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Is Absolute Monogamy Possible?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary monogamy is defined as “the condition of having a single mate during a period of time.” It’s an ideal generations before us aspired to, but nowadays it’s become abundantly clear that expecting every single inhabitant of this planet to be monogamous is absurd.

Although some people are capable of it, and God bless their devoted hearts, everyone else either strays or demonstrates no interest whatsoever. Perhaps it is time we level with ourselves and accept the situation for what it is; not everyone is hardwired for monogamy, regardless of whether they are male or female, and that does not make them a horrible person.

Now more than ever there are discussions taking place all over the globe about love and sexuality which challenge our understanding. We are now past the point of classifying people in only two boxes: heterosexual = good and homosexual = bad and faithful = good, unfaithful = bad. Just recently I sat in on a Skype session with a human rights lawyer from Jamaica who disclosed to a group of LGBTI activists that his husband was an Anglican priest. Despite what religious fanatics say about God’s wrath against gays, neither of them has been struck by lightning. In fact, their lives are flourishing. This got me thinking; what if we did not have people’s distorted interpretations of the bible dictating who and how we love? Would we be as obsessed with meeting and loving only the one?

Kenyan gays, lesbians and others wear masks to preserve their anonymity as they stage a protest against Uganda's stance against homosexuality and in solidarity with their counterparts there, outside the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi, Feb. 10, 2014
Kenyan gays, lesbians and others wear masks to preserve their anonymity as they stage a protest against Uganda’s stance against homosexuality and in solidarity with their counterparts there, outside the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi, Feb. 10, 2014

Exclusivity in the modern world

What if a person is bi-sexual and committed to both a man and a woman? What if he is asexual but has emotional connections with multiple people? What more for the flirt or the one who has a sexual relationship with one person but an intense emotional connection with another? Does that make them bad people? Of course not. I am not saying monogamy is a bad thing. I just find it limiting given the diverse nature of intimate connections that exist between human beings.

Kenyans wear masks to preserve their anonymity while staging a rare protest in January against Uganda's anti-gay laws at the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP
Kenyans wear masks to preserve their anonymity while staging a rare protest against Uganda’s anti-gay laws at the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

My view is that individuals should be honest about who they are with themselves before they vow to commit to a single person simply because that is what is expected of them. If people are upfront about their preferences and desires with those they get involved with, it will definitely help curb the pandemic of heartbreaks that plague modern day relationships.

Celebrity power couple Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith recently made headlines when Jada said: “I am not the kind of woman that believes a man is not going to be attracted to other women. I’m just not that girl. It is not realistic. And just because your man is attracted to another woman does not mean he doesn’t love you.” Even though they have never categorically denied it, the two have long been rumoured to be in an open marriage. An open relationship means that one or both partners are allowed to have relationships with other people outside their unit. Judging by the success of their relationship, is the notion really so far-fetched and obscene?

Jada Pinkett Smith. Photo Pop Sugar
Jada Pinkett Smith. Photo Pop Sugar

Without oversimplifying the issue; if you are in a trusting relationship and your partner does not neglect you or give you cause for doubt and insecurities, performs their responsibilities and practices safe sex, is it worth it to be consumed with suspicion and paranoia about their fidelity? What is the real obsession with wanting to have exclusive access to people’s love when love is such a magnificent and universal force? Maybe it comes down to the way we’re socialized. Even in kindergarten we’re told to hoard everything that’s “mine.”

If monogamy is for you and you are able to uphold it then good for you. But if it is not and you are genuinely capable of fulfilling more than one partner and operating honestly and truthfully then should you be prosecuted for it? I think not. Of course cheating is wrong and one of the reasons it happens is because people are forced to maintain a facade that appeals to society but neglects the individual’s innate needs. Our struggle is not whether monogamy is the end all-be-all of relationships; it has more to do with accepting the things that fall outside of what we have come to adopt as the norm.

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