I recently went out on a first date with a stylish, charming man of French (Quebecois) descent. And when our conversation moved into that of relationships (which it inevitably does with me) he suddenly caught me off guard by stating : “I believe in commitment…but not monogamy.”
His admission left me quite tongue-tied. I’ve never met someone who came right out and said so; or rather, I’ve never DATED someone who believed so. And the more he explained his position to me, the quieter and more pensive I became…
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It’s not that I’ve never questioned monogamy before. In fact, in the aftermath of divorce I think it’s normal to question it all: love, fidelity, sexuality, hell – even the nature of humanity and the animal kingdom…
But my recent experience with the cheating husband, combined with witnessing other friends cheat, my ex-husband’s past infidelity, as well as my own free and ‘unmonogamous’-like behavior since divorcing, got me thinking, "What if our culture has simply indoctrinated us with beliefs around love, commitment, attraction and sex that end up emotionally terrorizing us unnecessarily?”
Sometimes I find that the further time moves me away from my former marriage, the more I question – and doubt – and rewrite what I believe. And just as I’ve learned to separate sex from love since I got divorced, I wonder, could I one day learn to separate love and commitment from jealousy? Could that be the NEXT stage in my maturation and evolution?
(sigh) The truth is that not everyone who cheats is a monster. Nor are they all self-centered, valueless slime-buckets and sociopaths. So if the people who engage in affairs aren’t all all evil, could it be that the issue of having sex outside a relationship/marriage isn’t all evil either?
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The French man sitting across from me seemed very much a decent, honest man who wore his heart on his sleeve. And I admired him and liked him in many ways – for his intelligence, his charm, his handsomeness, his open-mindedness and ‘joie de vivre’…
But could I walk into a potential relationship with him, knowing it required I give consent to him sharing that ‘joie de vivre’ between the sheets with other women?