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Monogamy: the final frontier

By Will Stroude

Let’s face it, gay men don’t exactly have the best reputation for being capable of entering into or sustaining monogamous relationships, unlike our heterosexual counterparts. Or so the mainstream media says.

However, let’s hold our hands up; how many of you reading this have cheated on your partner with a one night stand? How many of you have kissed the handsome guy giving you the eye on the dance floor, whilst your boyfriend is waiting patiently for you to come home? We’re all human and we like to think we can’t be blamed for what we do when under the influence, but it’s more than likely we’ll regret it in the morning. I’ve done it in the past and instantly regretted it, but I guess we all learn from our mistakes.

I was recently reading an article suggesting that as gay men we should move past the “normalised” ideals of a monogamous relationship and look towards open relationships as the new normal. I’m all for the ideals of not assigning labels, and I think it’s vital for us to be ourselves and do what feels right. However, I take a little offence at the idea that being in a monogamous relationship is somehow a betrayal of our LGBT+ identity in order to try and fit in with the straights – to be that awful word, ‘heteronormative’.

Let me put this out there: there is nothing wrong with being with someone and expecting them to be faithful. If a guy cheats on you, he is not good enough for you. Now have a think about that and I’ll press on.

Monogamy seems to be a new frontier for most gay men, myself included to a certain extent. I’ve been burned in the past, getting cheated on by an ex and only finding out whilst on a date with the guy my previous boyfriend cheated on me with. As you can imagine, that date ended rather rapidly, and he paid the bill.

Therefore, I may be a little biased, but I think if you’re in a relationship then you mustn’t be afraid of thinking you can, and should, be faithful to that guy. And if you try and fail then at least you should be honest with your partner and break it off. But we shouldn’t be put off from trying if that’s what deep down we think we want.

In some ways, I do think I am quite old fashioned in my views. Open relationships are becoming more and more common. In fact, only last year, a study showed that nearly half of gay men have had an open or non-monogamous relationship, with nearly three quarters of those being quoted saying they are “great”. So, am I missing out on all that life has on offer?

I’m not too sure. But I do know that if my boyfriend Matt asked me for an open relationship I’d be horrified. Am I not enough for you? Do you not love me? Am I too fat? All these questions would run through my head, although most of this is probably just my own insecurities.

I guess it all comes down to personal choice. If you want an open relationship with your boyfriend, that’s great. Although if you do want it just to be the two of you then there’s nothing wrong with that either; it doesn’t involve selling out to the “straight way of life”. And if your partner is giving you an ultimatum, then he probably isn’t the guy for you. Ultimately, we just want to be treated the same as everybody else and part of that is being able to settle down with the guy you love with no judgements.

So if, like me, you want to share your life with just one man, then say this out loud to yourself right now: I deserve to be happy!

Words by Craig Barton

More stories:
Relationships must be a two way street – otherwise they’re doomed to fail’
‘Are gay men programmed to resist the typical monogamous relationship?’