Weaknesses in arguments lie in assumptions that aren’t necessarily true. It turns out that the same is true for dating. We make small assumptions like thinking they’ll hold the door, be on time, or take out the trash. But other assumptions can lead to more than just a few minutes of being annoyed. Is assuming monogamy when dating in today’s world a recipe for disappointment? Does anyone even dare assume it anymore? Has it become ancient practice?
My boyfriend and I discussed this the other day. I was shocked by how different our stances were. You see, he, a man, is the most monogamous person I’ve ever met. Not only over a year into our relationship but from the very moment the prospect of dating me (or anyone) came about. I couldn’t believe it- I had inadvertently found who felt like the last classic romantic. All others had been killed off by today’s hyper-stimulation, technology, and the consequent inability to be vulnerable. Or, maybe they were killed off like I was- hanging on for dear romance but unavoidably kicked over to the dark side by disappointment and somewhat trauma. At some point, after my friends and I experienced getting hurt repeatedly by our own wrong assumptions, I not only adapted, but I integrated. It felt necessary to do so to survive dating in today’s world.
After accepting the world of not assuming monogamy from near strangers, I began to wonder if it was really all that dark. Sure, true romance was quite dead, but haven’t we become a society that is satisfied with mere appearances? Did monogamy matter all that much if we have millions of potential next suitors at the reach of our fingertips? The dates, the flowers, the laughs, the sex (if you choose to) will never really leave, even if the people do. Just order more with a swipe to the right. There are also so many options- it’s no longer just Romeo throwing pebbles at our window. It’s the entire world liking our photos, sending us heart-eye emojis, giving us the constant shot of dopamine that we can’t seem to get enough of. How do we know we’re not missing out on something better by sticking to just one person, even if it’s only for a brief moment in time? Have people become as disposable as our leftover food? I’d say we haven’t become disposable, but we have become accustomed to treating others and being treated as such. I mean, we live in a world where “ghosting” – someone completely disappearing on us out of nowhere- doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Rather, we expect the inability to be honest- the inability to be vulnerable. It is this same inability that makes it nearly impossible to be monogamous, if we’d really want to, but choose to give into hyper-stimulation as a protective shield instead. Understandable, of course.
Unless it outright expressing that one prefers polygamy, can we ever assume monogamy without having “the conversation”? Does making such an assumption ever end in anything else but disappointment? And, even if it happens not to, do we ever date without the protective shield? Is it reasonable to expect anyone to do so anymore?
I think not but, as a romantic that adapted to the “dark side” to survive, I can give you the hope that romance never really dies.
Note: I do believe that romance is possible in polygamy, but this article is written in the context of the romance many associate with monogamy.