August 23rd, 2003


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jimbojones
12:08 pm - for Lindserella (aka buckylea)
i totally don't understand this:

I used to be a serial monogamist, but I think I've pretty much recovered. I feel weird about not being one anymore sometimes, but I try to squelch it when I do.
Serial monogamy is when you enter into one monogamous relationship, break it off, and then enter into another monogamous relationship - lather, rinse, repeat. It's basically the default dating style of the western hemisphere. Most people are so heavily immersed in it that they don't actually think about it, anymore than they think about which side of the road they drive on. It just gets filed under The Way Things Are Done, and that's all there is to it.

The problem with the serially monogamous lifestyle is that it makes it incredibly difficult to really look at your partners with open eyes. By committing yourself to that one person and that one person alone - even if only for the time being - at the start of a relationship, you make it very hard to separate the person themselves from the role that the person is occupying, or that you want them to occupy. A tremendous number of important needs - emotional, sexual, and social - are personified in your monogamous significant other. And not only is it difficult to separate the person from the role when things seem good, when things seem bad, it's basically impossible to separate your fear of losing the person from your fear of not having an SO, and/or your fears of not fulfilling any eventual goals you may have of marriage / children / never having to worry about dating again / etc.

This is why people struggle for months or years to stay in a relationship with somebody that in all honesty, they don't even like. And when the inevitable breakup finally happens, they can't spend enough time gushing venom about their ex. They felt all the same venom DURING the relationship too, but refused to acknowledge or do anything with it because they were really trying to relate to the role, not to the person they'd (inappropriately) placed in it. But once the person was no longer occupying the role, there was nothing protecting them from all the anger and dislike that had built up, unacknowledged or at least un-dealt-with, for all that time.

Ick.

People who aren't serially monogamous, and who don't commit to monogamy very nearly as soon as they become involved with someone else, generally get labeled "dogs" if they're men, or "sluts" or "easy" if they're women. Sometimes that's fair - there are certainly plenty of dogs, and plenty of sluts, in the world. What isn't fair is to assume that if you aren't serially monogamous, you must therefore be a dog or a slut.

In a way, I rather like the word player*. It has some unfortunate connotations - that if you associate with a "player", you got "played", et cetera. But, basically, that's what the first stage of any relationship really should be... play. You should be having fun and finding out what the other person is like... and you shouldn't be weighing yourself down with a whole bunch of assumptions about them and what role they're going to play in your life, and making your overall happiness dependent on them. So a "player" could just be someone who is still at a stage of "play" - they're not looking to lie to anyone about anything, or "break anyone's heart", or what have you; they're just enjoying life and learning - about themselves and about others.

And how the hell are you going to do that if, from almost as soon as you become romantically involved with someone, you make them Your One And Only until such time as you break apart? The short answer is: you're not. You will never be able to separate your feelings for the actual person from your desire for the Significant Other role itself, and how badly you want that role to be filled. Maybe you'll get lucky and both accidentally fill that role with someone appropriate and not fuck it up and drive them away. But if you aren't a fairly common sort of person who needs a fairly common sort of person, your odds are going to be pretty damn poor. And whether you eventually win or lose, there's going to be a hell of a lot of Wagner in the meantime. From the "OMFG I LOVE YOU" way too early, that's really your love for the role you want them to play, to the eventual "OMFG I HATE YOU!!!" for being a real person instead of being the fictitious ideal that fit your preconceived role. (Not to mention the rather common scenario in which the person exiting the SO role gets placed into another role - that of The Horrible Betrayer That Etc, Etc, Etc. Sigh.)

So basically what I told myself earlier this year was: I'm done with all that. Nuh-uh. No more. Not gonna do it. Sure, I'd love to be monogamous again one day and get married and have 1.5 kids and a house with a white picket fence and a catdog in the yard and a dogcat in the house, and maybe a minivan if necessary (but not an SUV!). And I even hope that it'll happen. But I'm not going to load myself or somebody up with all those expectations right off the bat. I don't trust myself to ever really get to know the other person if I'm so busy trying to stuff them into this role that I have built up. For that matter, I don't trust myself to build a reasonable role for someone else to fill at all if I don't actually get to know them first. So, yeah... for right now, I'm a "player." (Don't player-hate, congratulate!) It's not that I won't ever do monogamy again, it's just that I won't do it first - and when and if I do, monogamy is going to be a serious step in an already-established relationship. Sort of an engagement to be engaged, if you will. And if a girl I meet and would like to date can't understand that ... well, I'm probably better off not dating her to begin with.

