Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Strange Boy

(click on the image>right click>view image>zoom to read)

There was a period of a few months in the last year where I decided I simply couldn’t be in a relationship. I was much too afraid of the trappings that come along with them. After much reflection and conversation but I’ve come to the realization that much of my apprehension has been due to the confinement of being in such a serious, monogamous relationship for several years. I’m terrified of getting into that again… so, I’ve made the decision to be non monogamous. And, just so we’re clear, it wasn’t for any lack of love for my former partner – I loved her to death and I still do – I’m just not sure I want to be in another relationship quite like that.

It’s interesting to me that monogamy is the predominant idea of what a relationship should be in our society when as a species we’re actually biologically wired to be polyamorous. I’ve always been ashamed of my desire to become close with people other than my partner over the assumption that it was unethical and worried that I must not really be in love with her if I was longing for affection elsewhere. But… that’s silly. It’s completely natural. It’s just not something we can help. If you’re curious about such things I would recommend you listening to some talks about evolutionary psychology. I found the theories quite comforting, actually.

I should probably also say that this doesn’t mean I will never consider a monogamous relationship ever again or anything. I would just do so quite cautiously. Also, people seem to think that these kinds of thoughts are coming from a place of sadness or feeling lonely. I assure you – they’re not. I’m quite happy and secure in myself, actually. More so than I’ve probably ever felt.


(Ps. I would love to hear any thoughts anyone else might have on these things, too!)


Edward Lillywhite said...

Great comic. This resonates with how I feel about relationships on a very personal level.

Thanks for making it, Jay.


b_cursed said...

As soon as you start questioning you find many things that are just the way they are because it used to be that way. For a long time the society told the people what to think and how to act (religion and the church take a big piece of that cake). Today everyone needs to rely more on themself to find their way in life. To look at feelings and lifestyles from a logical point of view is in my opinion one of the better approaches.
I can just repeat what my father told me: one man may be reasonable but people are a dump herd.

Matt said...

I'm lucky that I fell in love with and married my best friend. As such, from early on, Emily and I have always been very honest with each other.

Although we may have a traditionally defined marriage (by the way, I support marriage rights for anyone who'd like to be married), we're very aware of the fact that, in a long term relationship, it's entirely natural to be attracted to other people. It's human nature. We don't beat each other up over it. For us, our decision to stay together and have a family supersedes the desire to explore these other connections. Essentially, it's a trade-off for something more stable and familiar. Some may see that as comforting, some as boring.

I think the bottom-line is that everyone needs to figure out how to make relationships work for themselves. And, perhaps more importantly, people need to butt out of the relationships of others and worry about themselves. At the end of the day, love is love. What's more special than that, whatever form it may take?

Jason Bradshaw said...

Ed - Glad to be of service :) also, glad this resonates with you. That's wonderful.

b_cursed - A logical perspective is most certainly desirable in a society as weirdly illogical as ours is. Thanks for your comment!

Matt - It sounds like you've found a partner who has similar wants and needs to you. That's what works for you that is such a wonderful thing! I think it's important to find the things that work to who we are specifically - certainly a non monogamous lifestyle isn't suited for everyone's personality and I certainly wouldn't want to imply such a thing. Thank you for sharing your perspective, I appreciate it :)

Anonymous said...

Matt: I love what you said <3

life opens up when you do :) We are all grey areas with differing volitions, desires, and needs. Speak confidently about who you are and the people you should respect will respect you back.

I've started a lot of my long term relationships as non monogomous ones, I was naive and thought I could make a label for who I was, but mutual respect proved me wrong. I found that people who are willing to respect your space, stick around. There are no labels and there is no right, just be you and meaningful relationships will emerge, if that's what you want.

hambot76 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hambot76 said...

Good webcomic! I think it's great that you are expressing your meditations on your life and the rationale for them.
There's a couple of ideas that I perceive your comic as saying, I'll offer my take on the paths I've found so far.
1) finding yourself increasingly "at odds with" mainstream society. Yes, this potentially makes it harder to connect and "less attractive" with a huge mass of people, but those people don't share your values ("no kids, non-monogamous") anyway, so what do you gain in even wanting *their* acceptance? Find the people who's values are closer to your own. If you live in the major city you list, I would hope it would be possible, or else, the internet? (or else move to the west coast ;-)
2) wanting non-monogamous relationships is certainly possible, the people I know who practice it have read "the Ethical Slut" for ideas around leading that life.
3) It's not beneficial to think of yourself as a "weirdo", I would encourage you not to. Is it possible that the label and your "high expectations" could be things that help more to create distance from people?
I'm curious for your thoughts on this.
Again, thanks for the great comic.

Souljour said...
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Anonymous Comments said...

i think these things make you more attractive! not less!

i've been poly for about 9 years now. i prefer it to monogamy. i agree it's natural to want to be close to more than one person. jealousy and insecurity is a problem, but dealing with it makes me a better person who is learning to love in a less egotistical/selfish way. poly is more ethical in my opinion because it's about freedom... not allowing someone you love the freedom to love others is selfish, unempathetic, and enslavement of the heart.

despite how harsh i sound, i think monogamous relationships can also be beautiful, loving, and generally unselfish.

and i have enough respect for monogamy that i would not enable someone's cheating (would not get romantically involved with someone who was currently in a monogamous relationship).

you're a weirdo in a wonderful way.

you posted this on my birthday! :)

Anonymous Comments said...

was thinking back on my comment and realized something i wrote could be misconstrued as obnoxiously arrogant:

"jealousy and insecurity is a problem, but dealing with it makes me a better person who is learning to love in a less egotistical/selfish way."

i should have written that dealing with insecurity and jealousy is MAKING me a better person, as in it's transforming me into better than i was previously....

the way i wrote it sounds like i might have been saying that the fact that i'm willing to deal with these things is an indication that i'm already that better person than those who aren't. which sounds kinda insulting to everyone who's monogamous.


Anonymous Comments said...

omg. i keep belatedly realizing what probably should have been obvious before the words escaped my fingers, that i'm implicitly or even blatantly insulting monogamous people. i stand by my view that forbidding a loved one to share love with others is selfish and unempathetic. however, that doesn't mean i think that monogamous people are more selfish and less empathetic than polyamorous people, or that i think monogamous relationships can't have a ton of UNselfishness and empathy between partners. what i do mean is that this one particular thing is selfish and unempathetic.

and for the record, before i seem like i think i'm above or beyond being selfish and unempathetic, i'm not. i can be appallingly selfish and horribly unempathetic, and struggle with these things daily.

ok, i should probably never post comments on here again, now that i've made such an ass of myself.

Anonymous Comments said...

and polyamory can also be done in a very selfish and unempathetic way... i've seen it.

jesus fucking christ... i'm done. i swear.