Monday, July 30, 2012

Not so progressive Huffington Post

So, there's been a growing trend over at Huffington Post to scrub comments even though they don't violate any kind of community standards. They just don't fit some sort of prescribed tone I guess.

Supposedly the site for news with a 'progressive' slant, I had the following comment deleted today (after it had been favorited multiple times and commented on more than a half dozen) regarding the Democrats announcement that they'd officially be putting marriage equality on their new platform (

“This news brought to you by the party system! Jumping on bandwagons late and doing what's politically expedient rather that what's right for more than 200 years!

Yayy Democrats! You bunch of self-serving suck ups.”

Okay, so maybe it pisses off some Democrats. But in what universe should that be scrubbed from a progressive news sites forums? It definitely didn't violate and language guidelines.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fucking Marriage. Fucking Divorce.

Just stop people. Stop getting married.  Just don't do it.

You know that person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with? That person who is your best friend, your lover, your confidante, your partner in crime?  Why would being married to them make your life any better? How would it help your relationship?

I'm not talking about a commitment ceremony or moving in with your partner.  I'm talking about walking down an aisle and getting a piece of paper from the state and saying things like 'till death do us part.'

No romantic relationship ever improved *because* of marriage. Ever. Not one. (And I challenge you to prove me wrong.)  Many of them, however, go right down the crapper.

I've been married twice and I'll never do it again. I won't even go to weddings anymore.  They make me sad and a little sick.

My first marriage ended with us being friends.  She's a wonderful woman and we just sort of grew apart and there were things that necessitated the divorce. I still love her dearly and talk to her regularly.

My second marriage was a flaming turd of a mistake to a person that barely qualifies as human.  It was a wretched failure of judgement on my part and I'm going to be spending a great number of years healing the wounds that were carved into me.

But my take on marriage didn't come out of my own personal experiences. They were only reinforced by them.  So, why did I get married at all then you ask?  Well, it's complicated in both cases.  In neither case was it 'traditional' in any respect. However, it's important for me to note that since before my first marriage, I've been openly non-monogamous.  I avoid the word 'polyamory' for the most part, but there it is. I've also never cheated on a partner (although, I've been cheated on) and I believe in an almost brutal level of honesty in my relationships. So, now that you have the basic background, I'll get on to my point.

Most of my friends are married (and monogamous). Many have kids.  One pair of friends I have are about to get married.  Another are in the midst of dealing with an infidelity and it may end in divorce.  In both cases, I just want to shout at them: STOP! JUST STOP!

In the case of my friends getting married, they are a great couple who live together and have a wonderful life.  Why fuck with it? Why mess with it?  I respect them both and they are wonderful people.  I also get that sometimes people want a celebration of their relationship with those that are close to them.  I also get the legal/social ramifications that come along with marriage - the tax breaks, insurance issues, powers of attorney, the responsibilities of raising children, etc.  Great! Throw a party, arrange DPOA's and living wills.  All of that makes sense to me and can be really useful, fun and provide a sense of security.

The other couple are headed where so many marriages end up though - divorce.  Huge expectations arranged in an unnecessarily complicated social structure that our family and peers reinforce is the giant burden couples voluntarily take on. It's amazing that marriages last as long as they do. Divorce and all of it's myriad causes are so commonplace now that it's a testament to the power of love that it clouds our memories and judgments so completely.  At my first wedding my mother attended with her third husband.  The lessons of that never entered my mind.

Don't get me wrong though - just because I'm not sounding out on the side of marriage, don't take me for pro-divorce.  As far as I'm concerned, divorce is just doubling down. It's going right back to the same system that screwed you up in the first place and looking for a fix.  "Gee, I can't imagine how a centuries-old religious ritual based on property rights and paternal control had any negative effect on my 21st century relationship, but now that it has, I'm going to go back to the same bureaucracies that got me into this mess and see if they can help me out.  They obviously know what's best for me."

Why would you ever get a divorce (a 'legal breakup') unless you plan on marrying again?  Oh tax reasons you say? Money you say?  NOW it's all about practicality?  Outside of $10,000 funeral caskets, marriage has to be the biggest scam in history and divorce is just the sequel.

My friends who are going through their infidelity, I'll call them Jane and John, will probably divorce. It's the way it goes.  And sometimes, it's necessary. I really, personally, painfully, understand that.  But what I would like to see is people putting as much philosophical effort into their divorce as they put into their marriage.  What I mean is, if you just jump from 'married' to 'divorced' with nothing in between, maybe you haven't really thought things out.  For example, there are plenty of politicians and businessmen who have arrangements where when they are away from home, they have an agreement with their spouses that they are allowed to fool around.  I'm sure that wasn't in their vows, but so what? If you took stupid vows does that mean you're supposed to punish yourselves with them for eternity or adapt to your situation and find a way for your relationship to survive?

Jane and John got married. Fuck up number one (at this point, they both might agree with me).  Then one of them cheated. Fuck up number two. (Side note here: As a person who is non-monogamous, I see the word 'cheating' perhaps a *little* differently than monogamous folks. Sex with another person is in-and-of itself not necessarily wrong. It's the betrayal, the lying that is the problem.  Most people wouldn't end a relationship over a lie - but it's the 'scale' of the lie that's the problem.  In the case of an affair, it's an on-going giant lie. A lie that large is hard for any relationship to recover from.) Now, if they decide to divorce, I'll call that fuck up number three.  Why? Well, in Jane and John's case, I happen to think that in many ways, they are a great couple. In some ways, they are not. Regardless of how well I know them or their personal issues, the one that both seem to agree on that is the impetus for the divorce, the infidelity, isn't necessarily something that *has* to cause a divorce.  Instead, if they divorce, it will be a choice. And the choice they are both making is this:  Despite all of the other awesome things in our lives, all the other good shit we promised each other before, during and after the wedding, we're chucking it all because of this one thing.  Now, admittedly, 'this one thing' is a lie. A big, nasty, filthy, perpetuated lie that did huge amounts of damage.

However, having that one thing rob Jane and John of all the good things adds to the damage that it did.  Instead, I believe John and Jane should be trying to save the good parts. Yes, it's hard and yes it may take time. And yes, the original sparkly-glowey marriage picture they have in their minds might be gone for good. But if John and Jane are together 20 years from now and they went back in time and talked to John and Jane at the alter, I'd be willing to bet that John and Jane at the altar would just be happy that they were still together and willing to let the details of how and why slide if they knew they'd be happy in the long run.

Maybe John and Jane should end their traditional sex lives and work on becoming some form of 'monogamish' as Dan Savage likes to say.  Maybe they should end the 'romantic' portions of their marriage and just be friends that live together.  (I'm not going to give specific advice to them here, as I've done that to their faces and that's not what this is about).  I don't know.  What I do know is that 'divorce' is a cheap, shitty word.  Slightly less cheap and shitty than marriage, but still.

I want to end this on a positive note.  I'm lucky enough to have loved quite a few times. Even luckier that some really great women have loved me.  I still love all but one of them, even if I acknowledge that maybe certain phases of those relationships have changed, quite possibly forever. Every woman I've loved has made me a better person.  I truly believe that it's the people we share our lives with that make it worth living. The legal and societal titles bestowed upon us are just burdens to help other people more easily categorize us. Don't let your relationships be reduced to that.  Love is way too fucking cool.