Emotional Monogamy: is it Healthy?

A blog for Jim, who requested the topic of “Emotional Monogamy,” in my Blogging for Dollars (fundraising for Relay for Life) challenge.

When I was 10 years old my mom used to drive my sisters and I up to San Francisco to visit my grandparents. We often drove through the Haight & Ashbury area, and I would press my hands and nose against the car window with wide-eyed wonder and plead, “Please let me get out and walk with them! Please!”

It was 1972.

Then the ’80’s came and the hippies were replaced by Madonna wannabes.

I dressed the part: the torn shirts, wild hair, and dramatic eye makeup, but on the inside I was still thinking about those hippies on Haight & Ashbury. I identified with them and their free loving attitudes, and surmised I had been born 10 years too late.

1980-1984: I attended San Diego State University, the complete antithesis of Haight & Ashbury, and felt like a child looking through the plastic packaging at the land of Barbie and Ken.

When I graduated from college I moved back to the Bay Area and shared a house with three of my high school friends, and we created the closest thing to commune living as you can in the suburbs of sophisticated Saratoga, California. We not only shared a house, but we shared a common belief, that openly loving each other was the only way to live.

I have been married twice since that time in Saratoga, and both times I had no problem being sexually monogamous. However, I constantly struggled with the concept of emotional monogamy, that is, being restricted to only having a deep and meaningful emotional connection with one person at a time. It seemed so unnatural to me. But jealousy rears its ugly head when people are insecure.

I am an openly loving person, and my friendships run deep. I have intense emotional connections with my core group of friends, and I’m not about to give that up. I have an equal number of male and female friends, and each one of them satisfies something in my soul.

So, the real question for me is, is there someone out there who can meet all of my emotional needs? I doubt it. Problem is, that’s what we all expect from our partners. We expect that person to be our everything. It’s unrealistic.

We are a nation of posers if you ask me. Everyone’s trying to give the outward appearance of being monogamous, but statistics say that 80% of those claiming to be sexually and/or emotionally monogamous are actually sneaking around behind their partner’s backs. Why? Because monogamy is a choice not a natural predication.

It is hard to choose emotional monogamy with the Internet at your finger tips 24 hours a day. We exchange emails and text messages like handshakes. The line has been eternally blurred.

We all try so hard to fit into this pre-defined society we live in, and wonder why we fail. The world is changing my friend. Look around you. People are redefining relationships every day.

When I die I want my obituary to say, “She loved.”

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