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July 15, 2014

Confessions of a Serial Monogamist.

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HBO gave us shows like “Sex and the City” and “The Mind of the Married Man.” 

There are novels and articles that show women how to runswimcatchfishhunt their way into bed and—eventually, hopefully—into perfect nuptial bliss.

But what about those of us whose romantic bent lies nestled between the daters and the maters?  Those of us for whom neither hot sweaty sex nor marriage is the goal?  What about the serial monogamists?

Many of us don’t even realize we’re serial monogamists. We think we just really suck at long-term commitment. But just the opposite is true!

Sure, we’ve all heard of (or perhaps dated) the poor sap who’s had a string of two (or three or six) year relationships his whole adult life. But what we are beginning to realize—as more serial monogamists stand up in unity—is the process of spending one’s third date signing a lease together is not a social dysfunction. It’s a quest for self-enrichment. I realize this is a stretch, so let me explain.

On the surface, serial monogamists appear to be folks mature enough to depart from the tedious dating scene by entering a committed relationship. But at the same time, they seem to be afraid of the nebulous future—The Big M.

It’s not that simple. Not many realize that this limbo lifestyle is—regardless of whether the serial monogamist is even aware of it—a choice. Think of it this way: for the serial monogamist, a one-night stand can last years at a time.

There are two principal tenets of serial monogamy:

First, we don’t believe only one soulmate exists for each of us.

This is a must. If you don’t believe this, you’re not a serial monogamist, you’re just someone who really sucks at long-term commitment. (See above, paragraph two.)  Given the size of the planet, there are probably thousands of potential soulmates out there. This notion belongs to the same camp that argues it is naïve to think the human race is the only intelligent life in the universe.

Second, some of us believe that by not dating, by staying in a committed relationship for however long it organically lasts, more time is left to cultivate the unique blossom of individuality innate in all of us.

This, in turn, enables us to become more productive members of society while simultaneously reuniting with the universe in compassion and oneness by our living example. That’s the big picture, anyway.

This cultivating-the-self-as-a-whole-and-actualized-individual thing is no easy task without a romantic partner. It’s the kind of quest that sends seemingly ordinary people into mountain-dwelling hermitdom.

So, you can see how bringing another entire psyche into the mix (in the form of a man who holds an advanced degree yet suddenly needs your assistance administering his own Band-Aid®) can be stressful to say the least.

And if it doesn’t work—and goodness knows it often doesn’t—we still go through the ritual mourning period cocooned in flannel jim-jams, eating handfuls Cookie Crisp cereal while staring at the refrigerator magnets. And then we get out there and, somehow, find ourselves another soulmate.

But once we’re ensconced in a new partnership, there’s no more dating angst.

No more waiting by phones. No arguments about wedding reception table seating arrangements. No forced kinship with in-laws. I maintain that serial monogamy can be not only mutually rewarding but, in the long run, this lifestyle could be the very thing that saves the human race from destroying itself through suffocation by its own shadow.

Or it could be a completely self-delusional existence borne of the paralyzing fear of joining the rest of the baah-ing sheep herd of society, finding a mate, projecting love/sex/power and general perfection onto him, getting married and suddenly waking one morning with three kids and a nagging sense that the walls of your suburban, four-bedroom, ranch-style home are closing in on you and you can’t remember the person you truly, truly are. That is, if you even took the time to find out in the first place, considering you spent all your youthful energy finding a partner.

Personally, I choose the former. Death-by-shadow-suffocation is such a downer. Do you agree? What’s your preferred method of intimate interaction with others?

 

 

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Editor: Travis May
Photo: Wiki Commons

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