* Incidentally, there is a perfectly good word for "not serially monogamous", and that word is "polyamorous." I just try not to use it because it's been seized gleefully upon by far too many fat nasty people looking to fuck as many other fat nasty people as possible, and I don't really want to lump myself in with THAT. Besides, "what up, playa?" is fun to greet your friends with. =)

 
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Comments:



 
[User Picture] From: tawnyleona
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 09:28 am
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You know, just dating instead of throwing yourself into a steady relationship can also help relieve some of those problems you're referring to. You act like as soon as you start dating someone you immediately break off all contact with anyone else and start talking marriage. That attitude isn't very healthy no matter what your view on monogomy is. Sleeping with other people doesn't help you to know someone better, but taking things slowly and not jumping into committments does.


 
From: (Anonymous)
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 09:32 am
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[User Picture] From: tawnyleona
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 09:50 am
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I understand, I just think you're putting too much emphasis on the word "monogamy" instead of just concentrating on taking the relationship slowly...every relationship I have rushed into has crashed and burned pretty quickly...it's only the one that I took things excrutiating slow in that has lasted for any time...


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 09:54 am
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heh, dammit I knew that would happen when I deleted that reply. I wish you could EDIT the damn things. Anyway, see below.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 09:43 am
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"oh, that's the only person I date and I can't date anybody else or sleep with anybody else unless I break up with them, but it's not serious. we're just dating."

Uh. Doesn't really work very well.


 
From: scintil8ingwdsm
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 09:56 am
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Jimbo.. sometimes I wonder if ya just think too much. I mean too much for your own good sometimes.

The problem is... I agree with you. Darn!

and.. I've missed you.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 10:16 am
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Jimbo.. sometimes I wonder if ya just think too much. I mean too much for your own good sometimes.
Valid thing to wonder. But in this case, I've got the scars present to demonstrate what happens when you don't think. =)

and.. I've missed you.
::beams::


 
[User Picture] From: tawnyleona
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 10:30 am
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Well, bottom line is, since you are only one person, it's not a valid scientific experiment, so you find what works for you, but it's not necessarily going to work for other people.

I still think you're too stuck on the word "monogamy"...but then, in my dating style, I always tried not to sleep with more than 2 people in a 14 week period. For health, safety, and sanity reasons. I had one guy who figured this out and would only sleep with me every 14 days, guaranteeing that he was always the only guy sleeping with me with the least amount of work. I'm not incredibly stupid, though, so I eventually just passed on the 14th day and then slept with someone else on the 15th, effectively dismissing our relationship.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 11:29 am
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And I am baffled at how you can think I'm too stuck on the word "monogamy" when you described your own dating style as, effectively, "trying to fuck an average of no more than one person a week."


 
[User Picture] From: tawnyleona
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 11:43 am
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No more than one person every two weeks...:)


 
[User Picture] From: discogravy
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 11:47 am
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you dated someone who considered fucking "work"?

i'm sorry.


 
[User Picture] From: tawnyleona
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 01:39 pm
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No, the fucking isn't the work. The rest of it is.


 
[User Picture] From: discogravy
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 09:00 pm
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so...why...not...fuck...you...every day? or every other day? waiting 2 weeks between fucks just to be sure to be the only guy seems...kind of stupid.


 
[User Picture] From: ravenword
Date: August 25th, 2003 - 06:56 am
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Perhaps fucking and not doing anything else wasn't an option, and he couldn't handle the stress of going out for pancakes afterward.


