“When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what world calls a romance.” (Oscar Wilde)
I know this is a sensitive issue, one of those where most people prefer to fool themselves and believe in a fairy tale. Nowadays society operates under the illusion of the necessity/effectiveness/desirability of people finding a pair and living with that 'special one' till the end of their lives, with an essential condition of giving up their sexual freedom.
When I was sixteen I believed in monogamy too. I planned on the conventional marriage and faithful relationships. This intention lasted for a few years. My first love ended after 4 years because he cheated and I wasn't able to forgive it.
But my second serious relationship got me thinking that I myself wanted to have sex with other men. That was after living together for more than a year. And yes, we had great sex and weren't shy to improvise.
Because that's what they always say: you gotta bring some creativity to your sexual life, try some roleplaying, change locations, etc.
We did all that. Didn't help.
I still had some feelings for the guy when I was leaving him. He was attractive, he loved me, but that suddenly wasn't enough. I just stopped feeling sexually attracted to him. He became like a dear friend, or a brother to me. I didn't want him any more.
So I left.
And yes, I've read all the stuff about how wrong it is to be chasing wild passion that is bound to disappear in a year or two with any person. The advise psychologists usually give is to realize this will be happening over and over so you better just stick to one person, try to enrich your sexual life and wait for that lost passion to come back someday again, or grow into something 'bigger' and maybe even better.
But hey, if that advise was any good, we wouldn't have so many instances of adultery and so high a divorce rate.
People need passion. It's the spice of life. And we're willing to throw our peaceful wellbeing away for a few moments of sweet out of comtrol feeling that we know will vanish.
We're putting ourselves in artificial boundaries that we later are sufferring from. We promise something we have little control over, then later on we break the promise, ask for forgiveness, feel betrayed, our kids suffer seeing parents suffer over something that should never have been a problem. Noone died or got sick or anything that terrible, someone just experienced some pleasure with another person. What's all the drama is supposed to be about? What's criminal about it anyway? Where's the 'betrayal'?
Of course, when there was an agreement between partners that they can not sleep around, the act of having sex with another person would be a breach of contract. That is wrong.
But that's not to say the agreement itself was virtually unfulfillable, so it's no wonder it eventually has been broken.
As a psychologist, I was wondering what was hiding behind our thirst for sexual exclusivity. Why is it so important to be the 'special one' for someone, the chosen, the only one?
I came to the conclusion that for the overwhelming majority of people realizing that their partner can feel attracted to another person is a huge blow to the self-esteem. It's really all this is about. Self-esteem. He/she cheated on me, so I'm not good enough. If someone is truly monogamous, its his or her own business, but demanding others be the same is just a lack of self-confidence.
STD arguments aside, we're talking protected sex only.
Your partner had an affair. He didn't come back with any disease, he is just the same, and he still wants to be with you, because he loves you as a person. What's the problem? Aren't you suppose to wish your loved one to be happy? Well, if spending a night with a girl/boy he really liked made him happy, what's your problem with that?
Or is it like Jean de la Bruyere said, that 'one seeks to make the loved one entirely happy, or, if that cannot be, entirely wretched'?
We should all understand that we are all special, valuable, desirable, no matter how many people 'cheat on us'. It's not right to measure the level of one's worthiness by means of limiting someone else's sexual freedom. Guess what, none of us are able to be enough for anybody. Because it's not a question of how good you are in bed, how stunning you look, how often do you change your looks and so on. Although, all those things are important. But you simply can't fool your nature - and I believe it is in our nature - to desire sex with a totally different person. That person may be even less attractive, smart, creative etc. We just want a different body.
Yes, someone may not cheat on you because they are afraid of loosing you, but doesn't it sort of make you a terrorist? Isn't it basically a blackmail? And how can you be happy knowing you are taking away from someone's life experiences?
Also, don't forget another downside of the conventional marriage model that demands monogamy: the unwanted sex (or unfulfilled desire if one of the couple refuses to engage). Thank goodness, the times when women had to be married and had to be submissive to their husbands are over (at least in developed world), but really, having to endure sex when you do not want it and/or with someone you do not desire is dreadful. This is a good quote about those dark ages:
Marriage is for women the commonest mode of livelihood, and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution. (Bertrand Russell)
The only difference there being a 'decent' woman had to endure sex with one and the same person, and the indecent - with different people.
There is no reason we should pursue monogamy. Stressing about sexual exclusivity creates much more problems than it solves.
Basically, my views on love/sex/marriage can be summed up to this:
- sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of
- sex, love and marriage are 3 totally independent things
- if you love someone, it does not give you the right to completely usurp your partner's sexuality
- nothing is 'has to be' in this world, we are to decide how we want things to be
My life is so much easier now that I quit worrying about other person's choices, and feeling uneasy about my own impulses. I live true to myself. Others may choose to live true to the script that was prepared for them by the society. I'd never try to impose my values on others. I am merely explaining my position here.
I prefer to be honest and discuss with my partner this issue from the very start. I am pro sticking up to the contract (which may or may not allow sexual freedom). But once I had a guy who said 'if you ever cheat on me - don't tell me, I wouldn't want to know'.
The attitude to fairness vs. inner calm differs.)) Some people prefer to be deceived. They even fall into denial when they are presented with facts proving their spoise's unfaithfulness. They want to have their illusion of monogamy. I say - let them, it's their choice.
And those who want to be told truth deserve to know it.
I have yet to read the book that was out last year, called "Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality". I'm not sure if it's available here. But I liked some excerpts from it, covered in this article on Salon.
Finally, Osho has some interesting thoughts on the subject:
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Some people succeed at being possessed their whole lives. I think that's quite a feat, and a selfless gesture.
I don't think theres much place for any selfless gestures on this planet. No sane human being who feels entitled to live their own life the way they choose to will stay with someone they don't love just to make them less miserable.
If a person is staying in a relationship they don't really enjoy, they are simply escaping a bigger evil: for some - it is fear, for others - guilt. If one can not leave because he or she will feel guilty, they are staying because they don't want to experience that burden of guilt. Thats still caring about one's own self.
sometimes those people are just afraid, and having their freedom limited for a predictable, safe life, is exactly what they want.
Having a family provides the sense of belonging to an otherwise isolated individual. And yes, the fear of uncertainty. I've touched upon that in 'Commitment, marriage, love, etc,,,'
When I started dating I was also looking for 'that special someone', understandably - that's what thge society proclaims to be the norm. It's with experience that you start doubting.
I've finally finished reading 'Sex at Dawn' and they make mighty good points there, for example "Why would so many risk their reputations, families, careers—even presidential legacies—for something that runs against human nature? Were monogamy an ancient, evolved trait characteristic of our species, as the standard narrative insists, these ubiquitous transgressions would be infrequent and such horrible enforcement unnecessary. No creature needs to be threatened with death to act in accord with its own nature."
I had that idealistic notion of "til death do us part" and that just doesn't exist.
I think you can love someone till the day you die, it's just that love won't be the same passionate thing you've felt in the beginning. But it can be deeper and less sexual or completely void of sexual attraction in a decade or so. Problem is, we don't allow people to have other relationships simultaneously. We need a more flexible approach. Why shouls one be content with asexual love that is basically 'best friends' kind of love till the rest of his or her life? We do want passion once in a while. And why throwing away your best friend just because you need to feel some excitement again?
these days, I prefer being single and sticking to casual types of relationships.