I am heartened to read and hear about women catching up to men in the arena of “cheating” and, frankly, glad to see this finally getting explored by some through a lens of curiosity instead of from a pathologizing/stigmatizing agenda. I think monogamy is more a spectrum phenomenon and not something that “cookie cutter” fits every single person or couple. It’s also a very heteronormative concept that doesn’t fit large segments of the GLBTQI communities, let alone a share of the heterosexual community either. I think about polyamorists too; they’re living a (still) daring paradigm of consenting adult partnership arrangements that seem to work for some well enough (and, obviously, not for others, as is also the case for strict monogamy). I worked with a male-female polyamorous couple and they were very serious and mature about their arrangement, dedicated to maintaining open communication. They came for help with another matter, but were glad that I supported their polyamory and didn’t somehow judge them in any way for it.
Fascinating, this thing called love and how we humans 1) choose to secure it with another(s) and 2) tell other people how they themselves should secure it because we think we somehow know what’s best for them. The longer I live and work in my profession, the more I come to see and believe that as one feels increasingly secure in oneself, the more one can be open-minded and open-hearted to possibilities, one’s own and those of others’. As I’ve recently written in Braced Brain No More on this blog, it’s about releasing old “braced” thinking from one’s brain, those “do’s”, “don’t’s”, “should’s”, and “shouldn’t’s” uniquely and constantly told to us and subliminally implanted in us during childhood and onward.
If only more adults would be more honest about their actual primary relationship arrangements, the stigma of open relationships/other arrangements would surely gradually fade from the general public. That said, I personally do think that getting married, having kids, and being with only one person romantically is natural for some for at least a certain extended period of time, though perhaps not necessarily for many decades, for example. It’s the difference between what actually occurs in nature vs. a human-created, socially imposed value on something. For example, statistically most adult women are not naturally skinny like pre-teen boys, though extremely thin women are still held up as a primary norm of beauty in the U.S. Most females have some degree of wider hips and body fat than skinny models in magazines. Yet, a small percentage of women happen to be naturally petite and super thin, just as their genes are coded in them to be. Now, taking this one set of phenotypes in nature and blowing those up to be the norm all females should aspire to is not realistic, as it’s not natural for the majority of them. The same can be said for adults being in indefinitely exclusively monogamous relationships. This statistically works for some people but not at all for many more. It takes all kinds to make a world. We sure need to live and let live more than a lot of us do.