 
[User Picture] From: hotcrab
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 02:22 pm
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i think talking or dealing with anyone who would be so orderly about sex would dive me fucking nuts, personally



 
[User Picture] From: lauracroft
Date: August 26th, 2003 - 01:43 am
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*supresses snicker*


 
[User Picture] From: buckylea
Date: August 23rd, 2003 - 09:44 pm
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you make it very hard to separate the person themselves from the role that the person is occupying, or that you want them to occupy

okay THIS i understand perfectly. and you're right, in a lot of ways. but i do agree with that person up there that said maybe you could just date people and still be monogamous when it comes to serious/sexual relationships. that's how i'd do it anyway, if i "dated" and it would suit me because i don't have sex.

australia is fucked up in all kinds of ways but one of them is that people generally place far too much emphasis on relationships and not enough on dates. ie. casual dates, the getting to know you but with no obligations type. i wish i could hang out with a different boy every weekend without much emotional strings being formed.

er. i didn't explain that very well but nevermind. i understand what you mean now and it's good.


 
[User Picture] From: biffious
Date: August 24th, 2003 - 07:18 pm
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"australia is fucked up in all kinds of ways but one of them is that people generally place far too much emphasis on relationships and not enough on dates. ie. casual dates, the getting to know you but with no obligations type. i wish i could hang out with a different boy every weekend without much emotional strings being formed. "

I must of missed that part of living here.


 
[User Picture] From: buckylea
Date: August 24th, 2003 - 08:37 pm
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dude, you know it's true. when you're in high school, you have these little "relationships"... people ask "will you go out with me?" instead of "will you go on a date with me?"
as soon as you're seen with someone people assume ou're together, as opposed to just "dating". i guess it lessens as you get older, i've been on a couple of 'dates" i guess but noone called them that.


 
[User Picture] From: biffious
Date: August 24th, 2003 - 08:54 pm
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High school yeah, but the rest of real life its been dates, and in my case, trying to avoid calling them a relationship. I'd rather "date" a person for 2-3 months than admit I'm in a relationship.


 
[User Picture] From: buckylea
Date: August 24th, 2003 - 10:08 pm
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yeah exactly. that's what i'm saying... we should be able to hang out and mayve kiss or do whatever without it being an "eclusive' relatiinship kinda thing. like poeple always assume that you're a couple just cause you're hanging out a lot. i dont know. i do it too, thats why im saying i wish it was different

oh and excuse my typing im at uni. mac keyboards= werid


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: August 24th, 2003 - 10:44 pm
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we should be able to hang out and mayve kiss or do whatever without it being an "eclusive' relatiinship kinda thing.
In other words, you're agreeing with me, but you're hesitant to say too much about sex itself because you're celibate whether or not you have an SO.


 
[User Picture] From: buckylea
Date: August 24th, 2003 - 11:13 pm
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yeah
but not really... errr.. i dunno. i guess it depends on what you define a relationship as.
blah i;m confused now and meant to be doing work
leavemealone


 
[User Picture] From: lauracroft
Date: August 26th, 2003 - 01:46 am
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*giggle* I like responses to this post. See what you've done, Jimbo? You've gotten everyone mixed up, you caveman, you


 
[User Picture] From: lauracroft
Date: August 24th, 2003 - 09:43 am
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ok, I'm abuot to be a pain in the a**

So, I believe that most of this is probably true for those who are emotionally un-advanced. Granted, it's understandable; it's not easy to unlearn society's ways and learn truly healthy ways to be.

It's also very telling...


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: August 24th, 2003 - 10:34 am
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Re: ok, I'm abuot to be a pain in the a**

Jimbo Jones, Emotional Caveman. That's me.


 
[User Picture] From: discogravy
Date: August 24th, 2003 - 12:17 pm
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"so...tell me about this talking box? are those people trapped in there?"


 
[User Picture] From: lauracroft
Date: August 26th, 2003 - 01:44 am
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Re: ok, I'm abuot to be a pain in the a**

since you put it like that, if you'd like to drag me around by my long hair sometime.....

;-)


 
[User Picture] From: sesby
Date: August 25th, 2003 - 07:59 am
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something witty goes here

I think you've made some very healthy observations and conclusions.


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