I recently went out on a first date with a stylish, charming man of French (Québécois) 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...
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 more sexually liberated attitude since divorcing, got me thinking, "What if having sex with someone other than your partner isn't just a 'lifestyle' choice? What if it's also not an issue of right or wrong? What if our culture has simply indoctrinated us with beliefs around love, commitment, attraction and sex that end up emotionally terrorizing us unnecessarily at some point, or all throughout, our lives?"
As time moves me away from my former marriage, the more I question -- and doubt -- everything and anything. And just as I've learned to separate sex from love since divorcing, 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?
The truth is that not everyone who cheats is a monster. Nor are they all self-centered, valueless slime-buckets and sociopaths. So if all the people who engage in affairs aren't completely evil, could it be that the issue of having sex outside a relationship/marriage isn't all evil either?
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?
I couldn't. I still just don't think I can, regardless of how hard I try to imagine it, no matter how open and mature I think I am. My social programming, the doctrine I've absorbed, runs too deep. It has roots, connectors, a life force of its own. Blame it on my past hurts, fear, close mindedness, insecurity -- whatever you want... but I'd prefer to have shorter relationships that are monogamous, than a long one broken up by flings or affairs. Otherwise it seems one is giving up before a relationship even has a chance to get off the ground.
Pfft, but as they say, "Never say never." What do YOU think?