Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dangerous Memes: "If you truly love someone, being faithful is easy."

I would like to propose a couple of minor changes to this meme.

How 'bout this version: "If you truly love someone, and you like the idea of monogamy, and you and the someone in question either happen to be a great sexual match or you aren't the type to prioritize great sex in your relationships, then being faithful is easy, at least for the first year or two, and then it's not terribly difficult for a few more years after that, particularly if you have fun projects to do together (e.g., extreme sports; remodeling your house), after which it may not be a piece of vanilla wedding cake, exactly, but it's definitely still do-able assuming you and your partner continue to be on exactly the same page sexually, even though we all know that's really unlikely over the course of an entire lifetime (given the hormonal disruptions of pregnancy, nursing, and menopause, and the libido declines associated with regular ol' aging, not to mention traumatic life events and the increasing likelihood of physical illnesses, such as prostate cancer, that affect sexual functionality), just so long as both of you keep yourselves very busy, and neither of you ever meets a super-compelling someone else who expresses an interest in pursuing a sexual relationship with you -- because if that ever happens, it is going to be excruciatingly difficult to remain faithful."

Now, that's a meme I would feel good about posting. Oh, wait -- I just did. Anyone have a good panorama I could use for a backdrop?


On a similar note, I would like to challenge the person whose article on Elite Daily makes the case for a correlated claim: if you are finding sexual exclusivity difficult, it's because you aren't really in love.

Gigi Engle puts her thesis all in caps: "YOU CANNOT CHEAT ON SOMEONE YOU LOVE. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE."

If by "cheat on," she meant, "fail to honor explicit agreements with, ignore the physical and emotional well-being of, and just generally behave like a secretive asshole towards," then okay. But she's definitely defining cheating in the conventional way: engaging in sexual activity with someone other than your "official" romantic partner. 

"I’m repulsed by the thought of letting another guy touch me," says Gigi. "It makes my skin crawl." This is how she knows she truly loves and respects her current boyfriend -- unlike all those exes she compulsively cheated on, back in the day, before she discovered The Real Deal. And if you don't feel repulsed by the idea of someone other than your partner touching you? Well, that just proves that your feelings are "tepid." Any desire to stray is proof positive that "the two of you are not right for each other." Best move on immediately.

Them's fightin' words, Gigi. How long have you been with this boyfriend of yours, anyway? A year? A year and a half? I've been with my husband for twenty-two years. So, I'll tell you what. When you've been with your partner for as long as I've been with my husband, I will happily listen to what you have to say about real love, and how to tell if someone is right for you or not. Until then, I will assume that you have finally grown up enough to be in an intimate relationship, and that you got lucky: you met someone fantastic, someone who loves you the way you want to be loved, and you're both still under the influence of NRE hormones. Congratulations! You're right: people in your situation find it easy to be sexually exclusive, if that is something they and their partner desire. What you don't yet understand is that long-term relationships go through stages, and that you are setting yours up for failure if you use "I can't stand the thought of letting anyone else touch me" as the litmus test for true, enduring love.    

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