In Lauren’s post on John Edwards, anonymous says:
“It is clear to me that the people posting about how monogamy is unnatural and how people can be happily poly amorous have never been on the receiving end of the news that their spouse has had an affair or seen the absolute devastation it can wreak on a family. If an open marriage works for you, kudos to you, I think that’s awesome. It doesn’t work for everyone though and I find it rather insensitive to gloss over how absolutely heartbreaking it is to find out that your spouse has cheated on you, with no thought for your feelings or health. It is a much, much different ball of wax then a mutually agreed upon open marriage and it should never, ever be compared to one. Whether you think it’s a natural relationship or not doesn’t impact the result on the betrayed spouse.”
I think anonymous has nailed it.
I’d even take it further and take a stab that the people posting about how monogamy is unnatural are not likely to be (yet) on the receiving end of the fact that there are some restraints on how egalitarian hetero polygamy can be in a society that hasn’t yet achieved full feminist status.
Personally, though it’s not for me, I have nothing against the poly lifestyle for consenting adults. So nothing here is meant to be a judgment whatsoever re anyone fitting that description.
But those who would bemoan the constraints on someone like John Edwards of the monogamous standard should look at whom the poly standard would primarily benefit in today’s world.
Men, and women below 50. Or maybe below 40. Ageism as it particularly affects women is an issue worth discussing further on third wave blogs, because none of us are guaranteed escape from it.
As we’ve talked about on other threads (see comments 37-50 here), statistically, hetero men as they age have more access to same-age and younger women than do hetero women. Women are rewarded more for youth/mainstream decorativeness and men for perceived stability/security. Therefore, over time, were more marriages to be open, men as they age would have more access to multiple partners, women would not.
In my view, “Jack” (comment #37 on the linked thread) is a troll or at the very least, an ass. Case in point: “An old rich woman isn’t hot, she’s just old and rich. She can buy plenty of cats. Women will always be attracted to high-status men, and men will always be attracted to young, fertile women.” But as abhorrent as his comments were, we all know that a number of more tactful men have similar thoughts.
So we can lament the fact that poor John Edwards and poor Eliot Spitzer were unfairly limited by an “unnatural” monogamous standard. (I wonder how much of this “we” is composed of hetero women over 40, or women under 40 who’ve seen how their mom vs their dad is affected socially by a divorce).
But I shed no tears for these dudes. What about Elizabeth Edwards, what about Silda Spitzer? Women who’d given up meaningful, profitable careers to support their husbands. And therefore, without worldly status of their own or the mainstream notion of good looks (typically requiring being born in the 60s or later), lacking the wherewithal to compete with their husbands in attracting other partners.
I don’t want to restrict anyone’s freedom. If someone wants an open relationship, and not just open on one end, and finds someone who’s also good with that, then kudos to them. But let’s not point to a relationship that appears to have been open on only one end and hope for this evil, restricting monogamy to die out.
Because that would be good for… who exactly?