Thursday, December 10, 2009

Questioning Monogamy

I'm really loving how Tiger Woods's extramarital affairs have inspired a variety of writers to write columns that question monogamy.  (For your very own "Question Monogamy" t-shirt, go here.)    For example, two online articles published today make some especially interesting points.  Huffington Post brings us Jay Michaelson's It's Not Just Tiger: Monogamous Marriage Is An Anomaly , and Newsweek Online just published my girl Jenny Block's The Case Against Monogamy - Why is everyone so surprised about Tiger Woods? When it comes down to it, monogamy doesn't always work.

What I love about all this is that it is drawing attention to the notion that because monogamy is so difficult for many to make work over the long term, everyone needs to wise up to the fact that monogamy should be an intentional choice, not something people do just because they think they're supposed to. 

Other polyamory advocates and I have been saying this very thing for a long time.  None of us contends that monogamy is wrong, or bad, or uncool, or especially inferior.  We just want people to know that they have another legitimate option, and that for some polyamory may work better and be more ethical than monogamy. 

Whatever way people arrange their intimate lives, committing to monogamy by rote because it's what we are "supposed" to do is clearly a bigger risk than most people realize and can result in tremendous heartbreak for those who find it more difficult to stick with than they anticipated.  It's also a mistake for those who hope they can give it lip service while sneaking around behind their monogamous partner's back, which appears to be Tiger Woods's bankrupt strategy. 

Though we polyamorists are often villified for our choices, I am proud to say that I will never cheat on a partner, and neither are any partners likely to cheat on me, because none of us has to.  We make relationship agreements we can stick to, and if we find we no longer can, then we talk with our partners and renegotiate the rules of the relationship.  In this way trust is maintained.  Jenny gets it SO right when she say of her partnerships ....

"We love each other and want to be together, but monogamy is not the cornerstone of our partnership—trust is."

May it some day be so for everyone, no matter what their relationship choice. 

1 comment:

Lorelei said...

Monogamy/Fidelity is one of my most interesting topics of study right now. I agree, the Woods media blowout has really made the topic more popular.