In Praise of Monogamy (no you didn’t misread)

Posted on June 11, 2011


In Praise of Monogamy — Feministe. I have been having a very intense internal debate about this exact topic. I’m apparently vibing with a blogger at Feministe.  I appreciate the breakdown:

Polyamory: Usually emphasizes developing full-on romantic relationships with more than one partner. Lately I’ve been pondering and working on a number of tricky questions about implementing polyamory. (I’ve been researching polyamory since my teens, but only in recent years did I decide to actively pursue it.)

Swinging: Usually emphasizes couples with their own close bond, who have relatively casual sex with other partners. (Another difference between swinging and polyamory is that swingers tend to be more at home in mainstream culture, whereas polyamorists tend to be geeky or otherwise “alternative”. Here’s a great, long piece on poly culture vs. swing culture.)

Cheating: One partner does something with an outside partner that wasn’t accepted or understood in advance. In monogamous relationships, cheating usually involves having sex with an outside partner. Cheating exists in polyamorous or swing relationships as well: for example, a person might cheat on a non-monogamous partner by breaking an agreement — an agreement such as “we don’t have unprotected sex with other partners”.

though I believe whenever categories are used there are people who fall in between, outside, and all.  I’ve always been very interesting in Polyamory… until, that is, i felt like i was sustaining two relationships.  These are long distance relationships.  And it is fucking exhausting.  I can’t imagine if it was in person.  So then I did some reflecting on my dating history.  I love being in love (I think there are various types of love.. not just the we-should-be-together-forever kind). I don’t like being committed to one person.  I never wanted to hurt someone because the Universe sent someone I could learn more from my way.  And to be honest, I like the chase.  Liked the chase.  It was fun.  Now I think it was tied to the thrill I got out of being desired by someone, which is the society monster.  I currently have a lot less need to be desired for how I look.  I’d rather someone appreciate me mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  For who I am with all my nuances, complexities, and critical consciousness.  So do I still need to go out and have that fun?  What is holding me back from saying “yes, I jamie marie want to be in a committed relationship with another human being”????  Part of me thinks I’m scared of being that vulnerable.  Like I’m too tough for that mushy stuff.  HA! Part of me thinks it’s because once again the person I am involved with is a cis man and I feel like it reflects on who I am as a person if I get into a serious relationship with a man.  Like it’s too normal – because if i’m in a committed heterosexual monogamous relationship how do i know if it’s real? How do I know if it’s what I want or if it’s what I think I’m supposed to do.  At least if we’re not committed it’s not a normal relationship.  All the girls I go on dates with are nice, but not completely my type; and the women who are amazing that i would love to date are all straight! and you can just forget about meeting a gender queer person here.  So really I am incredibly lucky that the cis men I have been in relationships with are understanding of my sexuality and my gender and my, you know, entire world view in general.  I’m pretty out there. And what of love?  I know I have loved many people very deeply and a couple simultaneously… but what about that life long bond kind of love?   I believe that love is much more than biology.. it supersedes physical reality.  So while I say that I’ve never really had my heart broken, I think I am gun shy about entering that path again.. to want to feel that way again.  But back to the article:

(In fact, my most adamantly polyamorous friend used to call me his “reasonable monogamous friend”. He said I had examined polyamory enough to reasonably reject it, whereas he felt most people never consider polyamory deeply enough to have a thoughtful opinion.)

Reasonably monogamous.  That’s a new term that I need to mull over for a while.  Along with everything else. but back to the article.. the advantages of monogamy reinforce why I don’t want to be in a heterosexual relationship.  jealousy is not something i will tolerate in any relationship.  The focus one is kind of weird too but I understand it.

Societal acceptance.  I don’t want societies fucking acceptance. and yet if I’m in a hetero relationship it’s forced on me! And I have to go out of my way to explain to people who I am or suffer in their boxes while putting up with conversations that assume I just understand where they’re coming from because I’m a girl just like them and….. ok even thinking about this situation is making me claustrophobic and have mild anxiety.  I think a lot of my discomfort comes from the fact that right now my hair is pretty damn long and I present like a “regular” lady.  If I wasn’t on a mission to grow out my hair to donate it I would chop it immediately.  I love my short hair; hair is a social signifier to how we identify our genders (like it or not. and yes obviously straight women have pixie cuts). I think that having short hair, which makes me feel like me anyways, would make me more comfortable in a hetero relationship.

maybe i’m a swinger! All I know is that I need someone who is honest, open, trusting, who I can trust and communicate with and is respectful.  I think the rest will figure itself out.