"Despite the loosening of sexual restrictions in recent decades, open relationships and cheating remain highly stigmatized. However, focusing on the problem of cheating distracts us from focusing on the problem of monogamy
When every cell in [one's] body is craving sex with someone else, monogamy begins to feel like sexual incarceration."-Eric Anderson, Ph.D., via Huffington Post
By Kit Bryant
My Darling Jill,
You are not my everything. You are, rather, my night sky; your Dalmatian-like freckles form the constellations, each like a delicate flower on a sprig of baby’s-breath. And, like baby’s-breath, you are best in a bouquet full of other lovely young buds: perhaps some shapelier, some more fragrant, some more Chinese. Perhaps it was not even you, but rather Samantha with all the freckles. Regardless, your kiss is like none other (though quite similar in moisture and technique to Monica’s), and I thrill at your touch. You mean so much to me, but again, just to reiterate, you do not mean everything to me. Not even close.
I will never forget our first date. In the park, we held hands by the water’s edge and laughed at the dogs that dropped the Frisbees. Then, as the sunlight dappled your warm skin, you looked at me with your luminous, smiling eyes and said…actually, come to think of it, that wasn’t you. That was Sha’Quanda. Well, I’m sure our first date was just as magical, just as I’m sure I could go back and correct this paragraph, inserting memories from a date you were actually on, but I have so very many of these letters to write, you see? You are so… special that I know you will understand. Yes, you are so… I want to say, allergic to shellfish? Oh, Jill. The times we’ve had.
Because of all the many unforgettable memories we’ve shared, it pains me to think that you would even consider broaching the subject of such a disgusting, unnatural act: dating exclusively. You wish to hoard my love for yourself, to withhold from me things and activities which bring me joy, like that tie Kelsey bought me, and also a cornucopia of varied sexual experience with multiple partners. This is far crueler than any perceived slight I’ve caused you. Could you ask the friendly utopian society of bonobos, our close genetic relatives, to stop indiscriminately copulating, or to stop hurling their own feces? No; to do so would be asking them to forgo their basest animal instincts. Why, then, would you ask the same of me? I am a man, yes, but I am also an animal. You cannot conscionably ask me to stop acting like the animal I am.
I mean, do I “love” you? Well, of course! I love you like I love red M&Ms, or experimental jazz. But, no man could possibly want to eat only red M&Ms as their sole source of nutrition; that’s a death sentence. It’s not even the best M&M. And, who in their right mind would listen to nothing but experimental jazz ad nauseum? Eventually it just begins to sound like nonsense. “Boop boop squee BLAT, let’s talk about where this is going, why don’t you want to meet my parents, deedly-doo bop.” Come on, Jill. That’s madness! Devoting yourself to one pleasure with your whole being means depriving yourself of hundreds of briefer, easier pleasures. So, yes, Jill, I do know the “meaning of the word ‘love’.” If this weren’t a love letter, I wouldn’t have opened with a quote.
Do not fear to bathe in the strange waters of my love, Jill. Perhaps, after a time, you will set adrift your antiquated views regarding “fidelity,” loosen your panties from their wad, and not find my scatter-shot brand of love so peculiar after all. The truth is, Jill, I am not the “commitment-phobe” you claim me to be. I could envision pledging myself entirely to several of you, if the right combination of women came along. If you play your cards right, you could be one of my wives someday. However, that can never happen if you continue to lash out against me with your closed-minded bigotry. If you cannot accept me for who I am, then I am sorry for you, sorry for the love and future you are forfeiting, and…I just remembered: it’s Jane, isn’t it? Not Jill. Oh, Jane. I could live without you, but please don’t make me.