There is a consensus in our culture that monogamy is normal and that good people are naturally monogamous; that only bad, psychologically-ill or deficient people have a problem with it. I say that’s bollocks. I say that monogamy is unnatural and those who manage it only do so by accident, ie lack of opportunity.
A belief in sexual monogamy is ridiculous enough, but many believe in the notion of emotional monogamy, as well. Many believe that when you love someone you are incapable of loving anyone else and that merely having an emotional connection with another is an act of infidelity even if no loving behaviour occurs with the interloper. I say that, too, is bollocks.
Being monogamous means being a slave to the relationship. Being ‘allowed’ only one intimate emotional connection at a time means:
– We have no right to an independent existence.
– We have no right to our natural, emotional, thinking responses to life’s encounters. We have no right to our own thoughts and feelings.
– We have no right to pursue our own interests.
– We have no right to choose our own friends.
– We have no right to spend our time according to our own inclinations.
– Our body and mind belong to our partner as his/her personal, private property and they own the right to decide how we live our lives and who we share our experiences with.
Pretty unreasonable, huh?
But people commonly use phrases such ‘I am yours’, ‘You are mine’ and ‘Hands off – s/he’s mine’, proving their allegiance to the belief of private ownership. It extends to parenting, too: ‘Whose child is that?’ ‘Mine.’
The exclusivity that monogamy demands makes recluses out of couples. They shun others and believe they are ‘right’ and ‘good’ to do so. In their exclusive, reclusive state they only have each other to obtain solace for their isolation. ‘Co-dependency’ I believe that’s called by the label-creators.
So society becomes a rag-tag collection of reclusive co-dependent pairs who distance themselves from others and manage their psychological deprivation*. The sea of humanity is populated by two-person islands. No wonder it’s such a tragedy when a relationship fails – if individuals haven’t cultivated other intimate connections they’re plunged into a hell of loneliness. No wonder people are scared to end unhappy relationships – the alternative is worse – an unhappy relationship is better than no relationship. No wonder religions that preach love have a hard time being successful in such a climate of communal non-love.
(* By ‘psychological deprivation’ I mean the distress (mostly experienced subconsciously) that is felt at the lack of intimate emotional interaction with the wider community outside our immediate family, for which we are hard-wired. However, rather than believing we are hard-wired to connect, I adhere to the philosophy that says we are already connected, like individual points of awareness in a vast sea of consciousness. Therefore, to feel disconnected requires that an aversion to connection is conditioned into our minds during social education. Under such psychological conditions, searching for a mate is less about finding someone we can connect with, but finding someone with who we can suspend our aversion to connection.)
Has our obsession with exclusive, romantic, idealised love killed communities?
No one expects a parent to love only one child. No one expects a child to love only one parent. But we are all expected to love only one adult. When presented with mulitple opportunites we are expected to choose. And we need to choose wisely, because that one person is expected to be our single source of all our intimate interactions with humanity – that’s the WHOLE of humanity I’m referring to. That one person is expected to be our one and only companion for life’s activities, so much so that if our sole companion doesn’t fancy something (like a holiday to a particular destination, let’s say) we must forsake that experience. ALL our human needs and desires must be fulfilled within the context of that one relationship.
That’s a lot of pressure and expectation on a single relationship. No wonder so many fail. An insistence on monogamy is the cause of much human suffering. It’s the cause of unnecessary relationship break-downs and broken families.
Mind you, most don’t have the opportunity for choice in a society where the majority are ‘taken’. Most have to pick from a very small pool of available possibilities, which gets smaller as one ages.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? That is: what the hell is wrong with us that we not only put up with this nonsense but actually revere it as an ideal state for social organisation despite the evidence that’s staring us in the face: it doesn’t work. Thinking about it, I can’t think how society or any its members benefits from monogamy. Is it the stupidest joke we’ve played on ourselves?
Here’s an alternative: let’s share love. Adults preach sharing to their children, so they ought to understand the concept. But they don’t really mean it, do they? Few adults practise what they preach to children (elaboration requires a separate post!).