Oh, Willow

Willow Smith appeared on her mom’s Red Table discussion recently, talking about her decision to be polyamorous. She’s twenty, so of course she’s got all of this figured out. I wish I could go back in time to when I knew everything… But I digress.

Where were we? Oh yes. Polyamory. Look, if you want more than one partner and you’re honest and upfront about it from the very beginning I don’t care what you do. If the object of your affection doesn’t mind sharing and knows what they’re getting into then have at it. It’s not for me but if two other people come to an honest agreement I don’t give a damn. Nonetheless, I have a couple of issues with what Willow is trying to sell the nation.  

“With polyamory, I feel like the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you and not just stepping into monogamy because that’s what everyone around you says is the right thing to do…”

Hmmm… who are all of these people that are commenting on other people’s sex lives? She makes it sound like people are forced into monogamy. No one is forced to get married. No one is forced to date only one person at a time. This idea that your only two choices are monogamy or cheating is a falsehood. Personally I’m beyond tired of hearing people act like monogamy is being forced upon them. No, what generally happens is that monogamy works for the cheater, or at least the appearance of monogamy works for the cheater. Then when they’re caught they begin whining about how monogamy was forced upon them and it’s not natural.

Willow goes on to tell us that after doing some research into polyamory she has discovered that “the main reasons… why divorces happen is infidelity.”

Willow, you’re probably onto something. Infidelity probably is one of the main reason that people end up divorced. Unfortunately, being polyamorous doesn’t mean you won’t experience infidelity. That agreement you have with your partners? Those are rules you’ve agreed upon. You need to follow those. Cheaters aren’t good at following rules. They hate following rules. Rules are for other people. Not them. They’re very special. All it takes is for you and your partner(s) to have an agreement about something, anything, and for your partner(s) to go behind and your back and do the exact opposite of what was agreed upon. Boom! You’ve now experienced infidelity- even in a polyamorous relationship.

I’ve head it said many times by people who have been cheated on that it’s not the fact their partner had sex with someone else that is so painful; it’s all the lies and the gas lighting along with the discard and everything else that goes along with cheating on your partner. Now, let’s be honest. If the mobster came up to me tomorrow and said, “Sam, sweetie, I love you but there’s someone else I’m very attracted to and I’m going to have to sex with her. I thought you should know because after all, it’s the lies and not the sex with another person that is so painful. We’re good, right?” well, let’s just say that conversation would not go over well. At. All. But I get what everyone else is saying. The secrecy, the lies, the double life, making you think you’re crazy, making you doubt yourself… those are the cherries on top of the shit sundae that is infidelity. It’s also what so many cheaters thrive on. They love the double life. They love knowing something that their trusting partner doesn’t know. They get off on it.

Now add in the fact that most of them don’t want their partners having other partners. It’s fine for them to have a buffet of choices, but let’s face it. If their partner also is allowed other partners then they won’t have their full attention and that simply won’t do. Everyone is to worship them. You are to have no gods before them. It’s not a transparent agreement. It’s a one sided arrangement that benefits only one person- the person who knows what’s going on. It’s amazing how many cheating spouses claim to be  polyamorous, yet all of their partners are monogamous. Strange, huh? It’s almost like that’s deliberate, or something.

Naturally mom Jada was all about the polyamory. She, too, bought into the idea that people seek out monogamous relationships because they “feel like they have no other choice.” She then suggested that the majority end up practicing “unethical non-monogamy” (otherwise known as cheating, and called out as such by her mom, known as Gammy on the show).

Again, no one is forced to be monogamous. But when you lead a person to believe that you’re going to be monogamous and have sex only with them, they expect you to be faithful. Funny how that works. 

Let’s be real. This idea that monogamy is being forced upon anyone is a load of horse shit. It is a total cop out. Most of these poor, misunderstood people forced into monogamy are usually getting something out of it. Either their spouse wouldn’t have agreed to marry them under other conditions, or the spouse is of use to them. They make them look like an upstanding citizen. They can pull off Mother or Father of the Year with their trusty spouse beside them, pulling the majority of the weight. They’re fed, their clothes are washed, their kids are taken care of, they have a steady income coming into the household. Another person is doing all of the adulting so they can go off and play. It’s not that they’re “forced” into monogamy. It’s that leading someone on to think they’re in a monogamous relationship means they’re getting their needs met. Then when they’re caught cheating they whine that they were forced into monogamy and if only they had been allowed non-traditional avenues none of this would have happened.

When Gammy tells Willow she’s not a fan of polyamory and prefers the traditional constructs of marriage, despite being married several times, Willow takes the ol’, “What if your partner isn’t meeting all of your needs?” approach.

“Let’s say you haven’t always been the kind of person that wanted to have sex all the time, but your partner is. Are you gonna be the person to say, ‘Just because I don’t have these needs, you can’t have them either?’

Let’s begin with the obvious. You don’t cause someone to cheat. After reading Chump Lady for years I can confidently say there are  people out there in relationships where none of their needs are getting met and their partner treats them terribly yet they still don’t cheat. I didn’t get my needs met in my marriage. I didn’t cheat. You’re either the type of person who will cheat, or you’re the type of person who won’t. If you will, it doesn’t matter what the other person does or doesn’t do; you’re going to cheat. If you won’t, it doesn’t matter what the other does or doesn’t do; you’re going to remain faithful.

