A recent article about “The New Monogamy” details shifting ideas about monogamy and how married couples are now being more open to exploring different ideas about what being faithful means. The article is just one of many shedding light on the ever-popular sentiment that monogamy isn’t “natural,” and by trying to force it, we’re ultimately doing more harm to our relationships than good.
But for all of our debate over whether or not monogamy is natural, the opposite isn’t either. Every assertion that human beings aren’t naturally designed to be with one person ignores the fact that we also aren’t fully prepared to deal with our partners building romantic relationships with other people.
I have often been told by mostly women that expecting a husband to remain faithful is akin to walking around with blinders on and that it’s better to be prepared to accept the inevitable. But the potential for infidelity hasn’t changed my expectation. My marriage is monogamous by choice, and it’s a standard that I refuse to relax because…
I don’t know the other woman
I’ve watched enough Fatal Attraction to have seen the person on the side go from being a happy, willing participant in an affair to showing up at the front door with a machete. Being open to my husband being in a relationship with another woman means that I also need to be able to trust that woman. And that’s just not something I could do with confidence.
I don’t know who else she’s sleeping with
In addition to being able to trust her, I have to be able to trust whoever else she’s sleeping with, and who that person is sleeping with, and trust that no condoms got lost somewhere along the chain. I’m pretty sure if you start adding up a whole bunch of people at some point all together they equal S.T.D. No thank you.
It wouldn’t be good enough for the gander
Even if I were going to be open enough to be accepting of my husband venturing out, he would never, ever be okay with the same behavior from me. This sentiment seems to be true of most men. Even those who argue vehemently against monogamy wouldn’t be willing to accept their wife being unfaithful.
Ain’t nobody got time for that
I love my husband, but Mr. Fix-It that he is, I’ve been waiting for him to finish touching up the paint in my daughter’s room for…what year is it now? It’s not due to lack of care, it’s just due to the fact that with kids, work, and everyday life, we have to fight to manage it all and make time for one another. Where is the time to embark on this other relationship? Not to mention the attitude I would have knowing that I’m still waiting patiently on my bathroom renovation while he’s off fixing somebody else’s door.
It wouldn’t make it hurt any less
I think for women especially, accepting infidelity is a way to try and shield ourselves from the pain of being blindsided by an affair. For me, knowing wouldn’t make the reality sting any less. Whether I were to resign myself to it or not, I wouldn’t be able to make it feel like something other than betrayal.
What’s “natural” doesn’t matter to me
Monogamy isn’t natural. Polygamy isn’t natural. 95% of the things we do every day, like shopping at grocery stores or going to work aren’t “natural.” But really, who cares? What is more important than deciding what is natural is being honest with yourself and the people around you about what you believe, what you are working for and honoring those decisions you have made.
I don’t believe in lowering bars
In many ways, I believe that’s what this “new monogamy” is about. It is not a move touted by those who truly embrace the idea of polyamory, but instead a resigned acceptance of the idea that by expecting monogamy, we’ve set the bar too high. Instead of trying to meet the standard, we’ve just decided to lower the bar.
Maybe my standards are high, but I would rather have them be that than to settle for a man who can only reach the bottom rung of the ladder. Monogamy is a choice. It is not the choice for everyone. But my decision is being the one woman for one man. Natural or not, it’s a commitment I intend to keep.
BMWK, What do you think? Is monogamy natural? Should we re-define what a monogamous relationship means?