How is it that you know what my life and relationship is like or what I’m basing my opinion on? Oh, that’s right — you don’t! We weren’t having marriage problems when we began to redefine things. We were really happy and connected and in love. And from that really good place, decided to open up our relationship as a way to expand and explore together. I now have another male life partner and we have a girlfriend that we are both involved with. We also play with other people from time to time. All of this feels very good to both of us and has helped us grow both as individuals and as a couple. And a part of that growth and satisfaction came through dismantling what is essentially a patriarchal structure. We are no longer husband and wife, lumped together for life with all the baggage and expectations that go along with those terms. We are partners who choose each other and continually co-create a relationship that works for us.

Having been on both sides of the fence with 20+ years of happy monogamous marriage and 5 years of ethical non-monogamy, I feel like my personal perspective, as informed by history, sociology, anthropology, etc., is pretty relevant. You don’t have to agree, but you haven’t actually made a case for why you disagree other than you imagined what I was drawing my perspective from.

We weren’t very jealous or possessive before, but there is none of that now. We no longer fight at all (not that we fought a lot before, but some) because there is no more power struggle and because we have complete honestly and transparency. Again, it’s not that we had dishonesty before but the container of traditional monogamous marriage means that certain things are off the table to talk about — like how sexually attracted you are to someone else, for instance. Now we talk about anything and everything. And because of that we also no longer look at whose job it is to do what and negotiate getting it done at the time, sometimes by one person and sometimes by the other. Again, co-creation rather than prescribed roles. As my husband once only half-jokingly said, “Once you get used to the idea of your wife loving and fucking other people, whose job it is to bring in the mail is pretty irrelevant.”

Are there people out there with happy and healthy monogamous marriages? Sure, but overwhelmingly not, or not entirely, if you go by the statistics. Could monogamous married people put a lot of these same principles in place? Absolutely! But the fact of the matter is, most of them don’t because they are bought into a paradigm that was designed 10K years ago as a method of control. Sure, it’s evolved some since the time when a wife was literal property, but not all that much really. We didn’t have marital rape laws in all US states until 1993. So, many of those same ideas and constructs are alive and well in the institution of marriage today — which was my point; which was born out by the study that I cited about why women initiate divorce 70% of the time, but dating break-ups are 50/50.

Patriarchy is a dominance hierarchy. Societal constructs that are entrenched in that lead overwhelmingly to power dynamics within them. This is not my point of view — it’s basic sociology. I’m not really clear what your point was with all of this, other than that I was wrong because you are an individual and therefore there is no pervasive human or societal experience. Unfortunately, that’s not actually the case. You are not an individual — not in the way that you imagine, anyhow; you are the byproduct of your culture just as everyone else is. Yes, through taking responsibility for your life you can alter that, but as I said, most people never get that far.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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