I find the concept of a truly monogamous relationship to be the stuff of fantasies; a phenomenon indoctrinated into us by the age of 5 by way of celebrity-voiced animated Princes and Princesses. Don’t get me wrong: not only do I think the idea of monogamy is a lovely one, I also think it’s an entirely attainable state. I’ve been given the most prime example my entire life of a happy, monogamous relationship through my parents, so I have no deep-rooted agonies associated with the institution of marriage or concept of monogamy. That being said, however, my ability to believe in the possibility of a monogamous relationship in this day and age is still wavering at best.
I would also like to point out that it’s not the concept of “monogamy” proper that I’m disenchanted with, but rather our generation’s desire (or ability) to effectively execute such a relationship. We’ve grown up with Disney movies as our most prominent example of healthy relationships, only to be exchanged by unrealistic romantic comedies in adulthood. This idea that there is that one person out there for us, for whom we will possess a white hot passion that burns with the intensity of a thousand suns, and for whom we were crafted as mirror reflections of, is not only bullshit, but is toeing the line of being an absolutely insane suggestion. Since the zeitgeist of our generation is riddled with detailed Christmas lists and “Participant” trophies, we all feel entitled to that beautiful love we were promised since birth; and it’s due to this entitlement that we’ll never stop looking for it.
It’s only natural to feel your enthusiasm for your significant other ebbing and flowing throughout the duration of your relationship: but once you fire your early-relationship representative (the one who diligently responds to texts and is never rude to waiters), you start to question whether or not you’ve found your ‘forever home’ with this person. So our eyes start to wander, often translating into discretions of varying degrees: whether it’s an inappropriate texting relationship with someone you put in your phone as a different name, to a full-on affair that ends up ruining multiple lives (or somewhere in between). I think that the idea of monogamy is unnatural, borderline archaic, and sometimes unrealistic, but that’s not to say that I don’t also daydream about my idealistic romance, or insist on the fulfillment of that entitlement I mentioned earlier.
I know that people will read this and be angry, accusing me of adding to the cynicism of our generation towards the idea of conventional relationships. However, this cynicism is just a symptom and not the cause of our perpetual search for “the one”. I’m certainly not suggesting that anyone should be staying in an unhappy relationship to satisfy our generation’s need for an example of a good couple, but I think if we should feel so inclined as to be in a committed relationship we should focus on actually being with that person, as opposed to seeing them as a placeholder until something more exciting comes along (consciously or not).
I, too, am intrigued by the idea of spending the rest of your life with one person, but I also think the chances of a truly monogamous relationship increases exponentially with age and that we should all cool it with the “soul mate” search. Take your time in your twenties (at least) to dabble in the realm of not answering to anybody, and after getting that out of your system you’ll feel slightly more inclined to make a verbal commitment to hanging out with one person for the rest of your lives.
Cheating is never okay, and monogamy isn’t for everyone (read as two separate statements). Once you figure out where you fit on the relationship comfort spectrum you’ll be a lot closer to that ideal relationship we’re all searching for, whether it looks like a fairty tale or not.