Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Relationship boundaries

In a recent posting, future i-banker had the following to say:
My rule on relationships and friendships: If I'm in a relationship with another guy, then me and that guy both have the freedom to find our friends hot, and we both have the right to cuddle and make out with them. Just cuddle and kissing though. More than that would be considered cheating.
I've never seen anyone draw the boundary there before. But why stop there? Why not allow jerking off with each other watching porn as long as you don't touch each other down there? Or mutual jerking off with each other where touching is allowed? And so on.

It seems to me that all these boundaries are highly artificial. I've said before that monogamy is an outdated concept, even in the heterosexual world, because we're living much longer than we used to. But at least in the heterosexual world the concept can be justified if it's intention is to provide a stable environment to raise kids. In the gay world it's a ridiculous concept, and worse than that, it can be destructive.

The monogamy concept is destructive because it creates expectations which are unrealistic in the long term. In general I really love guys, I love having a primary boyfriend who I care about very much, I also love having other boyfriends to care about, and I love finding other guys and getting to know them better too. Having rules which stop me loving other guys creates unnecessary tensions. If we hadn't all grown up being indoctrinated with the idea of monogamous relationships, the thought would never occur to us.

When I told boyfriend number 1 about boyfriend number 2, his immediate reaction was that I might leave him for boyfriend number 2. A very natural reaction given that we're all pre-conditioned to expect monogamy. But it makes no sense! Why would I choose to dump boyfriend number 1 for boyfriend number 2 if I can choose boyfriend number 1 AND boyfriend number 2?

I guess I'm just advocating the free love idea for gay guys. And being able to express my love freely just makes me adore my main guy(s) all the more.

19 comments:

Life of a Banana said...

Free love is this season's latest must-have. If it makes you happy, then fine. You have the right to live the way you like. But, you cannot impose it on the entire gay community. Some choose polyamory, but others believe in monoamory. It is too easy to generalised the entire gay community and impose a label on them. And you mentioned the heterosexual world, say that to the mormons.

Ben said...

Whilst echoing the view of the first commenter above that everyone is entitled to lead the kind of life they want to, I would caveat that with 'so long as they don't hurt anyone else'. The final sentence of your posting implies that the more widely you spread your affection around, the more fond you become of BF No1. And yet, from your accounts of his reaction to the gradual revelation of your exploits, I don't get the impression that his position as the one you come home to at the end of the day makes him feel particularly special. What I suppose I am trying to say is that non-monogamy is fine, so long as those involved enter into it with open eyes and minds.

I hope that didn't sound judgmental as I really didn't mean it to. I think it's great that you have become more open with BF No1 about the sort of relationship you need at this point in your life, and wish you a smooth and happy transition to something that suits you both.

Ben said...

I also wanted to comment on your general views on monogamy, but my first comment was getting so long I thought I'd better start a second one:

Sure, monogamous relationships seem to result in failure all too often these days, due to people living longer and changing jobs more frequently, and the ability to communicate with others more easily and clandestinely. That doesn't mean that the concept of monogamy is outdated. If anything, it makes the experience of developing, and maintaining, a lasting and exclusive love, even more special. I don't see what is unrealistic or destructive about aiming for that. As a final point, I don't know if there are any statistics to back up this view, but I would hazard a guess that non-monogamous relationships have at least as high a failure rate as monogamous ones.

Life of a Banana said...

Ben, you rock,,,you tell them. You are wonderful!!!

On the other hand, I think Gay Banker is playing a manipulative game here of trying to provoke to draw the punters to this blog. I am just SO cynical. Forgive me Gay Banger. OOOOpppsss I am so sorry, seriously that was a typo,,,but I decided to leave it as a souvenir.

Will said...

For me, all the mores are different in gay life. There's just too much variety in gay experience to even CONSIDER a one-size-fits-all model for gay relationships.

We've gone through (and in many respects are STILL going through) the Gay Liberation movement. Liberation to me means being free to define my life and my relationships as *I* want to define them, not as some commentator or gay politician or gay organization feels I should live.

ziggystardust73 said...

um, Ben - who ARE you and how do I get to know you better :-)

in all seriousness, the notion of monogamy being an "outdated concept" I find very distressing and am not prepared to accept it.

I'm one of those people that Ben is talking about who is going to aim to "make the experience of developing, and maintaining, a lasting and exclusive love, even more special."

There has to be others out there who want that also...

Life of a Banana said...

Ziggy,

you sound like a sensible guy.

Gay_Consultant said...

Interesting... it seems to me that gay_banker isn't so much concerned about free love as free sex: plenty of gay men find fulfilment in monogamous relationships over long periods.

