I’m not polyamorous but I’m not monogamous what am I?
So when it comes to what sort of relationships we are “allowed” to have, the world presents us with a pretty shitty menu with only a single option on it and that’s Monogamous, Cohabiting Romantic Relationship usually served with a Side Order of Children in the normal ratio of 2.4. (yawn). I found this cool “The School Of Life” video and thought it would be a good basis for a blog.
Considering this is the standard of normal, we are meant to develop overwhelming emotional and sexual feelings for that one special person, who we then make to be a combination of our best friend, our sole sexual partner, a co-parent, our therapist, our travel companion and soulmate. We will live exclusively in one house, our bed, for the rest of our life, in substantial harmony and with an active tolerance for each other’s foibles and ongoing desire for their evolving appearance, till death do us part.
What is striking, for this arrangement and is supposed to be entirely normal, is how many people cannot abide by the rules. At least half flunk yeah 50%, and then some muddle along in quiet desperation. Studies have shown only around 15% of the population, yeah only 15 out of 100 people, admit to being totally satisfied, a thought inducing low percentage for a choice that claims universal validity.
Those who can’t get on with Romantic Monogamous Marriage are diagnosed as suffering from a variety of psychological disorders:
- Fear of intimacy,
- Sexual addiction,
- Boundary issues,
- Childhood trauma
We powerfully imply that someone might be psychologically ill if they don’t want to keep having sex exclusively with the same partner or seek to spend every other weekend apart or want to develop a close friendship elsewhere. But there might be another approach. This one is drawn from the work of advocates of gay rights, namely
That any taste or inclination must by definition be acceptable and non-pathological, except in so far as it might hurt the unwilling or unconsenting.
From this perspective, while many ways of life might be different from society’s presently preferred option, it cannot be right to judge, correct, amend and seek to educate all those attracted to them. With this in mind, the menu we mentioned earlier should use starts to look very different. With additions to the one option of Romantic Monogamy, we should add in all the kinds of alternative ways of living could be devised.
The Parenting Relationship
This one is formed first and foremost towards the well-being of children, where parents are free to form unions with other parties, once the welfare and security of the kids are assured. This one saves them from a broken home and allows the parents to grow.
The Monogamish Relationship
“Something like monogamy” Monogamish stands for couples in intimate relationships in that both partners have admitted they cannot live by the rules of strict monogamy but have so far not joined any other type of relationship.
The Separate Spheres Relationship
A joining of partners that understands that no two people should ever be expected to be in total proximity night after night. Respecting the role of certain kinds of privacy in contributing to emotional well-being and a robust sense of self. This is the kind of relationship I am currently in or well building towards, my poly is not your poly kind of way.
The Yearly Renegotiated Relationship
A relationship that is accepted by both parties as having only a one-year assured lifespan, after which it must be re-negotiated but without any presumption that it will necessarily be so or resentment if it is not. Just think of the rose-tinted glasses before any insecurity sets in this can surprisingly fruitful and aphrodisiacal side-effects, always winning the next election.
The Love-or-Sex Union
This recognises the difficulty of fusing love and sex in one couple and makes the possibility of dividing the two and seeking fulfillment from alternative sources, non-tragic, unshameful and predictable. Think solo swinging.
We all know in love
We accept an absence of choice that would be intolerable in other areas of life. We consent to wear a uniform that cannot possibly fit our varied shapes, and without daring to make even minor moves to assemble our own wardrobe. All our collective energies go into creating astonishing varieties of foods, machines, and entertainments, while the entity that dominates our lives our relationships continues in a format more or less unchanged for 200 years.
Think of a world of liberation if, whenever a new couple came together, it was assumed that they almost certainly would not go along with the romantic monogamous template and that it was up to them to discuss, upfront, and in good faith and without insult, the arrangements that would ideally satisfy their natures. Within the new business world, we are giving extra marks for innovation and out-of-the-box schemes so why not in our private lives.
In the not distant past, our male offspring of the European upper classes had only two career options, to join the army or to join the church. This slim mindedness was eventually dismissed as nonsense and eradicated, and the average citizen of a developed country now has at least 4,000 job options to choose from. We should strive for the expansion of our menus of love. We are not so much bad at relationships, as unable to understand our needs without shame. We should be sticking up politely for what makes us content, inventing practical arrangements that could stand a chance of honoring our complex emotional reality.
Now you might be one of the 15% yeah I get that and this blog is currently getting about 2million hits a month so that’s going to be 300000 people but I am also sure if you have come along this post then you are already thinking monogamy is not the right option for you. My ask for you and you and you is to talk to your partners find a solution that works for you, if you fit into one of the types above GREAT but innovate and make a relationship for you.