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.