by Liam Scheff
A friend was asking me about this notion of not being ‘married’ to strict monogamy. He was saying that he understood – and had even had a ‘slip’ here or there, but worried it would disrupt his long-term relationship. Still, he said, when given the chance, he enjoyed the little fling, and it gave him energy that he’d been missing. When he came back, he was happier – and happy to be with his long-term partner. The only regret was that his partner wasn’t open to talking about a possibility of a more normalized occasional romp, rather than choosing the shamed, tear-stained result of feeling ‘betrayed.’
I encouraged him to share this book, which reflects the modern reality – a large majority of people are falling quite out of love with the very dishonest 50s version of ‘marriage,’ and are wanting some thing more deeply supportive and more flexible.
I just don’t think anyone should have to hold their breath forever – we all need our romps.
And there’s a hidden reality here that would surprise most people.
That clutching fear that makes us grip onto each other in terror of being replaced? It goes away once you allow yourself to have an extracurricular kiss or two. It breaks the spell. Mostly, we’re not going to be whisked away by someone else. We have all our life in tow, and can’t just toss it in a backpack.
We Americans confuse lust with ‘forever,’ the same way we seem to have only two speeds for interacting: “Just friends,” and “fucking.” There are a thousands hues in between these two poles – but we seem to think that the only thing to do is to screw. (Which you can do, if you work your way up to it, and really, really like the person a lot – and want that experience. But it’s not the first thing to do, certainly).
We’re not likely to think we need to end our current relationship if it is a good one, just because we have a good kiss here or there – or even a good fuck. In fact, we’re only more likely to toss out one relationship for another IF we buy into the myth of life-time monogamy, which forces us to make the “adult choice” to leave – to sacrifice and suicide one relationship for another.
So, enjoy an extra-curricular kiss or two – The release we feel reminds us of being young – and makes us young – and we bring that energy back with us.
And consider being open with everyone about it. Lying to any partner tends to squash the enjoyment. Try sharing the book with your mate, see what comes up in discussion.
These little adventures usually return us to where we are, happier, better adjusted, and more relaxed. If we, as adults, have the ability to acknowledge our deeper selves, our truer selves, over the culturally-programmed version – then we can create a life that fits us – and not the plexiglass TV 1950s cutout that we’re supposed to whittle ourselves down to.
Liam Scheff is author of Official Stories, because official stories (like monogamy-for-life) exist to protect officials.