A privilege of monogamy
First let me start with something I repeat often but shouldn’t go unsaid in an article like this.
I’ve got nothing against monogamy. It is a valid choice, there is nothing wrong with it, and anyone that wants a monogamous relationship should go ahead and have one. Now, I’m not sure if it’s a great relationship default setting, but that isn’t the fault of monogamy and I don’t hold it against the relationship model.
The fact that it is the default setting does give it a lot of privileges. Monogamy is seen as right and “normal” and proper. Other relationship choices are seen as “weird” or deviant or just “wrong.” This bias is really too bad, because it keeps people from examining the merits of other relationship choices or the flaws in monogamy.
Let’s face it, monogamy is actually pretty rare over the course of the years in much of the world. I mean sure, lots of people can manage to stay monogamous for a long time, but how many more people who claim to be monogamous either cheat outright, or just break up so they can start a new monogamous relationship with someone else.
And here is the privilege that I’d like to point out. Back when I was still monogamous I heard this conversation more than one. “Did you here our friend who was in an open relationship broke up?” “I sure did. I knew that open relationship thing would never work.” Heck, I didn’t just here that conversation I HAD that conversation.
But when monogamous people break up, (or when somebody cheats and they have a hard time but don’t break up) nobody ever says “see, I TOLD them that monogamy would never work.” And why not? Why is the end of every open relationship an indictment of the relationship model, but nobody ever stops to wonder if monogamy is to blame for so much relationship misery?
And just to tie this up in a bow, we treat relationships ending like it is such an awful event. And sometimes it is, I’ve been through breakups that I thought were going to end me. But it doesn’t have to be. It can just be time to change how you relate to someone. It doesn’t have to come with drama and spin and heartbreak. Longevity is not the only measure of success in a relationship. We have this “till death do us part” mentality that makes us thing that if the relationship ends before someone dies then we failed, and it’s really quite a ridiculous notion. A relationship can have a beginning and a middle and an end and be a wonderful experience the entire time.