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relationships • 18.03.09                                                

I never liked exclusivity in relationships. The idea that you should only be with one person was abhorrent. I was incredulous that you were supposed to find this one person to be partnered with and then stick it out with them for the duration. This could be seventy years!

Waiting longer to commit these days and then bailing if it doesn't work out is one way to mitigate this arduous predicament. A marriage might only last a few years. To have several marriages in a lifetime is not uncommon.

But still the rules of exclusivity must maintain. You should only be with one person at a time. You can dump one for another. That's fine. Common use of the word “dump” is instructive. You can even leave the wife and kids for another set. The abandoned might be young and dependent on you emotionally and the rest. But that's ok. It's regrettable but hey! shit happens. Heads are shaken in sympathy. It's a shame but generally considered no moral crime any longer to break up a family. What's left behind might be damaged profoundly. Off you go into the new and shiny situation leaving a mess of debris in the wake. You can do all this as long as monogamy is maintained albeit serially. Just a slight overlap is allowed while the dumping process gets underway. But only for a short while. Otherwise you break the rules of exclusivity and they are sacrosanct. Those who stay with the prior relationship while engaging the new are morally suspect.

A more mature outlook would appreciate that exclusive monogamy is an enforced condition contrived to alleviate the challenges of the mating game. It no doubt solves problems of security and fidelity. But it creates as many as it solves. Exclusivity is a major compromise and shuts down all kinds of valuable relationship possibilities. Being inclined toward many intimacies is a perfectly healthy impulse and a natural phenomenon. It is probably more natural than monogamy, something to be more encouraged than condemned.

It would be better investing energy to finding ways that allowed for a more complex variety of connections rather than this silly convention of forcing people into little rabbit warrens forever with this one other person and only this person. It is bizarre and it is botched. It is a dubious morality, bolted together from shaky components. It doesn't work and is woefully in need of review.

exclusivity is a compromise