Monogamy A Mythology


Once upon a time, ancient Greeks built shrines and altars, made sacrifices, and dedicated ceremonies, all in honor of their gods. Many actually believed the Olympians, like Zeus and Apollo, were living deities that could bless or curse them depending on their estimation of them.

Then, one day, some wise dude with a beard came along and said, “You know those gods aren’t really real, right? That’s so last century.”

Oh, those silly Greeks and their primitive beliefs.

Fast-forward some 2500 years to present day America. A newer mythology has arisen: monogamy. This creed has its believers thinking that a person can date and marry one partner and remain faithful for the duration of their relationship. These people actually believe someone can stay in a relationship for years without cheating. I happen to be one of those crazy people.

Silly folks, Trix are for kids.

Most of my favorite songs involve heartbreak. Great art is born from sorrow and negative emotions. Destroyed beauty, like the Roman Colosseum (I totally had to look up the spelling there). True artists turn that pain into something spectacular. Adele is a prime example. Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, and many others also have songs about breakups. When you glean through the lyrics you can usually ascertain the reason for that breakup. More often than not, someone’s cheated.

As a side note, I find it interesting that financial difficulties is one of the main reason American couples get divorced, yet no one sings about it. Perhaps I should try to record a one-hit wonder entitled “Cuz Your Money Ain’t Right.” But I digress.

No, we sing along with the songs, denouncing infidelity. We beat our chest and cry out “How could she?” or “I thought I meant more to him.” Cheating is no trifle. It could utterly destroy an otherwise healthy relationship. It’s devastating, like a wrecking ball crashing through a once immaculate skyscraper.

For those of us who vouch for fidelity, the numbers aren’t on our side.

Studies show only 9% of mammals, besides humans, remain monogamous with the partner they have children with. Less than 20% of human societies around the world uphold monogamy as a virtue, even if their members fail to meet that standard. It would appear we are a dying breed.

Well, I’d rather be single than stay in a relationship where I know my partner is cheating on a regular basis. That’s my line in the sand.

Wait, what if it happens once? Your partner slips up and finds themselves sleeping in someone else’s twin bed one night. It was an accident, like forgetting to turn off the stove before heading to work. They swear up and down that they’ve cut off all communication with that person, letting you watch them delete that person’s number off their phone, and claim they will never do it again.  They even do the little Catholic cross sign across their body. Do you forgive them?

My gut feeling says “No,” but I’ve never been in that situation, in spite of how detailed my previous paragraph was. So, I can’t say for sure. Presently, I feel that cheating, even once, is grounds to terminate the relationship, like a breach in contract. Because, chances are, it will happen again, methinks. But, who knows? People change. I know I have. Shoot, 5 years ago I wouldn’t have imagined myself marrying another dude, but now I want to. My attitude towards sex and fidelity may evolve, as well.

On the other hand, one of Rihanna’s first hits, Unfaithful, almost celebrates infidelity. Even Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, cheated on her husband! What chance do I stand to find a lover who will not?

Will I be the sole flag bearer for the cause of monogamy? If that be the case, then, so be it. Is it wrong to believe that one partner can be faithful to me and I to him for as long as we are together? I know not. To borrow a cliché, if it’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

As Lena Dunham’s character from Girls, Hannah, says in a classic line, “I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time and thinks I’m the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only me.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I deserve someone who will commit to me and only me, as I will do the same. I’m reminded of the fact that love is a verb and not a feeling. Hell, I’m human, too. There will be times when I catch the eye of some sexy chap and forget who and where I am, as if I were hit by some a form of amnesia induced by attractive men. But, then I’ll snap back to reality and remember my commitment. Because, cheating is no simple slip-up, but a series of poor choices that leads to two people in bed. Or over the washer during its rinse cycle. Wherever.

I’ll make sure to avoid that first step to the dark side, even enlisting the aid of friends and family to keep me in check. I need a partner who would do the same.

Possibly, if we fast-forward another 2000 years, given that we survive global warming, our superior descendants might meet for coffee at Starbucks and guffaw at our antiquated notions of fidelity. This will happen just before their appointments with their third concubines that night. King-Solomon-Style. TC Mark

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