Thursday was Ad’s birthday and I took him out to dinner at this wonderful little rooftop restaurant. We had wine and crepes and a lovely dinner and much quiet, desultory conversation. We still, after 6 years of living together, enjoy each other’s company as much as we enjoy the companionship of a housemate, the hot sex we have, the friendship we share. Sometimes I look across at other couples in restaurants and I see them sitting there, with nothing to say to each other, and I wonder, will that be us in five or ten or twenty years? I like to think not, but can one person be that interesting for years and years?
But then I look at our lives, and how we have chosen to live, and I think, yes, maybe we always will have things to talk about with each other, because we will always be doing and thinking and learning new things. We will always be bringing things back to each other to share with the other. And I know that monogamous couples can do this as well, but honestly, I think that being poly facilitates this so much better, this diversity and expansion of interests.
There was a lot of talk recently on the internets about an article that came out on CNN.com, “Is Monogamy Realistic?” It was a pretty good article, and touched on poly in a fairly balanced way that I found encouraging. Poly has been seeing an upsurge of media coverage lately, and a whole lot of it has been positive and fair, and that is good to see.
Is monogamy realistic in this age when our life spans are so much longer and when it is so much easier to stray from monogamy? Is the fact that people are now learning about alternative relationship models so much more than before the internet causing the demise of monogamy?
I honestly don’t believe that being truly monogamous–having only one partner–over the span of an 80 or 90 year lifespan is that realistic. People change, people grow, people need change and growth. That’s not to say that a relationship can’t change and grow with a person, but to expect two people to grow and change in the same direction for 50 or 60 years is expecting an awful lot. That said, there are people that will attempt to do it, and a few will succeed, and out of those people, a few will be truly happy and content. It can be done, and I applaud people that make that choice, and make that choice work. I am amazed that people seem to think poly is so much “harder” though. Relationships of any flavor are a challenge, and keeping a relationship healthy and viable and vibrant for 30, 40 or 50 years would have to be one of the biggest challenges, I would say, when you are relying on that relationship to bring and give you everything you need, emotionally, physically and mentally.
Many more will opt for serial monogamy, because, in the past, that has been the only other socially acceptable model. Given that serial monogamy is so prevalent, so accepted, why is it that polyamory is so condemned, and even feared? Why (and how) is it better to throw away the love you have for one person in order to move on to love with another person? How in the world is that a better model? It makes no sense to me that I should have to disavow everything I have felt for one person in order to feel love for another person. When I think about all that the various people in my life bring to not only me, but to my other partners, simply by virtue of the connections we share, I can’t imagine living life any other way.