Take a basic biology class and the first thing you will learn, is that we're all animals.
Of course, we have forgotten this as we discovered long ago that in many ways, we are better than those who crawl on all-fours and lick their babies clean. However, there are some primal instincts that we may never evolve past and I'm curious as to whether non-monogamy is one of them.
After all, there's no cuffin' in the jungle.
We sigh and roll our eyes when men plea that monogamy is not a natural way of life, but are they reaching or being real?
Now, before you curse me, know that I am, and have always valued and preferred monogamy. The problem is, that for every one man who values the practice of monogamy, there are two who would opt to creep around.
Many of you will probably read this line for line, shaking your head and mumbling, "Nah sis." I know this because that's been me, as I have also secretly judged and dismissed the success stories of those who practice ethical non-monogamy.
However, the more I learn about ways we've been socialized and how most of said socialization has hindered us, I can't help but wonder if monogamy, a social construct, has been holding us back from our best and happiest lives yet.
Disney Princesses, fairy tales, and commercialized holidays such as Valentine's and Sweetest Day, have conditioned us to value a lifestyle with "the one" rather than the real thing. Even if it's only "the one" for the moment and not forever, there are bragging rights given to couples lucky enough to find out what a monogamous relationship actually looks like...even if that monogamy isn't reciprocated.
But what if these rigid social constructs were never put in place? What if we challenged ourselves to understand that we can never be everything and all to one human being? What would our fairy tales look like? What would the idea of heartbreak come to be?
As someone who has been cheated on multiple times and settled for subpar relationships, I've been asking myself each of the above questions.
Specifically, I've wondered if there would be more intimacy and less deception if we were to model our our perception of relationships in the image of non-monogamy.
Practices like polygamy, polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are forms of non-monogamy, and are being practiced by couples everyday. Each of these archetypes can be altered to meet the needs of each individual within that relationship. I've vicariously learned through others who practice non-monogamy that however you choose to operate, the big key is communication. Some might even say open relationships require more communication than those that are monogamous.
If I could find the gumption, my ideal non-monogamous relationship is practiced through polyamory.
I would have a primary partner and we would grant each other the freedom to date others. Don't get me wrong, this is not to be confused with casual f*cking. But I can say that I would like to know when my partner meets someone who they feel is worthy of splitting our time. I would personally prefer that my partner keep the details to a minimum. Although some couples like to meet their primary partner's secondary partners, it's definitely not my style.
As disheartening as it is to speak this truth, I must admit that I've come to expect men to cheat, but would never privy a potential partner to that information. There is logic that states that a man who lies is a man not worth forgiving. There are exceptions to this rule however, particularly when we hear the truth from the horse's mouth.
These are real thoughts that I've heard from a number of women, friends and strangers alike. Whether that includes you or not is unbenounced to me. What I do know is that the struggle that comes with turning a blind eye, meanwhile crying into a pillow, also comes with an alternative that might just be ethical non-monogamy.
My vision of polyamory involves a relationship where I don't feel jealous and possessive in learning that my partner shares chemistry and attraction to others...naturally.
I would love a brunch bae, a vacay bae, and someone else with whom I connect to supplement the experiences, desires, and even intimacy that one partner may be lacking or unable to fulfil, no matter how much they wish they could.
Without the pressure of being someone's everything, I think that I would be able to embrace connections as they were, instead of whipping out my thorough-ass checklist to make sure that my man has it all going on.
This standard is impossible and will only lead us back to disappointment.
If I'm really to believe that we as human beings cannot be everything for one person, I then have to believe that both my partner and I could be more wholly satisfied in love by pursuing this unconventional practice. But this can only happen if we detach ourselves from the ideal that we're only entitled to one.
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Originally published July 26, 2018