There is nothing that gets the doe-eyed amongst us cooing faster than long-time sweethearts. We all wish we could be that elderly couple holding hands in the park, but the reality is that most of us will drift from one monogamous relationship to another.
Dare to stray however and society will knock you to the ground faster than Jack Bauer after a hard day at the office.
Take Kristen Stewart’s recent affair with ‘Snow White & The Huntsmen’ director Rupert Sanders. Barely 22 years old, Stewart had the audacity to be greedy, lascivious and unsatisfied with her relationship. In short, she behaved like a foolish girl just out of her teens. Yes, the hurt she caused was palpable, but her actions were no more remarkable than that of any other horny twenty something who made a commitment too soon.
Monogamy is, for obvious reasons, much more challenging for young people. Students especially have a hard time with long term relationships. Not because they lack discipline, not because they’re out of control or because they’re more promiscuous than previous generations, but because youth is synonymous with experience, with sensation.
And sex is the ultimate sensation.
Animal instinct will always struggle with a fear of being alone. Commit too early and you’re left spending Friday’s night on Skype with the other half, whilst the rest of your uni buddies go out pulling. Refuse to commit and you keep your freedom to bed-hop, but lose the security that comes with knowing there’s a human out there who’s solely dedicated to you.
So what’s the answer?
Well it’s simple. It’s not for everyone but it could be for you.
Step One: Stick two fingers up at the society that dares to tell you how to live.
Step Two: Confront the ultimate relationship lie. Sex and love are NOT the same thing. Realise that and you’re on the way to a happier, freer relationship.
Whilst sex and love undoubtedly compliment each other beautifully, they are NOT mutually exclusive. Just as open relationships don’t work for all people, neither is monogamy right for everyone. It can’t be. To believe that it is, is to deny our animal natures. Sleeping with someone does not mean that you love them. And loving someone does not equal sexual desire.
In an increasingly liberal world ‘non-monogamy’ is an issue that society will be forced to confront more and more often. In the future, sex will be personally tailored to a relationship rather than forced into a universal mould. Young people will not be pressured into making commitments that they can’t handle, just because they’ve been told that they should. Marriages will get healthier as couples realise that sexual boredom after 30 years is NOT unnatural.
We will talk about our desires.
We will love only as we want to.
If this year you find yourself at university, struggling with a long term or long distance relationship, don’t ignore the struggle. Instead, ask yourself what it is you’re missing. Talk to your partner and make the distinction between love and sex together, rather than having it made for you. Once again, it’s not for everyone but let it be your decision to make. Monogamy is a social construction, NOT a natural obligation.
Always remember, if you’re not hurting anybody and it makes you happy, do it. It’s your life, your relationship. Never let society tell you that there’s a right way to love.