Disclaimer. This whole piece is a concept. It’s a thought exercise I roll around in my head. I’m not going to leave my wife. I’m not going to cheat on my wife. I made a commitment and I’m going to honour it. I do enjoy cultural fiction though.
Any person is stronger in a team. Our ability to communicate and function in groups is our evolutionary advantage over every other animal on this planet. Why then do we limit ourselves to one person? Worse, we set expectations that this one person will ‘complete us’, ‘make us happy’, or simply ‘be enough’. Sadly though, no matter who you decide to team up with they’ll be lacking. Things about them will drive you crazy and things about you will drive them crazy.
Sharing income and household responsibilities is necessary in 2016 to keep up with the Jones’ and there is definite value, security, trust, and belonging in a committed relationship. I think there is excitement and personal satisfaction from having multiple partners as well. Most times though the single-life results in loneliness. Are you with me so far?
I think things like infidelity, 50% of marriages ending in divorce, threesomes within a marriage, or swinging are cultural indications that the idea of one person for the rest of our lives is not universally accepted. We love the idea of marriage, monogamy, and commitment in theory but in practice it fails.
Marriage has historically been between a man and a woman (I’m all for gay marriage, just stating a fact.) because there was cultural incentive to have children. Birth rates were very important in the pre-globalization, pre-immigration world. There is security in numbers. Modern technology reduces our dependence on children for labour on farms. Modern medicine makes having many children unnecessary as the chances of survival for fewer are much higher. We still have sex but we do so for fun and our culture is a reflection of that. We have birth control so unwanted children is not a concern in our newly and proudly promiscuous lifestyles.
The construct of marriage has survived the test of time because it is so deeply rooted in the church, government, and family. It has changed a lot as well. We marry for love and choose our own partners now. Women are not seen as property of their husbands so much anymore although men still slap their names on women (myself included) like they put their names in their hockey pads. Since 19783 women are no longer able to be raped by their husbands in Canada. That’s awesome.
I think culturally we keep marriage simple because it gets very complicated very fast when a third person is added to the relationship, and exponentially more complicated with a fourth or fifth person. With two there’s always resentment and secrecy but it is only in one place, the safest place in the world; your head. As long as you suffer silently no one is betrayed. No one can get jealous.
What is betrayal? What is jealousy? Betrayal is the feeling you get when someone breaks a promise, contract, or obligation in favour of another person. A person cannot betray someone without the third party. Jealousy is a bit weirder. It exists in the grey area between “envy of someone else’s possessions or achievements” and being “fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions”. Wife feels betrayed when husband breaks marital promise and sticks penis inside of another woman’s vagina. Jealous wife is protective of her husband and envious of whore who gets time with him that she does not. i.e. That’s her penis!
Wherever there are jealousy and ambition, there are also disharmony and wickedness of every kind; James 3:16
Can’t emotions be mitigated if we change our expectations? Yes, they can. The little bit of Buddhism I’ve picked up so far has shown me I can change my desires. I focus a lot of mental energy on purging myself of desire. When I see something that I want or feel like I want to have sex with someone else I remind myself that I don’t want those things, what I actually want is peace of mind. What I actually want is happiness. In practicing this thought exercise I show myself that those shallow desires are not the path to what I truly desire. The feeling of calm that comes over me when I practice this exercise is tangible.
Lets pretend for a minute that we can all easily control our emotions and expectations in our relationships and talk about how the Denobulans do it.
Denobulans are a fictional species in the Star Trek universe. They’re on the liberal extreme of marriage. They are allowed to choose three mates each. Each male has three wives and each wife has three husbands. Their sexual networks are exponential. So obviously the first problem would be STD. Disease would travel through an arrangement like this like wildfire. It’s Star Trek though so every STD has been cured! At this extreme you start to question what the value is in marriage at all.
At the end of the day marriage in our society remains the tax exempt baby production centre of the modern world. It creates a stable, long term construct for the raising of children and can easily be torn down by infidelity and feelings of betrayal and jealousy. This typically leaves children with abandonment and attachment issues. I assume this is why marriage endures.
I am always wondering what we as a species are thinking but not saying. I refuse to believe I am different or odd so I am forced to conclude that if I’m thinking it then other good, married men are too. I know damn well they are because of what I see in the world every day. We get caught. We get shamed. We get our asses handed to us in court. I imagine most of us still love our wives. The problem is that we change as we go through life. We develop new interests that our partner might not be interested in. We branch out on our own and we meet new people that are different and exciting. The standard argument is ‘you can have friends who are girls just don’t have sex with them.’ This is the thing in my life I am finding increasingly difficult to ignore.
This is all self justifying rhetoric so I can guilt free fuck someone who is not my wife. I’m a good bullshitter but sadly I’m not good enough to bullshit myself.
I have many friends who are girls. I don’t want to have sex with them all. I just want to have sex with the interesting, warm, smart, funny, caring, sexy ones… yeah. What’s wrong with that?! lOl I don’t want to spend money on them or think they’re so amazing I’ll run off with them. I’m attracted to them. They make my heart beat faster.
If Ann Marie starts banging a doctor when she becomes a nurse I’ll be pissed off that I didn’t cheat on her all these years.