When did you choose to be monogamous? November 29, 2011Posted by shaunphilly in Culture and Society, Polyamory.
Tags: monogamy, open relationships
I have been asked by a number of people over the years why I am polyamorous. It can be in the form of when I chose to be polyamorous, how long I have actively become polyamorous, how does that work given jealousy, and so forth. But I think that such questions might be misisng the larger question.
When do people choose to be monogamous?
Have most monogamous couples had a discussion about exclusivity when they reached a certain point in their relationship? I highly doubt that many couples have had the mono/poly discussion at all, actually. I would love to hear anecdotes to the contrary, as real statistical data is likely to be severely lacking.
Even those couples who might dabble in swinging, swapping with other couples, or even eventually became polyamorous probably never had such a conversation. Most people are ignorant, rather than intimated or uninterested in non-monogamy, especially polyamory
But in a strict sense monogamous people are choosing to live that lifestyle, even if it is an uninformed choice. The authenticity of the choice is not overwhelming because in most cases alternative options are not realistically considered even if they are understood to be actual options. It’s hard to make an informed decision when you know almost nothing about it; even most of my friends and family know next to nothing about how polyamory works.
The fact is that monogamy is the cultural default, and is rarely realistically questioned. This is why the polyamorous community is so small, the swinger community is often anonymous and often secretive, and even affairs are kept quiet; they are a blemish on the fantastical ideal of monogamy.
Having been monogamous in my life, I have a perspective where my choice to try and maintain a polyamorous lifestyle is informed. And for the few monogamous people who are well aware of polyamory and have discussed the issue with their partner, their choice is authentic and informed as well as mine is, but they are rare.
The vast majority of our culture seems to be monogamous by default, rather than by authentic choice. Until the idea gains more mainstream attention and understanding starts to spread (if this ever happens), this ignorance shall be the norm.