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Is Monogamy to Blame for All of This Divorce?

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

For just about every couple that you or I may know who are getting married, we likely know another couple who are throwing in the towel.

It doesn’t seem to matter much anymore, kids/no kids/whatever, like it or not the fact of the matter is that an awful lot of people getting married today will be getting divorced in the next 8 to 12 years.

Sometimes I wonder if the whole “One partner for everything for life” thing is to blame. It seems as if we’re rarely ever looking outside the tiny, ironclad monogamy box that comes along with that stack of wedding presents.

In the wake of my own divorce after 10 years of monogamy, I got to wondering: is monogamy wrecking marriage? And is that why so many official unions these days seem to be all about getting married for a decade or so of real monogamy just to end in divorce?

Are we becoming more prone to fits of monogamy rather than the notion of “me and you forever,” moving to a point where all we need out of our marriages now is a good hearty decade or so of being “true” (or trying to be) to one single partner merely so that we can:

  1. Do the domestic thing
  2. Have some beautiful kids
  3. Maybe work our way up the career ladder with the mental and physical boost of a damn good partner for a while
  4. Leave the marriage when it all just becomes a suffocating hand over our ability to even breathe anymore

Like I said before, I loved being married in so many ways. And for a while there, I really thought that was it for me: “This is my life, me and her sitting here after we get the kids to bed, having some dinner and a cold beer, binge-watching some Breaking Bad or whatever.”

Looking back now though, that isn’t enough, is it? I mean, what about the soulful connection? What about the deep discussions about our individual and collective dreams? What about the tenderness that we all need more than we ever care to admit in these times when being “strong” is basically an excuse to hide your feelings and, quite possibly, end up being a giant a-hole.

What about the sex, man?

Why do these things tend to go away from so many marriages after a while?

And why do we just sit there on our proverbial couches and let them go away without fighting for them? Without reinventing them or reigniting them. Without any real attempt at understanding what might be poisoning the universal well.

Is it at all possible that all this marital sadness that leads to all this divorce is actually because we are, in fact, cheating ourselves? When we look each other in the eyes and that look says, “Yo, we are monogamous for the next 50/60 years, right?” is it at all possible that RIGHT THEN AND THERE we are signing off on the human experience we are meant to be having, one in which we love more than one partner at a time, not just sexually — look, maybe not even sexually at all.

But what about possibly connecting intellectually/psychologically/comically/spiritually/artistically and thus intimately with more than one person at a time over the long stretch of a marriage to one partner for the greater good of the family unit? What if this new idea was just as acceptable as the old idea that it’s totally unacceptable?

Or are we just too set in our ways, too jealous and envious to ever evolve to that stage?

I don’t know.

I repeat.

I.

Don’t.

Know.

Big parts of me probably wouldn’t know how to do it that way. I’ve been trained differently, the heavy railroad ties of monogamy slammed into my brain with the sledgehammers of tradition.

However, I do know this much. I’m divorced now; so is she. And there’s a good shot that so are you. And if not you, then someone just like you.

The way I see it, no one is talking much about the bigger picture when it comes to monogamy and divorce. We chalk most divorces, most broken homes, up to “irreconcilable differences.” Throngs of us move into the divorce phase like sheep, blindly assured by the fact that there is strength in numbers, and so how can EVERYBODY AND THEIR BROTHER divorcing possibly be wrong?

It seems to me that we perhaps don’t bother to look beyond the boring old church vows written centuries ago. We abide by a set of social standards that were conjured up in a long-ago castle in some foreign land, a castle now just a crumbling ruins where school kids go to eat their lunch and play grab ass in the long shadows of history.

We get married, same as we ever have, except nowadays we wake up one morning ravaged by the loneliness and unhappiness that has been building up within us over time.

So we file for divorce — again and again and again.

I’m curious, so maybe you tell me. Any chance it’s monogamy killing off the love?

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