There is green grass growing outside my window in Kiev. There are new puppies in the street. This isn’t exactly an spring-themed post, but this is nagging me, therefore…
A couple of people forwarded this post to me in the last few days, and I’ve been mulling it over. As I understand it, the gist of it is such: open relationships only benefit men, a “fun feminist” = idiot with Stockholm Syndrome, men who contract HIV apparently do it to screw other people over, and also a bit about how PIV intercourse should not be mandatory (which is something I wholeheartedly agree with, because I understand that it isn’t for everyone).
I want to address the open relationship bit in particular, because I think that this is the sort of lazy, knee-jerk thinking that ensures that monogamy remains the standard outside of certain Muslim countries and, in the process, creates serious issues of prejudice and inequality in society.
Here’s the deal: if you decide to enter into a relationship with another human being, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment either way. It doesn’t really matter if said relationship is monogamous or otherwise.
Women usually bear the brunt of said disappointment. Our lower status ensures this.
Open relationships in and of themselves, however, are not the problem. At this point in my life, I know plenty of people who engage in them. And I’ve definitely been in fairly casual relationships where “don’t ask don’t tell” was the rule.
When you have an unequal power structure, it’s pretty easy for a man to sleep with anyone he wants to while demanding that the woman he considers his “primary” partner faithfully waits for him at home, casserole or borscht at the ready. Still, it’s disingenuous to suggest that all open relationships work like this. They don’t.
I dislike Factcheckme’s post in particular, because it references such a familiar trope: woman as long-suffering Penelope, waiting around while her slut of a husband has all the fun. It references a particular relationship, but then said relationship is used to extrapolate. It left me wondering: well, what about people who want to be the long-suffering Penelope? Relationships are built on all sorts of foundations. Some people enjoy playing the martyr. I’m just saying.
What is that great phrase that I’ve been hearing so often in the last couple of years? Hmmm… Oh, I know. “Trust women.” Trust women to make decisions in their lives, and then live with the consequences. Radical, I know.