Day 6: head of a fish – The Single Woman’s Diary

I just realised that I am currently casually-dating four men. There’s always a first time, and it’s the first time ever in my life that I am kind-of poly dating.

I used to be this person who’d be seriously focused on dating one singular person, and even when the relationship wouldn’t be defined as exclusive would intentionally and instinctively remain exclusive for that person. Something in me changed this year. I no longer care. Unless someone intentionally comes up and says – “hey, let’s be exclusive and committed”, and shows their intent via action, as at taking full responsibility of what an exclusive relationship entails…

Now, exclusive dating is different. “I like you, and wanna try out ways together, and check if it actually works. If this continues to go well, I promise I won’t mess up with anyone else” – that’s exclusive dating. However, in (online) dating norms, they say exclusive dating is precursor to being called boyfriend/girlfriend. That’s an exclusive relationship. When you become boyfriend/girlfriend – commonly accepted that the two people (in a monogamous relationship) have agreed to “go steady“. Now, many regard monogamy as an intrinsically unstable mating strategy, that strongly diminishes access to other potential partners (hence many keep “options” around like hidden drawer of snacks).

For men it is often the thrill of sexual pleasure in multiple partners, displayed particularly in those cases where males exhibit strong mate-guarding behaviour: they will remain surface-monogamous, while “cheating”, remaining warm through texting/calls with multiple others or even their ex’s. To be honest, some women display this exact same behaviour. In some cases monogamous relationships relatively include the certainty of access to the partner’s reproductive potential (or so confirms books and internet), but in most cases (speaking from experience) only one partner truly remains monogamous, unless both have agreed on open relationships.

This state of no waste strategy is what I like to call “head of a fish”. Both in Bengali and Japanese culture (where fish and rice are staple diets), the idea of “waste not” entrails eating bones, reproductive organs and even the head. That is how surface-monogamy works for cheaters. They want a relationship that satisfies them in bed and one that satisfies them with the illusion of stability. That illusion of stability is a relationship that is kept cooking due to social constructs but is otherwise a complete waste – cause the person has chosen to be with others behind their partner. That’s the head of a fish. Full of nutrition, can sustain a happy and healthy life, but is disregarded.

Of course, for those reading this and getting anxious cause you are a romantic person, growing up watching Disney movies and think love is ever-consuming, never-ending, heart-wrenching – one person only thing: basically you are that one-man/woman type of person; good news is that monogamy is not dead. It’s still a well-organised and well-desired construct for relationships and it results in significant improvements in child welfare, including lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death, homicide, intra-household conflicts, etc.

Unfortunately, many today lack the grit or tenacity and depth it takes to endure the ups and downs of a monogamous relationship, and many have been burnt multiple times by individuals lacking tenacity and depth, thus finally give-up on such social/kinship constructs. The head of the fish has been discarded.

I have a date this evening.

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