And what is this shit about “you can’t expect one person to meet all your needs”? Who does that? I’ve never expected one person to meet all of my needs. Does no one have friends anymore? Can people only meet your needs if you’re fucking them? I don’t even expect my friends to meet each and every one of my needs. I had friends I played Bunko with. I have friends I go out to dinner with. I had friends I bowled with. I had PTA friends and gym mom friends. I’ve got friends from work. I’ve got friends from high school. I have friends I tell my innermost secrets to and other friends where I keep it pretty superficial.

I’m shaking my head here. I’m not sure anyone rational expects one person to be everything for another person. Again, does no one have friends anymore?  Just because your partner doesn’t share your interest in something doesn’t mean you need to find another warm body to sleep with in order to enjoy that interest. Just recently when I shared that sweet J and I watched the Kentucky Derby the mobster told me he had never seen the race, nor was he interested in ever seeing it. When I told him I planned on having an annual Derby party, complete with hats and mint juleps he told he would probably be working that day. Does that mean I should go find some other man that does enjoy watching the Kentucky Derby? One that would love to attend my annual Derby party? No, of course not!

As for the sexual mismatch… to be blunt I think you should know by the time you’re committing to a person what kind of a sex drive they have. If your libidos are mismatched and that’s going to be an issue then end the relationship. It’s called dating for a reason. People are far too reluctant to end a relationship, choosing instead to settle. That’s not on monogamy; that’s on people who are willing to compromise something important in order to remain in a relationship.

Look, Willow, I know you think you’ve discovered the magical cure for all relationship woes. If I’m just not tied down to one person but can instead experience a multitude of people, all with my partner’s blessing, my life will be blissful. Oh, you sweet summer child, people don’t cheat because they’re forced into “unnatural” monogamy. Cheaters cheat because that’s what they like to do. It’s no fun with permission. It’s not because they’re not “allowed” to sample others. It’s because they like duping you. That is the real thrill, not freedom to fuck others. Polyamory isn’t some magical elixir. A lying, cheating asshole “forced” into monogamy isn’t suddenly going to become Prince Charming once you tell them they can fuck whomever they choose… within the bounds of your agreement, of course. Monogamy is not the enemy and polyamory isn’t the answer to everyone’s prayers.

Privileged To Be Able To Choose Monogamy

This other board that I read has been unusually slow but one single thread keeps giving me material.

In the same thread as the one where they were talking about taking care of their cheating terminally ill spouse the same poster who said she would “choose compassion” made a remark to another poster about her being “privileged to be able to choose monogamy.”

You have to understand her husband is a fighter pilot who has been stationed all over the world; they’ve been separated for several years at a time. Apparently there was no leave for him. So they agreed to an open marriage. Shockingly, he broke their agreed upon rules. She then decided an open marriage was no longer a viable option. Shockingly, he outright cheated. Also shockingly, she prefers to call his cheating “a flawed human being who was seeking to get his needs met.” I prefer entitled, cheating asshole but eh, whatever. You say po-ta-to; I say po-tah-to.

I’m shaking my head in disbelief at this entire exchange. People are privileged to be able to choose monogamy? Bullshit!

It’s not privilege; it’s having boundaries. The way I see it she made choices all along the way. She knew what her husband was, what he did for a living. She was in the military at one point as well. She knew getting involved with another service member might mean long periods away from each other. She could have chosen to not get involved with such a person. She could have decided that two competing careers like that, with long periods of separation, wasn’t something she was interested in. But she didn’t. She chose a fighter pilot. No one forced her to do it. She wasn’t trafficked. She didn’t get tricked. She knew what a relationship between two people in the service was going to mean. She even knew what it would mean if one of them got out. You would still be dealing with deployments.

She also chose to open her marriage. I would be willing to bet that there are hundreds of thousands of spouses of military members who fully expect their spouse to be faithful to them even if they are not able to fuck them daily. They do not all say, “Well shucks! Since you’re several thousand miles away from me I may as well let you nail anything that moves. Have fun!” That was the choice she made.

She could have just as easily enforced boundaries. “No, I don’t care that you haven’t had sex in eight months. I expect fidelity in my relationship. If that’s too much to ask from you then we need to end this and you need to find a partner more compatible.” Instead she decided it was way too much to expect him to be faithful to her so she gave him permission to have sex with other women.

Seriously! Is it too much to expect him to use his damn hand? And no matter how much people try to insist that sex is a need no one has ever died from not getting laid. If you absolutely needed to have sex there would be no nuns. I would have died shortly after getting divorced.

No, what happened was she knew he was a cocky, entitled, good looking guy that attracted a lot of women. She figured by opening it up she could head off the cheating at the pass. Only it never works that way with cocky, entitled people. Rules are for other people. They’re too splendid to be bound by rules. She let him run all over whatever boundaries she may have had and then tries to spin that as “she wasn’t privileged to be able to choose monogamy.”

You are always able to choose monogamy. She just didn’t want to insist on it because she was afraid he wouldn’t agree to it. Or, she just figured he was going to cheat anyway so if she gave him permission it wouldn’t be cheating and their relationship could remain wonderful.

Having a monogamous relationship is not a privilege. For most people it is an expectation. I’m not saying that just because you expect it your partner won’t lie to you and lead you to believe they, too, want monogamy while they’re nailing anything that moves. But they do that knowing it’s a deal breaker and that their actions could very well lead to the end of their relationship.

I’m not saying that everyone has to choose monogamy. I know there are people out there who don’t. If it works for you, good for you. I do, however, draw the line at anyone who gives their spouse permission to have sex with others and then sadly proclaims that monogamy is a privilege that not everyone enjoys, rather than expressing their needs and enforcing their boundaries.