Monogamy. Illusion or Reality? Outdated concept or a vital path for humanity?
When processing infidelity a betrayed partner or spouse travels a long and bumpy road. We struggle to answer questions like, how could my partner do this while still claiming to love me? We ask ourselves what is wrong with us that our partners could not be happy loving only us and how can I ever trust him/her again? We search hard to flush out some sort of understanding, some way to accept it, but also some way to feel protected from it happening again. Some reassurance of our odds for safety. As though understanding it might some how give us the tools to protect ourselves in the future.
In the course of my path I have stumbled on the concept of monogamy. Not stumbled upon it, as in discovered the concept. Stumbled on it, as in I can no longer reconcile the concept of monogamy with my new reality. In my particular case, the question of whether a man is capable of being faithful while also being happy and fulfilled. Yes, a few rare men remain faithful to their commitments. Do they do so willingly? Are they fulfilled or just sustaining? The short question goes back to the beginning….what are my odds that this will not happen again?
In my own personal search for these answers I stumbled upon author and sociologist Eric Anderson and his book the Monogamy gap. Now to be clear and upfront about this, I have not read the book. I haven’t read the book because the reviews, interviews, blogs etc that I have read or watched, regarding the book have confused and conflicted me intensely. I have very very mixed emotions on this concept of cheating as rational choice. 1) I am enraged and offended as I hold tightly to my fairytale belief in monogamy and the pursuit of a sacred love between two people. 2) I am a realist and I know the reality of cheating and the statistics of cheating 3) I’m human. I have felt attraction many times, for many people over the years. I’m a sexual creature and have felt sexual attraction for others, even in the course of my relationships. My belief in the fairytale offset my desire to experience those people but I can’t deny the fantasy of having multiple lovers. 4) Although I am easily able to reject the fantasy in favor of something greater and hopefully more satisfying, the odds are against those of us who do.
The argument that monogamy is un-natural and a social constraint is not new. It’s been used as an excuse for cheating for ever. But a voice in my head relentlessly whispers ..what if it’s true, what if it’s nature I’m up against, what if I am fighting for something that can never work, is destined to fail… will hurt me at some point in time regardless of anything I do or give or try or pray for? What then?…
How do I feel about loving multiple people? Am I capable of loving one and sexing many? Am I capable of sexing many and loving none? Or loving myself enough to remain single? What happens when the social constraints of monogamy give way to something else? To free sexual expression without any backlash, any judgements. Will we have moved forward in society or will we have moved backwards? Are we then just slaves to the base animal needs, denying the deeper more sacred potentials within ourselves?
This topic creates more questions for me than it answers..I am no where near resolving this issue and even though it causes me an intense level of distress and conflict emotionally…I can’t seem to walk away from it or move on from it until I have resolved in my own mind and my own heart, what truth is. Do I believe in monogamy? It’s a little heartbreaking for me to say that I no longer can answer that with certainty. Do I desire it? Of course I do. It’s why I am still fighting through this recovery. Do I have faith in it? No. Absolutely none. It is my main obstacle to finding trust in my partner. Do I see value in monogamous relationships? Yes. I see amazing potential and the highest most rewarding values in it. But I also recognize my attraction to fairytales.
I’ve tried repeatedly to upload these two interviews but have been unable so I will simply paste the youtube links here.
I would be greatly interested in your thoughts on these interviews.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilIZ0Lj0hQc Interview Part 1