Thursday, August 16, 2007

Monogomy and Me.

Turns out my family is full of serial monogamists. Shocking, but true.

Each of my extended family members has either been in a long-term, committed relationship, usually resolving in marriage when his girlfriend threatens to break up with him and the Walker in question will simply shrug and say, "okay. Let's get married."
PS- All Other Walkers are male.

As the only female Walker in the family, somehow, I've missed this pattern. I am always either not dating anyone OR breaking out in hives and ditching someone on the roster for expecting me to be exclusive after 2 dates. The cruel irony is that I am the only one immersed in a religious culture that prioritizes marriage and family.

So there you have it. I am from a family of chronic monogamists and, apparently, monogamy is determined by the male. So why must it be such a shock that I don't gravitate toward committed relationships? What's the point, if, ultimately, HE is the one who will have to sit down, focus, and make our relationship move forward? Am I weaseling out of responsibility if I expect a call to commitment to rest on the shoulders of the man I'm dating, or is that simply going easy on him until he's ready to man up and make it happen? Likewise, is a man likely to do so if he knows the woman he's with is okay with continuing dating other men until HE stands up and demands otherwise?

My last major relationship was pretty open. As in, I dated other people and he knew about it, and he went out with someone else when I was otherwise occupied. Despite this, he was really the only one I deeply connected with, and (despite other dates discouraging me from dating him), he was actually the only one I really wanted to ever be with. But I continued going out with other people that I DID find attractive and interesting, since mi Primaro had simply not yet asked me for an exclusive relationship. And while I was certainly not interested in kissing anyone else, I did not find objection to the possibility he might be doing so. When my girlfriends referred to him as my "boyfriend," I was quick to correct them. He was someone I was dating and that I liked very much; but he was not my boyfriend. We were together almost every night and talked every day, but we were not mutually exclusive. I did not want to be assumptive about his level of commitment, since we had not formally discussed the fact I was continuing to go out with other people, and (while I could tell he found it somewhat inconvenient), he never objected to it.

An acquaintance later related that he only kissed girls if he was playing "for keeps." He continued that any man who would kiss me without expecting an exclusive relationship of me was an idiot and not to be trusted. (Both these items turned out to be true, but that's beside the point.) At the time, I was rather shocked. I've certainly never subscribed that kissing is meaningless, but I've also never expected that it means EVERYTHING, either. At what point can monogamy become assumptive? Can it ever be assumed? A friend (male) said today that, "I don't care if you've had the discussion or not- if you're seeing someone almost every day and you're kissing, and dating on a regular basis, that is your boyfriend/girlfriend. People need to quit making such a big deal of it." I have to agree. By subscribing such a weighty expectation to the title, "boyfriend," we expect absolute monogamy. In which case, all that's missing is the ring! Right?

I'm not sure if I'm advocating monogamy and commitment or borderline philandering...All I know is that so many people are complaining about not dating enough- men AND women- and I'm just tired of it. Maybe if commitment wasn't such a big deal, we'd be more open to doing all the things that preceded it. And if we could all recognize that dating was simply a process of focusing on one person at a time in order to get to know them better, instead of expecting that dating is the only step preceding Terminal Commitment, I think we'd all be getting more of what we want. Both sides of the fence would be appeased. We'd all be dating more, feel better appreciated and acknowledged because we have someone willing to spend a decent hour or two focused solely on us, and from that, we could determine which dates had better chemistry and shared a deeper connection. Those of you who are serial monogamists- do you find this an acceptable meeting place? A middle ground, where you could find patience with those of us who aren't quite so eager to seal the deal until we have a few damn good reasons to? Or are you just rolling your eyes at me again, getting ready to point the finger and accuse me once again of being non-committal?

* PS- For the record, I misspelled "monogamy" every. single. time. in this original draft. The irony is not lost on me.


feelingflirty said...

Life is really all about the people we love and that we surround ourselves with. The rest of it is just to allow those times to happen.

Vanilla Vice said...

I am trying. I'll start telling every guy I've dated over the past three years to start reading your blog.

f*bomb. said...

Wait...You're trying what? To not push the commitment button so soon? Or you mean allow for a little more dating and a little less "Relationship"?

I'm not sure how much men should read my Blogg. Sometimes I fear I think too much like one and it may give them ammunition to be insensitive @holes. At least we know I'm SENSITIVE. Relatively speaking.

Lauren said...

huh. I never ask for exclusivity, say the "L" word first, or bring up marriage. I always leave that one in the guy's hands, but then again, I don't know how well that works since most of the time the guys who are willing to do all of that aren't usually the ones I normally would've chosen in the first place. The ones I like usually end up with normal girls who will at least initiate a DTR.

Tannerama said...

The DTR gets hated on a lot. But, it takes out a lot of the guess work.

I don't know about the rest of you. But I still plan on dating other people after marriage. Why should I not go out with interesting attractive people simply because I have pledged fidelity to someone else? Trivialities, I say!

