Passing along some intellectual ideas….
This was forwarded to me today by Laz. He received it thru one of the Poly communities he is on where they thought it was worth sharing. I have to agree completely that this is worth a share here and many other places. I have read a few of her things and if you are on Fetlife, please look up Zenocrate, she seems to be a very intelligent woman with a good head on her shoulders. I hope to read more things like this from her in the near future. So without further adieu, Zenocrate’s view on the Poly vs Mono idea.
Originally posted as a Journal Entry by Zenocrate at https://fetlife.com/users/195241/posts/438196
I’ve been reading a lot of posts and journals lately about the differences and incompatibilities of monogamous and polyamorous folk. “I’ll never date a monogamous person again.” “I could never accept a poly partner.” “Monos are liars.” “Polys are retarded sex addicts.”
There have been a few voices crying out in the wilderness, suggesting that we not tar (or exalt) all polys or monos with the same brush, but mostly people ignore those voices and point to experience to prove their point. What interests me is that people are having the same experiences on both sides of the fence–possessiveness, lying, replacement, etc.
So I thought I’d try to look at the debate from a new angle. First, my bona fides: I was very happily married and monogamous for 13 years. When my husband asked about opening our marriage, I transitioned to poly and have been happily poly with my boyfriend for about 18 months now (and the husband and I are still happy, just in case that wasn’t clear). So I’ve done monogamy well and I’ve done poly well and I think I have something to say.
The debate isn’t “mono vs. poly” (in any of the forms that question takes, i.e. hardwired, dating pool, best choice for me, best choice for the world at large, inherently better), the debate is….TIGHTLY VS. LIGHTLY
Some people hold on to relationships very tightly. They try to control them and shape them so they feel safe. They’re the ones who set up rules and vetoes, who have problems with jealousy, who constantly wonder when things will go wrong. And things always do.
Other people hold relationships lightly. They don’t make any relationship the focus of their happiness, they naturally avoid jealousy and they are happy when their partner goes off without them, whether it be to another lover (poly) or a hobby (mono).
People who hold relationships lightly don’t constantly wonder when things will go wrong. Because they know things will.
Ha! Gotcha there didn’t I? You thought I was going to make the claim that holding relationships lightly was a cure-all for relationship problems! Well, that would be stupid, because there IS no cure. Zenocrate’s #1 relationship rule is:
All relationships end badly
Edit: as several people have pointed out, “ending” does not mean “ending badly” so I am reformulating:
Zenocrates #1(revised) rule is:
All relationships end. And unfortunately we live in a society that equates “ending” with “failure” so many people consciously or unconsciously fear a relationship’s end.
It’s true. You either break up (which is often perceived as “failure”), or one of you dies (unless you’re Mormon and have a Temple marriage. Then you’ll be together forever).
The great thing about really accepting the fact that all relationships end is that you stop thinking you can do something to avoid that fate. And then you stop worrying about the end (ZOMG I don’t want to be alone!) and start focusing on the middle (aka the present). You can stop thinking “If my partner is poly he might find another woman and she might be younger and prettier and that might mean he likes her better and then he might leave me so to protect myself I’d better create 3,846 rules!” and start thinking “Right now, what would I like?”
Whether you’re more comfortable in a monogamous or a polyamorous setup is in my view not the most important question. Every monogamous relationship admits other people into it (family, children, friends). Every poly relationship has limits (number of partners, certain people who are deal breakers). In modern society, where men and women work and play together as equals (mostly) and mingle in all settings, there’s really no sharp distinction. There are tons of “monogamous” couples who have the occasional threesome and tons of “poly” couples who have “we two only” activities. It’s not a bright line at all.
But I honestly do believe that if we could all accept that at some point, our relationships will end (possibly sadly) and that we can’t change that we might be able to let go of some of the fear, jealousy and name calling. We’re all in the same boat after all. No one gets out alive, so we should concentrate on enjoying the ride as honestly and fully as we can.
Posted on April 19, 2012, in Polyamory, Swinging, Writing, Written by others and tagged Expectations, Jealousy, Monogamy, Open Relationship, Polyamory, Polyfidelity, Polygamy, Relationships, Suggestions, Swinging, Trust, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.