Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Amory - M or P?

I met a young woman the other night who is looking for a new place to live. She wants her own place she says. She's tired of living with other people. She is currently living in a large open studio with 5 other people, all polyamorous. She implied they were polyamorous with one another.

Well, I thought, THAT beats every lifestyle choice I've ever tried!

I have had two periods of committed non-monogamy/polyamory and once I had two lovers who were friends with one another and were aware that they were both sleeping with me (although never in the same month interestingly). The men I involved myself with during these periods were, by and large, also not interested in relationships and also engaging in multiple partners. Some of them preferred not to know that I was seeing other people; some of them drove me crazy with requests for intimate details of the others.

While my friends have always respected my life style choices and supported me, I have often suspected that some of them 'worried' about my choices. There is a pervasive suspician of people who chose not to settle down into monogomous relationships. There must be something wrong with them. They must suffer from low self-esteem; otherwise they wouldn't be jumping in and out of a different bed every week.

Right now, I'm at a place where I would welcome a life love (in case you hadn't figured that out). However, I haven't always felt that way; may not always feel this way and certainly I'm sure there are plenty of people who never feel this way. Do I feel like I'm 'ready' and/or interested in a partnership because I am somehow 'healthier' than I was when I less interested? or just more lonely? or am I just a 'relationship' person at heart. Or perhaps I just don't have the energy to 'buck' the trend and continually tolerate the pity of others who think I'm doing myself more harm than good by multi-dating.

Is monogamy the last bastion of sex / gender liberation? If and when we completely get a handle on sexism and hetero-sexism, will monogamy be the next to go?

Of course, not all life-mates are monogamous and some polyamorous relationships are long lasting and rewarding (apparently - although I've never personally met one). While 'open' relationships apparently do exist, it would seem that infidelity is far more common. According to the Ashley Madison Agency, a highly successful internet dating company catering specifically to married people seeking extra-marital affairs, "the percentage of those who say they have had affairs ranges from 25% to 75% of all males and 15% to 60% of all women" . Even more interesting is that according to the same article, the Kinsey report in 1953 found that "26 percent of wives and 50 percent of husbands said they had had a least one affair by the time they were 40 years old."

So - why are we still so intent on monogamy as the ideal?

I'm all for people being happy and fulfilled in their choices - whatever they may be. However, it's always harder to be happy and fulfilled in your choice when you know that others don't respect your choice. I've never really thought monogamy was all it's cracked up to be: I've just resolved that generally.... it's easier.

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