Before you get your pitchforks out, you should know that I’m not against monogamy. I think a healthy relationship between two people is an extremely powerful thing, and if done right, has the ability to nourish the spirit, encourage self-growth, and give us all the feels we’ve been dreaming of since first being introduced to Disney fairytales.
But I don’t think most of us do it right.
Monogamy has one fundamental flaw: it is predefined, which means there are expectations.
There are rules to being in a relationship; and although most experts will tell you these rules are to be defined by individual couples, the truth is there are universal guidelines most people expect to be followed in monogamous relationships.
You cannot explore relationships with other people. You can’t get too close to people you could potentially be attracted to. There are limits to your flirtation. You cannot confide in someone more than you confide in the person you’re with. If someone around you has a reputation for stealing boyfriends or girlfriends, you’re not allowed to talk to them – ever.
Suddenly, what started off as an organic connection and desire to share lives turns into role playing and rule following. How well behaved can you be? Like someone just slaps you with a relationship bible and removes the No Exit signs.
But this is what it means to be in a relationship, right? Of course you’re not allowed to sleep with other people. Of course your partner should come first. Of course there are things you that are just not okay when you have the heart of someone you love nestled sweetly in your hands.
Here’s the problem: These aren’t rules to monogamy; they are guidelines to handling the heart of the person you love. People often get the two confused.
You should do those things because you love the person you’re with, not because it’s just what you do in relationships. If you’re doing the latter, then you’re not in the relationship for the right reasons, which means you are sacrificing a significant part of your journey of self-discovery.
Your obligation isn’t to the relationship; it’s to yourself.
You are this thing, traveling through time, meeting some folks and doing some cool stuff along the way. You’re this magnificent being, filled with light and opportunity and power and hope and talent. You’re this brilliant vessel, capable of affecting others, creating incredible things, and brighting someone’s otherwise gloomy day.
Being in a relationship should not change any of that. It shouldn’t stunt your growth; it shouldn’t stop you on your journey; it shouldn’t make you question all of the power you have inside of you.
Those are the things that should be your priority. And often times, monogamy gets in the way of that.
A healthy relationship should help us blossom. It should reach its arms out, holding the weight of our bodies with complete support, elevating us to the top of mountains, helping us reach the stars. You should never have to choose between you and your relationship because the two should always be on the same side, fighting the same battle.
The problem with monogamy is that, often times, we forget ourselves and make our relationship the priority. Because that’s just what you do when you try to follow the rules.
When you commit to someone based on your love and respect for them, and they do the same for you, you are not sacrificing your well being and your journey of growth and self-discovery stays in tact.
No, relationships won’t always be easy, and there will be times you’ll feel out of love with the person whose heart you’re responsible for. But that won’t mean you lose respect for them, and it won’t suddenly give you the urge to want to hurt them because you’re no longer abiding by the rules of monogamy. You’ll still be good to them and respect them, and if you’re no longer invested in the relationship, you’ll set them free and allow you both to move on to the next chapter of your lives.
When you do it that way, it’s easier to identify a bad relationship.
That is respect for the heart, not for monogamy.
So don’t be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship. Welcome that person into your life and allow them to walk by your side as they walk along their own path. Feed each other, nurture and support one another, and do so in honor of the love and respect you have, not because of predefined monogamy.