The picture of gay_banker flipping through gaydar on a Sunday morning while having breakfast (a little while ago) says it all for me: I sense that he's just rationalising an addiction to anonymous sex. Which activity is fine, by the way, except that we shouldn't confuse it with forms of love.

But I'll keep reading.... ;-)

Gay banker said...

I don’t know Banana-Life, on the one hand I’ve got czechOUT telling me that my reported liaisons are repetitive, but when I try to vary my postings I’ve now got you telling me that I’m only doing it to draw punters to my blog! Anyway, my intention is only to advocate free love, not impose it.

I think ben has very adeptly pointed out an issue that I’ve had: trying to make boyfriend number 1 understand how important he is to me. I agree too that statistics would be interesting.

Sorry that I’m such a sceptic on monogamy Ziggy. I agree with most of what Joe.My.God. said in his posting on this subject. Even I was able to do monogamy for 5 years, but it just ended up being too hard. So I wonder whether any of the comments in support of monogamy are from guys who’ve been in long term relationships for significantly longer than that?

Perhaps I am just rationalising an addiction Gay_Consultant, but I think you’re forgetting that I do love all the guys I call boyfriends. I honestly think I could be happy (probably very happy) without all the liaisons if I just had a several boyfriends which I could see very regularly.

Anyway thanks for all the comments guys,

GB xxxx

PS: Will has now posted fascinating answers to the intereview questions I set him a few weeks ago.

Life of a Banana said...

I am not condemning you. You are entitled to your view. Perhaps the tone of your entry came across as very subjective. Who cares! This is your blog. You say what you want.

Future I-Banker said...

Wow GB, look at the level of response! I think you've started a very interesting discussion!

Personally, I don't know where I stand on this issue. On the one hand I enjoy the company of other men while I'm seeing someone, but when I think about my man having sex with other men, I get very sad. So I guess I have a double standard!

SO I guess since it would hurt me if my man has multiple bfs, it would hurt him too if I have multiple bfs. Am I making sense?

But who knows? As you have said, I like to make up new rules as new situations arise :)

ben said...

Okay GB - I'll put my money where my mouth is: My bf and I are approaching the five-year point now. I'm pretty much still at the head-over-heels stage, I have to say! Being with him has to this point never felt like hard work. I realise we can never say for certain what might happen in the future, but all the signs are encouraging for us.

closetalk said...

mmm, well, most of us are romantics at de core - even those of us who profess not to be. and monogamy feeds from and taps into that romantic vein. the thought that even with the perfect guy, with everything being Perfect, you would still be dissatisfied, still want something more, is scary in some way. and so, i cling to monogamy with my One True Love. ;-)

ps: since ure done with will, mebbe ure ready for another intvw? wanna get me in the 'hot seat', bankerboy? *grin*

Life of a Banana said...

Come on Gay Banker. Post another entry. I promise I won't attack you.

Gay banker said...

Well future i-banker, I think this is a VERY important subject because relationships are the foundation of our lives. So when you work out your angle, YOU should do a posting on the subject!

Good luck Ben. I honestly wish I could peek into the future and see where you end up after another ten years though!

Sorry closetalk, if you read my questions for Will you'll see that I'm implicitly declining interview requests for the time being. I've only been interviewed 3 times, but I think I've done 11 interviews, so I've paid my debt to the Interview meme god! It's definitely good fun, so I suggest you get one of the people that I interviewed to interview you, it's in their contract.

Actually the main reason for not doing more interviews at the moment is that I'm SO backed up in terms of things that I want to post. There are 10 liaisons waiting to be written up, plus a few other ideas for other postings. So just be patient Banana-Life.

GB xxx

ben said...

GB - if you're still blogging in ten years, I will happily update you!

Anonymous said...

Well, with my bf of more than 12 years (and now a few living together), we came to the understanding than we both need sex outside our couple. But our relationship is still the most precious, so 1) we don't play together with others, it's bound to create problems 2) we don't play at home 3) we don't boast or discuss in anyway our affairs, and generally don't do it "in your face" (also we openly check Gaydar all the time).

It works for us (I have a string of regular fuckbuddies, plus the one offs), although I can't help thinking: 1) is it easier to be monogamous when you have good sex with you partner? (we don't really); 2) we play with the risk of falling unexpectedly in love (although we are both quite clear that we are only looking for sex, having all the emotional support we need at home).

Bob

Snooze said...

As a straight woman, I find GB's views refreshing. No one controls my mind and thoughts - why should they control my body as well? I don't see what's wrong with what GB is doing.

Anonymous said...

HI GB, I've just posted another comment on your post re: BF#3's personality test.

Your blogg is great!

I'm with BF#1 and has had others along the way ...I could / would never tell BF#1 ... he has been more than loyal and I treasure that. Wish I could stay loyal to him in that department.

Is there anyone out there that has truly loyal relationships??

xoxo