Posted by Jerry on March 12, 2012
I think some clarity is required around the varieties of legitimate romantic relationship designs. In particular, we must dispel this notion that monogamy is identical to sexual fidelity.
In reality, truly loving and healthy romantic relationships can occur in at least the following designs. The different is merely in the negotiation of boundaries, keeping in mind the character, virtues, motivations, and psycho-sexual orientation of the individuals involved:
(1) Monogamous closed relationship — Sexual as well as Emotional/Romantic fidelity with only one partner
(2) Monogamous open relationship — Only Emotional/Romantic fidelity with only one partner, but sexual openness based on consensual boundaries
(3) Poly-amorous closed relationship — Sexual as well as Emotional/Romantic closed-ness with a defined and exclusive set of partners
(4) Poly-amorous open relationship — Sexual as well as Emotional/Romantic openness with an undefined and non-exclusive set of partners
In other words, the concept of monogamy does not necessarily include the behavior of sexual fidelity.
Now, there can be strong arguments made about the varying degrees of prudence, success, and wisdom attributable to each of the above relationship designs. For example, I believe that design number 4 above is highly imprudent as a practical manner of living, because it may not entail emotional stability and success in achieving some romantic goals; it may engender emotional conflicts and logistical difficulties, and it may demand unreasonable amounts of emotional, financial, and psychological investment.
Having said that, it does not follow that deep, intense, passionate, and real romantic love cannot exist and be experienced by individuals involved in any of the relationship designs described above.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: fidelity, infidelity, Love, monogamy, Open relationships, Relationships, Romance, sex | 3 Comments »
Posted by Jerry on January 27, 2009
In brief, my thoughts on bisexuals and their capacity to have committed, romantic relationships with a single partner.
The incomprehensibility surrounding a person’s bisexuality has mostly to do with the fact that people impute more layers of complexity to the matter than is actually warranted.
Bisexuality is just like any other sexual identity. Merely because a bisexual has the possibility of forging deep and romantic relationships with both sexes (or the possibility of being physically intimate with both sexes) does not mean that he is inexorably led to do so at every juncture! Neither does it mean that he will more quickly tire of his current partner and seek someone of the other sex than his heterosexual and homosexual counterparts would!
A bisexual may well choose a partner of either sex and live in a committed, long-term relationship. The bond that keeps two people together in a lasting relationship is not sexual orientation (that’s more like a precondition), but love–and all the necessary elements that lead to the summary emotion of love.
And are we to deny that bisexuals have the same capacity to experience true love–for whichever gender that may be?
Posted in Culture, General Work/Life, Homosexuality, Love and Romance, My Theories and Ideas, Objectivism, Personal, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tagged: bisexuality, bisexuals, Gay, gender identity, Homosexuality, Ideas, Love, Relationships, Romance, sex issues, sexual identity, sexual orientation | 8 Comments »
Posted by Jerry on November 20, 2008
People generally can’t quite decide whether monogamy is natural–or even possible–for humans (men, for the most part, I think, tend to pose this doubt). There’s usually debate about the morality of monogamy or multiple partners. Some people believe that monogamy is properly moral, but we are weak-willed humans and therefore cannot live up to the ideal in our relationships.
Others argue that monogamy is unnatural–and offer biologically deterministic arguments in their defense.
I have always held the view that monogamy is neither inherently moral or immoral — a relationship’s morality is the function of the character, values, and virtues of the people involved.
Having said that, I also hold the view that monogamy is a more prudent setup–and that we consciously come to recognize it as such usually only much later in our lives–for reasons that have nothing to do with a person’s character but because of the natural context that evolves around us.
Take this analogy:
When one is younger, one is tempted–and rightly so, I would argue–to try out different majors in college, simultaneously take different courses from different streams, trying to make up one’s mind about what one prefers. Likewise, when it comes to choosing a career, a young person is eager to try different streams; he is likely to switch jobs more frequently, hunt for jobs while staying on his current one for less than a year. A younger person is more open to physical mobility–to relocation, travel, new experiences, and new friends. A younger person has a higher tolerance for transformation, upheavals, and new starts.
As one gets older, the context evolves. People tend to get settled in their careers; their tenure at a job tends to get longer–perhaps even life-long. People tend to decide upon and setup a “base” which they call home, even if they are open to long trips away. People tend to make fewer, but longer-lasting friendships. As one gets older, the tolerance for transformation, upheavals, and new beginnings diminish greatly.
