A Critique Against Hegemonic Monogamous Relationship Models
Words by Steff Leinasars
Recently I had the shocking discovery of finding out that my girlfriend hates Love Actually. I looked at her in shock, contemplating wether I should walk out of the restaurant we were dining in at the time and leave her for someone who shares my horrible taste in romance films. Who the fuck doesn’t love a Good Sappy Romance about the celebratory processes of monogamous relationships?
In reality though, I fall further from aligning with hegemonic monogamy than my love for films denoting that very relationship model likes to admit. Monogamy is romanticised so often in Western culture that it’s become the social standard for the basis of a relationship. The thought of a man and a woman together (often together since their parents invested far too much time in courting them as infants), falling deeper and deeper in love and only with each other, doting after one another and growing old together, is what everyone wants. Who asked for this? This narrative feeds into toxic ideologies of unrealistic expectations of another human being, reinforced by disgusting Sappy Romance films in popular media.
This isn’t a hate piece about monogamy. Monogamous relationships are great and work for a lot of people, but the ideology that monogamy is the ‘Be All End All’ of relationship models is just really fucked up. It harbors an unhealthy attachment to a nuclear family model that a lot of people just don’t fit into. Generally, monogamy = marriage + commitment + kids + a house + 2 dogs – obviously not all monogamous relationships follow this pathway of social expectations when entering into a single unit relationship, but many do. My aim here is to facilitate a discussion surrounding alternative relationship models to monogamy – not necessarily polyamory, but that works too.
It’s really not that hard. As a general rule: Fuck social standards! Don’t feel comfortable being intimate or otherwise with just one person? You don’t have to be! You don’t have to be intimate with anyone if you don’t want to!! There is absolutely no need to adhere to the expectation of being in a monogamous relationship if that doesn’t work for you. The most important thing though, is to communicate this. Tell people involved with your life what it is you want or don’t want out of a relationship! You never have to be pressured into normative behaviours, you never have to do something you’re not comfortable with, you never have to let someone else tell you how and when and why and how you should love another human being. See, it’s that easy.