Sarita said...

I don't know how to DTR. One of the things I didnt learn in kindergarten.

aaronymous said...

the DTR. it is lame, and here is why it gets hated on. yes, tan is correct, it does remove a lot of guess work, but listening to the ones who hate DTRs it seems they ACTUALLY hate getting DTRed at the wrong time, at the end of a first date, at the end of sacrament meeting one sunday, on Gchat, in the middle of a fight about something else entirely OR getting DTRed by the wrong person, someone you have dated a few times but not really that interested in, someone you have NEVER dated only been around in group gatherings, someone wanting exclusivity not for the relationship's sake but for pride's sake.
i have had several serious relationships. i've also dated more than i care to remember. those relationships seemed to emerge from dating, spending time together, maybe one or 2 needed the actual TALK, the rest it was really apparent that whenever i was free, i'd be with her and vice versa, no DTR neccessary.
i am definitely someone who believes we have changed the exclusivity/boy/girlfriend mole-hill into a mountain. it just doesn't need to be so severe.

ps it is funny, so many complain they aren't dating at all yet rush to defend keeping their options open, avoiding monogamy at all costs, on all fronts...hmm

aaronymous said...

by the way, no lie, the google ad on your blog right now is for
"Married Women For Affairs" find married women who are seeking guys for affairs, meetings and dates an affair guide, awesome.

Dainon said...

I'm a serial monogamist simply because I enjoy my own company more than I do spending time with most others. Do I complain that I'm not dating? Not in the least. It gets in the way of my book reading and hiking and, oh, time spent lounging by the pool.

k8 said...

not a fan of the DTR. if you have ask what your status is it's usually not going to be the answer you want.

but i do think that if there was less pressure in dating i.e. if a boy asks me out once we might get married or if i kiss someone it means he's my boyfriend, then i don't think people would stress about it as much. more folks would date and more relationship would happen organically.

organic is my theory on everything though. forcing things or defining things or dating my theories like mormons love to do makes me nuts.

k8 said...

ugh, dating BY theories is what i meant. and what i really meant was catchphrase anyway. you know-people who have names and categories for the people they date and phrases they use to define them? counterproductive.

a friendly visitor said...

I'm not sure DTR means the same thing all the time. I think there has to be a point where you both, i don't know, make sure you're on the same page. And it doesn't have to be 3 hours long and totally painful. It could be "so.. i like you..." "you do? i'm kinda liking you too..." and voila! Then you can allow yourselves to totally let go, knock down the walls and just be vulnerable, the hardest thing to do.

I had a moment like that with my amour and it was really fun and funny and over MSN which might be lame but MAN i wish i'd kept that conversation. It was awesome, as in hilarious.

Rudie Can't Fail said...

Re: You and your previous BF...err...whatever.

Your POV: I only want to be with him, but he has not asked me to be exclusive, so I am not sure what his commitment level is. I will keep dating other guys until he brings it up.

His POV: I only want to be with her, but she keeps dating other guys, so I am not sure what her commitment level is. I'm not going to bring it up because I don't want to hear, "I still want to date around."

Sounds like the issue with you guys was not so much commitment but communication. I hate the DTR as much as the next guy, but in your case it probably would have been helpful. Doesn't have to be "I'd like to move this relationship one step closer to an appointment at the Manti Temple", but a low key conversation could have done wonders. Lack of communication led to lack of commitment.

f*bomb. said...

Well- I leave out specifics of my personal relationship because...well- it's personal. Trust me on this one- while the chemistry was amazing and I adored him, as far as his character and dating history goes, he was NOT someone I was about to bend over backwards into commitment for. I, too, believe in organic relationships- but this is often what gets me into trouble. If only I weren't such an insensitive clod.

Besides. We DID DTR. He brought it up. Three times. So he could "officially" cheat on me. So lame. Had it not been for the 3 DTRs, I probably would have thought less of it.

f*bomb. said...

But I like when men suggest they have feelings, too. When they allude to their vulnerabilities. I think it's really easy (for me, at least) to assume that men don't really care much about that sort of thing. That was a nice touch, Rudie. Thanks.

Rudie Can't Fail said...

Oh. In that case...Dr's Laura and Phil agree: You did the right thing. Why would you commit to a guy who wanted to officially cheat on you?

And yes, us guys do have feelings. I once dated a girl who accused me of not having feelings. She acted accordingly and, predictably, ended up hurting those feelings. When she realized it, the look on her face went: Astonishment--->Understanding--->Remorse--->Oh S!@&, what did I do. That was a tough lesson to learn.

f*bomb. said...

Make no mistake, Rudie (or anyone else), being considerate is ALWAYS protocal.
When I say that I assume men don't really care, what I mean is that I assume they're not as sensitive as women are about things. NOT- men are hearless so it's okay to be unkind.
Don't be mean.
Do unto others...
yada, yada, yada.