In a conversation with a girlfriend yesterday, we asked ourselves why some of us often want and look for one-to-one relationships (often adding “long-term” to the equation).
There is a historical reason for that which must weigh pretty heavily into how we have constructed our idea of a “couple”. In the past, inheritance was based on blood lines, and patriarchal to boot, so couples needed to be exclusive to insure that a man’s son was really his son. And most societies had/have a lot of problems with women fully living their sexuality, the old double standard that the man is supposed to be “experienced” when he gets married, and women are supposed to be virgins.
And there are some countries so afraid that a woman might have any sort of a life outside of her home that they cover her in sheets and forbid her to drive, vote, go to school etc.
I always had a problem with Islam because of this. I don’t know that I’m a feminist, but just about everything that I enjoy and makes me happy (work, sports, travel) are not permitted for women in many Muslim countries, so I can’t imagine how I could be happy there. I, the egoist, extend that to all women even though they might feel at home and maybe even comforted by the traditions of their society. We tend to like things that we are raised to like.
I, personally, like the idea of really getting to know someone, which only happens when I am committed to a relationship. I also broke out in hives when I went out with someone else before the official end of my marriage, on a night that I saw my lover only to eat dinner and watch a hockey match (never had any physical reactions after sex, however!)
I am happy to be with someone for whom being in a “relationship” seems like the nice, obvious thing. Again, we tend to like things that we are raised to like. I like having a boyfriend/man friend. I know that I can’t sleep with anyone else, but not because it is imposed on me from the outside, but because my personal morality won’t allow me. I don’t want to break out in hives again.