My views on monogamy

I wouldn’t say they’ve come entirely full circle, but they’re definitely not what they once were.  When I was a kid, I fully bought into the whole hearts and flowers romance thing, in the traditional sense of two people, committed to each other.  I’m strongly opposed to cheating and honest to a fault.  I still feel that way – if I have an understanding with someone that our relationship is monogamous, I won’t cheat and I don’t want them to.  I’d rather be completely honest – if you’re considering cheating, then let’s talk about it and evaluate what this means for our relationship.

But aside from that, I’ve started thinking more and more about the poly option.  I’ve had poly friends since I was 18 or so, and while respecting that choice, I’ve never identified as poly.  After all, I know that I can do monogamy, and I don’t have a need to have multiple relationships or an open relationship.  But as I get older and become more and more sure of who I am and what I want, I know that my idea of a relationship does not match that of most people.  I’m very unlikely to have a live-in situation, and a relationship is unlikely to be the number one priority in my life.  Sure, it could be up there, but other things are at least equally as important.  Someone I’m with has to be okay with the fact that I could move thousands of miles away, or get wrapped up in a project, and for most people that isn’t “fair” in a traditional sort of relationship.

So, for those reasons, I’ve been thinking about other options.  Part of why I’ve been so happily single for the past few years is that I feel perfectly fulfilled by my friendships, whatever romantic encounters do come along, and my interests.  And I also am starting to realise that “relationship” is just a word we use.  Saying you’re someone’s girlfriend has different values for different people, but for me a lot of it is about rules and presentation to the rest of the world.  I may like to be in a relationship if I were to find someone compatible, but I’m very picky.  I don’t have a problem with keeping the labels and definitions away from my love life.  I also for these reasons can now see myself in a poly relationship – I would have no problem being with someone in a long-distance relationship, for example, who lives with someone else.  I don’t have a problem with relating with people as friends but feeling more romantic about them sometimes.  Maybe I’m an odd duck, but I’m starting to think that my sort of relationship philosophy may not, in many cases, be compatible with monogamy.

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About Avory

Avory Faucette is a queer feminist activist, writer, and public speaker. Zie graduated from the University of Iowa with a JD in 2009, focusing on international human rights and gender/sexuality issues in the law. Hir current work focuses on queer identity, policy, and marginalized identities under the queer umbrella. As a genderqueer person, zie comments frequently on non-binary identity, transgender and genderqueer issues, and media coverage of these populations. Zie also speaks at colleges, universities, and events on transgender and queer issues and conducts trainings on related topics.

Posted on June 27, 2008, in relationships and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. What I think is truly important to consider is there are a LOT of poly people who are capable of being monogamous. I’ve known a few poly people who have found somebody they care about so much that they are willing to give them monogamy (assuming the other has expressed a desire for it). I’ve known others who can be monogamous “for a time”.

    Personally, I *could* be monogamous for the rest of my life. But my life would definitely be more fulfilling being poly.

  2. spinning jenny

    I grew up in a really conservative religion, and even though I’ve left it behind I still find myself getting weirded out or prudish over certain things. This is one of them. I have no problem with other people being poly, but I can’t see myself ever wantng it – but I think it’s actually less the societal reasons and more that I’m insecure enough to need the knowledge that I’m the only one. Also, the few people I’ve known in poly relationship (and I assume this is not the case for many people, but it holds true for all the ones I’ve known) have ended up being very unhappy with it. Of course, they all started out married and monogamous, and then transitioned into poly relationships, usually with one person being more into it and the other only going along with it to please the first. I can see how it would probably work out better if all parties were poly to start.

  3. This is a challenge. Nicely written.

  4. I’ve noticed that those who are capable of successful poly relationships are better at monogamous relationships (when they choose them) than a lot of people who claim to be strictly monogamous. Because they don’t accept somebody else’s assumptions about the nature of their relationships but explicitly build the kind of partnership that works for them. Poly relationships don’t have many popular perceptions to fall back on for those unwilling to take an active part.

    Now the other direction isn’t so clear, as you then get into what exactly “successful” means. And there is a lot of social baggage to interfere with an honest assessment by the parties involved.

    Fyi, I found your post with the tag surfer. I have a wordpress.com blog too.

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