It’s not that I find love dull and finalizing in disaster. It’s that I find love enduring, incredibly strong, and a bit addictive.
I spent three years being polyamorous—which ended up to being a terrible fit for me personally—and have joined forces with monogamy again. As someone with intense trauma in relationships, I find my experience with monogamy to be the best arrangement for my emotional and mental state of mind. However, monogamy doesn’t have to be lumped into feelings of jealousy, possession, and loss of freedom. It also always doesn’t have to compute into the idea of “forever.”
A 2012 article on Gulf News sums it up perfectly, “If you hate your job, change it. If you’ve drifted apart from your friend, make a new one. Why isn’t it the same with partners? Yes, we live in a disposable society. So, what? Just because you love your iPhone4, it doesn’t stop you wanting an iPhone4s. It’s the world we live in. Deal with it.”
One in five heterosexual Americans have cheated when in a relationship. Chances of infidelity isn’t a reason to practice polyamory but I understood the idea that lust and temptation are unavoidable, especially in long-term relationships. Even now, I think that eventually I will open up my relationship, but that doesn’t have to happen any time soon. I’m comforted by our current state of monogamy but am not adamantly against the idea of being non-monogamous. I think most of this ease stems from my idea that “forever” is entirely antiquated and outdated. The real belief that my partner and I can be together—happily— until we are 80 sounds movie-star romantic, but in all honestly is very slim in reality.
I find that monogamy doesn’t have to be a dishonest stifling of emotions, attractions, and lustful thoughts. Our idea that we don’t have these thoughts is, in fact, incredibly dishonest. Urges and temptations exist and they shouldn’t be denied in thought and for some, in practice.
Myisha Battle, a certified sex coach says that people are already eradicating the idea of the “one” or “forever.” She says, “Many people believe that they will have multiple loves in their lifetime and have come to accept that as part of living a full life. This may be the product of the rise of divorce and seeing parents re-partner or remarry. I also think we’re seeing this in dating trends where folks are delaying marriage in order to gather sex and relationship experience before settling down.”
Having a type of agreement in a monogamous relationship is another important factor. We know that in non-monogamous relationships agreements are essential for success. But what about with monogamous couples? Do they default to the idea of “forever,” or do they also need a foundation for the future and what that may look like? Myisha says, “Does your monogamy include being able to watch porn? What about masturbation? Strip clubs? Lap dances or no?” She continues,”These are the types of conversations I wish more people were having. Polyamorous relationships often rely on relationship agreements to establish the parameters of the relationship and I think monogamous relationships should consider implementing them as well.”
Vanity Fair spoke to Walter Brackelmanns, the so-called, “grandfather” of sex therapy about love and relationships. He bluntly says that being in love is a “transient psychotic state,” and that is lasts “roughly two to four years, as oxytocin floods your brain, it is a feeling like being on drugs and marked by obsession and anxiety.” I can’t not agree with Brackelmanns as I look back on my three long-term relationships—all averaging 3-4 years in total. He goes on to say, “If you want to maintain the fleeting feeling of being ‘in love’ for the rest of your life you have to keep rotating partners every one to four years.” This is a serial monogamy outlook that many of us have come to understand. Obviously, I don’t look at my very happy relationship presently and think, “Well we have two more years left in us before one of us moves on.” My hopes are still high and I’m very much wrapped up in love. I’m not committed to looking at the person I’m with and not imagining my life with them.
But, if I look at my immediate family tree, almost everyone has been divorced (besides my grandparents and an aunt and uncle). My role-models don’t encourage a positive argument of a monogamous, forever, love. So am I jaded? Possibly. Am I bitter about my parents divorce which was the result of infidelity? Of course. Or am I being too negative? I would rather use the word, “realistic.” Sure, my partner and I may be grey haired together in 40 years from now or we may decide to part ways next week. Once the pressure of finding the “one” is released, I was able to fully love people for who they are and also understand when a relationship should end (no matter how hard I wanted to fight for it). My first long-term relationship was when I was eighteen and we remained in our relationship longer than we should have, basing it solely off of marriage and eternity. But I want to make this work because I will never love anyone like you! and Even though our dreams are terrifyingly different and we’re probably holding each other back, you’re the one for me! were common ideas that kept my partner and I continuously returning to one another. This becomes unhealthy and quite disastrous as a couple and as an individual.
The book, “The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity” by Esther Perel talks about new monogamy. What monogamy meant before is an idea of marriage and a sealed commitment, but now monogamy means committing to one person at a time through a series of long-term relationships.
Perel writes about the ideas of marriages in her book: “Contained within the small circle of the wedding band are vastly contradictory ideals. We want our chosen one to offer stability, safety, predictability, and dependability… and we want that very same person to supply awe, mystery, adventure, and risk.” She advises people to think clearly about expectations from their partner and like, Myisha says, discuss openly and freely about possible agreements.
I still believe in love, more than ever. It’s not that I find love dull and finalizing in disaster. It’s that I find love enduring, incredibly strong, and a bit addictive. For me, monogamy works right now. In the next few years, I may seek polyamory again. I do know that like sexuality, my arrangement with love, is fluid and I expect my thoughts to fluctuate on this topic for the rest of my life.
And while I may not be sure of how long my love will last, I do know that I love him now and tomorrow and for me, that is enough.
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