Hence, my argument around the choice of monogamy–and by implication, my views about its morality–takes a similar road. I think it’s primarily a matter of prudence in response to changing contexts.
It is clear that monogamy does not come easily to most people–and certainly not naturally–in the younger days of one’s adulthood. This is due to various reasons that make up the context within which this issue arises. And in my opinion, the reasons are as follows:
- For various physical and biological reasons that may differ among men and women, younger people tend to have a greater sexual appetite–not just in terms of frequency but also in terms of variety. (Of course, this does not mean that such “appetites” cannot be controlled or channeled, but that’s not the point here.)
- For various psychological reasons, younger people tend to be more resilient to break-ups. Even though while they undergoing one, they might think that a break-up is the end of the world, younger people become quickly aware of the fact that a whole life is ahead of them and that they can move on, that they deserve better, or that they can find another mate.
- For reasons similar to the one above, the pressures of maintaining fidelity and abiding by the rules of a relationship tend to be weak among younger people–again, because the end of a relationship is really not the end of the world.
- Younger people generally have access to–or are frequently placed in–social environments that open possibilities for exploring outside the relationship (e.g., clubs, colleges, etc.). Moreover, the modern world has opened up innumerable possibilities for younger people to connect with each other–across boundaries, even. (This opens up the tangential issue of whether a person having a purely online affair can be considered to be monogamous.)
- Younger people generally have a lower level of tolerance when things don’t go their way in a relationship or when they experience dissatisfaction in an aspect in that relationship.
For the reasons I outlined above, I think monogamy is harder to come by and equally harder to impose upon oneself when you’re young.
As people grow older, however, I think we generally shift our predispositions quite naturally to prefer monogamy–to prefer a kind of stability in romantic relationships.
It becomes more prudent–more sensible and in accordance with our nature as older adults–that we focus all our emotions, efforts, time, and money on a single partner (and expect likewise in reverse) because this is what lends us the most amount of physical, psychological, sexual, and emotional satisfaction.
To conclude, monogamy or open relationships are neither inherently moral or immoral. However, having said that, I believe that most people will tend towards monogamous relationships later in their lives of their own will as a consciously recognized and evaluated option that is most sensible for them–and hence, properly moral as well. Since what is rationally good for you with your life as the standard, is also properly moral.
Posted in Culture, General Work/Life, Homosexuality, India, Love and Romance, Mumbai, My Theories and Ideas, Philosophy, Rights and Morality, The Best of Leitmotif, Uncategorized | Tagged: bigamy, choice, Freedom, Gay, heterosexual, Homosexuality, Immorality, Love and Romance, Lover, monogamous, monogamy, Morality, Open relationships, Philosophy, polygamy, Relationships, romantic, straight | 10 Comments »
Posted by Jerry on December 12, 2006
Gawd, I almost cry everytime I listen to James Blunt’s Goodbye My Lover.
I have never spoken of these things before–not on my blog at least. What makes me bring them up now, I’m not sure. Perhaps, the sense of finality is dawning on me, that my life has irreversibly moved on–and so have the lives of those who were once part of mine.
What hurts me the most–and it hurts to the core everytime I am reminded of it–is the utter absence not only of my lover next to me but also of the common world that we once shared between us. I cannot even visit the same restaurant we so loved to frequent and order a Thai iced tea and summon his thoughts as I sip alone in silence.
Even the bitter solace of seeking those places in heavy solitude is robbed from me. Even that moonlight is denied me–by the planetarium where we had sat late into the night. All I have are thoughts–memories–ghosts. I do not even have the physical reminders of a love once cherished–not the sunset under which we buried our tired spirits after a long day’s work, nor the sunrise that we so eagerly awaited after an all-night out; not the expansive view out the third-floor balcony on which we stood silently in each other’s arms, nor the flitting images outside our car window as we went on our many roadtrips.
I can’t even walk the streets you walk, or pass by your house and hope to catch a glimpse of you.
Indeed, I long to simply see “Hawaiian Waffles” on a restaurant menu again, or a Banana split sundae. But no, nothing. Absolutely nothing around me relents. And that is what hurts the most. I am not afraid that I might forget you. I am afraid that, under this unrelenting environment that demands that I leave my memories behind, I might never leave your soul.
*The picture above is not of James Blunt or from any of his albums. It’s a picture I took of the one who is the subject of this post.
Posted in General Work/Life, India, Left Behind Series, Love and Romance, Personal, The Best of Leitmotif | Tagged: Goodbye, James Blunt, Love, Lover, memories, parting, Relationships, Romance, separation | 6 Comments »