Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Jumble on Monogamy

Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish has intermittent posts on the limits of monogamy. Here he quotes Dan Savage who says (among other things; I didn't watch the video on the Dish post.):

"I do advocate, however, being realistic about the odds that one or the other or both partners in a truly long long-term relationship will cheat at some point. The stats on infidelity? Shocking, considering that monogamy is so favored, culturally. We fail at it, though, pretty predictably, and so I think we should be realistic—the monogamous wannabes should—because I think a good, strong relationship should be able to survive, and be expected to survive, a routine, non-nuclear-level infidelity."

The statistics Savage refers to might have been those quoted by Ira Glass on a recent This American Life on Infidelity. Glass opens the show by stating something along the lines of something like one member of half of all married couples will be unfaithful at some point in their relationship and stay married. Half.

So on the one hand, I get what Savage is saying. I even know some couples for whom it's true. On the other hand, I'm not sure how my husband and I would define "routine, non-nuclear level infidelity" even if it did involve Salma Hayek (who is on both of our lists --and I know you know what I mean by our "lists"). I assure you that should Salma Hayek enter our lives nothing about it would be routine or non-nuclear. And by "enter" I mean should we see Salma eating lunch at the same restaurant where we happen to find ourselves because it's near the movie theater downtown where we might go once a year when we sneak off during the week for a double feature.

Which is to say, for some of us, somethings might be routine, for others, not so much. As long as both people in a couple have the same routine -- well, as Savage says, there's no reason for a marriage to end over "trivial bullshit." A political career, well, that might be a different story.

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