrise this morning as they were running a story titled something along the lines of ‘Would you stay with a cheater?’ I was late to work and I still didn’t manage to catch the episode but I’m sure it was both entertaining and insightful. So why the absolute eff is there so much media coverage about monogamy and adultery lately? I don’t know, maybe it’s because Ashton Kutcher cheated on Demi (who saw that one coming?), maybe it’s because there’s been an increase in divorce rates with adultery listed as the cause (this is unverified, does anyone list anything besides irreconcilable differences as the cause for divorce?), maybe it’s just some moral-panic inducing crap. Whatever, anyway it’s out there, so let’s hit this one on the head.
Okay Sunrise aside, the idea of monogamy is an interesting one. Defined as sole commitment to one person at a time, generally through marriage. I guess not everyone gets married so let’s say it’s being intimate with only one person at a time (not like a new person every day, out of the gutter people). So intimacy is what exactly? You don’t sleep with anyone else, what about kissing? What about touching? What about emotional bond? Or connection, chemistry, everything that makes your lover your partner?
Let’s say it’s all of those things, but that the feeling of passionate love and the act of sexual intercourse are paramount to it being a true defined relationship. Are human beings capable of having this with only one person at a time? I say yes, absolutely. Capable and committing to it are two very different things though.
Chris Ryan argues that humans aren’t biologically hardwired for monogamy and that monogamy is a social and cultural construct. I don’t know how you’d test for this biologically and I’d argue that non-monogamy is actually a social and cultural construct as is the idea of the relationship.
Intellectually, non-monogamy made complete sense; emotionally, it felt like sandpaper across my eyelids.”
― Zoe Whittall
Exactly what that Canadian lesbian polygamist said! It’s doesn’t feel natural for humans to not be monogamous either. But if you want me to prove things with [very loosely classified and researched] science, quite a few animals mate for life:
- Black vultures (and these bad-ass motherfuckers attack other vultures that are caught philandering)
- French angelfish
- Prairie voles
- Turtle doves
- Bald eagles
- Schistosoma mansoni worms (parasitic worms that are monogamous in human hosts. Cute!)
So it’s not impossible and I don’t think people should be given an easy out when they do fuck up and break everything they and their partner built for themselves. I don’t understand this at all. Cheating is pretty much one of the worst things you could do to someone else and I would personally spit on you in the street if I found out you did it. You spend your whole pitiful, little life searching for a person that adds enough value to your life that you integrate them into it. And then you keep looking to see if you can find someone better? If you think there’s someone better out there for you, cool. Don’t settle. Go out and find them instead, asshole. If you stop loving your partner, cool. Man up and leave them, spend some time alone and figure out what you want. You don’t die from being alone, but you do die when your wife cuts your dick off for being unfaithful.
If you don’t believe in monogamy, fine. You do have a choice but that gets laid out on the table when you meet someone. That way everyone’s got a fair idea of what to expect and they get to choose whether this is acceptable to them. They don’t have to come home and find you in bed with their best friend/your best friend/the maid/the pool guy/their boss/your boss etc.
If Chris Ryan is right, and I doubt he is, there are plenty of people who worship at the altar of non-monogamy. Look at this amazingly idiotic graph of relationship statuses from his book:
So go out and find that person who digs the 100 mile rule. You might just meet someone in a bar who loves unicorn polyamory relations. Date a hooker if you want to. Just be fucking honest about what you want, what you expect, what you’ll tolerate and what you won’t. And make sure they are too.
And if you do find the apparent love of your life in bed with their escort/best friend/ neighbour – my advice? Run. You don’t get past that, you don’t move on, you don’t forget it and you never trust them in the same way.
Wait, how would I know? I don’t know you, I don’t know your relationship and I don’t know how much love is there. Blah blah. I do know how much love is there – none. They cheated on you – that’s a pretty clear indication that they can’t/won’t/are unable to love you at all/like you need to be. If it does happen, you’re probably going to think that if this is the love of your life, you should stay and fix it. Eventually, you will probably realise that if this was the love of you life, there is no way they would have done that to you, to themselves and to your relationship. Then hopefully you’ll toss that sucker to the curb and and won’t have to listen to any more of their boring bullshit or keep going to get STD tests like they were the latest craze.
On the other hand, if you cheat on someone, get caught (or even don’t) and decide you can’t bear to lose your partner over a mere slip of the penis, run. You can bet your bottom dollar they are going to fuck you up.
So fuck that kids, don’t settle for any loser whose values don’t coincide with yours. If you want total monogamy, put that shit out there. If you want to date forty people at the same time, have those forty awkward conversations. If they want you to compete with other potential suitors, tell them to sod off. No one gets to be confused about you, you’re a fucking rock star, baby.