Not everyone who is not monogamous has the temperament for open relationships. Yet, many have a disposition for deceit, those who are pretending to the custom. I support responsible open sexuality and do not mean to discourage this freedom. However, the emotional intensity involved suggests the need for the most direct honesty without wishful thinking. Chauvinistic cultures sadly make such truthfulness impossible. In a more open society, these qualities are still often lacking.
Some think that traditional relationships offer a refuge from rivalry. These folks should do a cursory search of dating websites using the keyword discreet; especially Ashley Madison whose tagline consists of “Life is short. Have an affair” It appears that matrimony offers no sanctuary whatever. Those who long for the “good old days” when people did not cheat are nostalgic for an era that never existed. Show me a time when infidelity or prostitution did not exist and I will show you someone who needs to spend some time reading.
Anyone can face jealousy in themselves or others, for real or imagined reasons. Both sexes try to find ways to avoid the anguish of possessiveness. In terms of human experience, only a small part I consider here, but in doing so, I throw into question many popular ideas.
Not everyone who is not monogamous has the temperament for
Digressing, if I could exchange places with the reader, I would be skeptical because the subject involves risk. I think a critical attitude necessary. It would be even better if any past assumptions received the same scrutiny as any new statements. I will explain an understanding about the habit of identification that relieved me of the feelings of possessiveness in the last piece in this series on jealousy.
Our ancestors grappled with similar sexual drives and jealousy from the dawn of recorded language i.e. the works of Homer, The Bible, and The Arabian Nights. The tribes in history where possessiveness held little sway inspire a lot of speculation. Let us bypass this interesting topic, because most people are not able to imitate the Tahitians before their unfortunate encounter with Europeans.
People do not usually get married planning to cheat on their partners though undoubtedly some do. People probably exchange vows in good faith with the best intentions but alas, the human ability to tell the future continually proves doubtful. When desires arise for partners outside of marriage, every option for dealing with this yearning appears to have a downside.
Deceiving a mate when you arenot monogamous to pursue a desire usually involves guilt and hypocrisy and often causes the want of some justification. A bitch or asshole is easier to lie too and this begs for fault-finding including exaggerations and fictions. Then again, to deny a wholesome body imperative can invite seething resentment that is even worse when a circumstance involves sexual neglect or starvation. Should parents abandon marital vows or is it better for kids to grow up in a house with the long shadow of sexual frustration and anger? When people are responsible for children the anxiety around jealousy expands. These are just a few of the problems. Each person has different circumstances so taking a broad general view becomes impossible.
If we arenot monogamous, sparing a partner the burden of truth seems plausible when pain will obviously result. However, a person’s freedom to make informed decisions is lost when a partner withholds the truth. Such lies of omission seem more selfish than altruistic. When facts are contrary to the terms of an agreement we are a party too, who among us would not wish to know, especially if the contract affected the course of our lives? We infantilize partners with lies. It seems people are nothing more than a means when we excuse adulterous dishonesty.
Again, we should not pretend any guarantee exists for anyone in seeking a customary relationship. If someone suspects an upheaval in sex relations could make them destructive to themselves or others then I respect the decision to try to avoid jealousy. They are right in pursuing monogamy. If someone says, “I can’t trust myself on a racing motorcycle.” we should take them at their word. I would respectfully add to this on the other side, never hook a racehorse to a plow.
Intimate relations can open us to discovery outside of the limitations of routine, imitation and expectation. In part two, How to Deal With Jealousy we will enter into more troubled waters.