Date 1st Oct 2013 | Views  1747

We have to stop expecting to have permanent relationships, find the love of our life, or more than one if we're polyamorous. We have to be altogether more fatalistic about relationships.

Way more than fifty percent of marriages fail, far more if we were to start counting unmarried couples living together. We all know that a long term relationship has to be flexible enough to change and compromise, and keep changing and compromising to accommodate the couple's development, their aging and changing lifestyle. Not all couples can do this. The monogamists have coined the term "serial monogamy" to cover our changing relationships with different partners over a period of time. But this is mostly a misnomer, the formal or informal contracts to live together, may be serial, but the relationships are frequently tend to be concurrent! Our second relationship usually overlaps the first, and the jealousy which everyone expects of the "innocent party" when the "guilty party" is seen to be "cheating" is often the reason for the break-up and change of partner.

We have to start expecting our partners to be attracted to other people and accommodate them. Jealousy is a real emotion. We are properly jealous if we are in fear of losing material goods or services which we deem to be our property. It's just that we should not deem our sexual partners to be our property (or occasionally our owners).

Fortunately people are generally lazy, we all want to have and keep a secure nest to return to, where we feel safe with our loved ones. The general pattern of extra martial relationships is to have the "bit on the side" and return to the security of the nest. Often the relationship with the secondary partner can work perfectly until the primary partner finds out. But step back a moment, the relationship was working perfectly, everyone was happy, nobody was losing out! The only thing to change was the primary partner's perception of what was happening, and the consequent initiation of their learned response - jealousy! And jealousy is a learned response!

Our distant ancestors, who had no knowledge of paternity, no private property to speak of, no need of inheritance They wandered around the African savanna for a couple of hundred thousand years (several million years if we are to count the hominids before them) with no jealous fetish about virginity or constancy. In early society the women and prepubescent children produced more than seventy percent of the food supply. The original diad was mother and child, not man and woman. The men who were seen to be peripheral to reproduction, hung around and protected their group in return for comfort, companionship, the occasional orgy when two groups met up for a truce and a joint feast, and to make sure they got a square meal when the hunt failed.

They practiced Outcest, a form of multiple partner sexual relationship, which insured that they didn't become inbred, and where the nubile women generally got pregnant by the alpha males of their own choosing from outside their immediate group. Only when leaders demanded to be certain of the paternity of their sons, did the elite demand that their "wives" were faithful, got to lock them away, enslave them, and murder them out of hand for adultery. This started with the leaders, the community's elite, merely a few thousand years ago, and took a long time to percolate down through society to the peasants who still had no inherited property to consider, and whose women were a necessary part of the agricultural/horticultural labour force, where they had to be given much more freedom to come and go, and consequently had more sexual opportunities, which for most of this period was countanced by their men who were no less sexual active.

There is already a general acceptance of happily cohabiting partners being fascinated with, and "lusting after" unattainable celebrities; like all the happily married women who openly lust after George Clooney! This works simply because of the celebrities unattainability. For us to countenance the partner we love, lusting after our best friend, the next door neighbour, or the stranger they bumped into in the pub, requires a major rethink of our trust issues! We need to be more fatalistic, and trust that our partner will always "return to the nest". In most cases we might expect the relationship to be reciprocal, "what's good for the goose is good for the gander"!

Love and affection are not finite quantities. Just because I love you does not prevent me from loving my parents, my children, my family and friends; though with some chronically jealous people even this may cause angst. When someone finds themselves in love with or attracted a second (or more) sexual partner(s), that still does not mean they must love their primary partner less. If we are to manage to avoid all the lies and subterfuge of secret affairs, which usually get found out and often cause break down of the primary relationship, we seriously have to address our trust issues.

The polyandrous, or polyamorus "marriage" is a very real, ancient, evolutionary, societal norm. Either way around, having more than one partner to control, dominate or own is even worse than than owning, controlling and dominating just one, as displayed in the polygynus side of polygamy, where a man has more than one wife. The rest of this discussion will therefore be restricted to loving and "equal" relationships.

In most multiple partner relationships the parties have different parts to play, whether it be "wife and mother" vs. "mistress" or "husband and father" vs. "lover", and they have to recognise and accept their respective roles. The dangerous party in these relationships is the secondary partner who actively seeks to break up and usurp the primary relationship. The men are lazy enough to almost always be trusted to return to the nest every time. It is more usual for a lone predatory female who is a secondary partner who seeks to usurp the primary partner's nest. It's not really the man they are after, it's the nest they see the primary sharing with him that they covet, the man is only a means to an end, they may have no real affection for him at all.

The lone predatory female is in a dilemma, and is in a vulnerable position. She knows in her heart (if she has one) that when she confronts the primary with evidence of their "cheating", breaks up the home and gets her claws into the man, he may never quite forgive her for destroying his previous happy home life. She will be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her relationship with him for the next "mistress" to come along and do to her exactly what she has done to her predecessor. And the nest which she so coveted will be seriously devalued in the separation, and everyone will be worse off financially. It takes a lot of love and trust for the primary to just laugh in the usurper's face, point out all of the above, and even invite her to bed for a threesome just to see how fast she will run! Of course the primary would now be in control! Her partner will be in her debt for the rest of his life! This is the time to get the new kitchen, the holiday she always wanted, and establish her right to have a fling if she isn't already having one.

There are happy polyandrous or polyamerous relationships out there, though they are generally not being advertised. "This is my husband and this is the lodger" no mention that she is bedding both of them. "This is my husband and this is his best mate" no mention that she is packing him off back to his wife at the end of the evening. "This is my wife and this is the au-pair" again no mention of the real relationship. Where there are two women in the household this seems to work best with a career woman and a homemaker, and remember that there are a lot of career women out there, some earning more than their husbands, careers that can be damaged by the demands of school runs, child minding and the PTA. Relationships with an extra man frequently arise from the husband having married a much younger woman, and her need for a younger lover.

And we haven't even mentioned bi-sexual relationships which can thrive in a multi partner household, or happy, loving, three (or more) in a bed sex. Swinging, swapping, and group sex have an enormous following, which vast national and international web-sites are dedicated to facilitating. "This is my cuckold husband and this is my bull" is an introduction you are only ever likely to come across in a dedicated swinger scene.

So we have to conclude that multiple partner, polyandrous and polyamerous relationships are the ancient, evolved, societal norm, and that monogamy is really the aberration; and considering how women have been treated since its inception, a downright malign aberration! Women's sexuality has actually evolved (or de-evolved) directly as a result of monogamy. Today fewer women enjoy sex, fewer women have orgasms; because the women who only put up with sex are the ones who have been most likely to survive and breed on. The ones who enjoyed it, wanted more than they were getting at home, were the ones most likely to have been murdered out of hand for adultery.

A guest article by our beloved Pelops.