When Monogamy Begets Murder

When Monogamy Begets Murder

IN MEMORY OF JACKSON NJOROGE

Career and life coach, Joe Brachocki posted a beautiful piece honoring his friend from Kenya, Jackson Njoroge, who was murdered by a man sleeping with Jackson’s girlfriend. The man hadn’t know about Jackson and when he found out about him, he got into a fight with him and killed him in a bathroom stall at a night club. One life taken, and two shattered, all for behavior deemed natural by some anthropologists.

Crisis from Common Behavior

From reading scholarly articles and observing the diverse people who seek my counsel about their relationships, it seems like only a fraction of people are suited for decades of fidelity. Every day people are going through anguish due to infidelity and noticing their sexual attraction to people outside their marriage, and it simply isn’t necessary.

I realize there are violent people with fists and guns out there who will find reasons to be violent regardless of attitudes toward fidelity. That being said, I think we would all benefit from creating a culture with one less reason to be violent and claim ownership over those we adore. One less reason to have a classification of “crimes of passion”.

Crimes of Passion

Frequently murders deemed crimes of passion receive light sentences because judges see that people with no criminal records suddenly turn to violence when they find their partner having an affair. Many countries have official laws that penalize adulterous spouses and cultures that shun them. Romantic and sexual attraction outside the relationship is not inherently dangerous the way domestic violence is inherently dangerous, but it is our cultural attitudes that jeopardize our relationships, safety and self esteems.

Compassion for the Cheated Upon

At this point I want to extend my most sincere sympathy to anyone stumbling upon this article in the wake of discovering their partner’s infidelity. I must clarify that I am not condoning the dishonest, selfish behavior of people who prioritize their pleasure over their commitments and cherished connections with their partners, but rather I am condemning cultural expectations of fidelity that amount to restricting otherwise healthy, harmless behavior.

Although it is now a very distant memory, I do remember being jealous of my boyfriend kissing another woman years ago. I can empathize with the rage, sadness, hurt and jealousy that people discovering their partners having affairs must feel, and I am so glad I no longer have those feelings. I am grateful that I read books and articles explaining how natural desire for people outside your marriage is and how it is rarely a reflection of the adulterer’s relationship to their partner, but rather an expression of their desire for excitement or sexual fulfillment. I am glad I spent time thoughtfully examining the logic associated with demonizing attractions and affairs outside a primary relationship. I don’t ever want to go back to having a mindset that discovering my partner found pleasure with someone causes me to feel insecurity, hurt or rage.

When Normal Isn’t Fair

There are many harmful behaviors and feelings that are normalized by society, and history has shown us they can change. Just because they feel natural doesn’t mean they are beneficial or unchangeable. Biblical excerpts and phrenology were once used to legitimize the enslavement of people of African descent, and through rebellion, changing laws, hearts and minds, these policies have been abolished. Could it be that legitimizing monogamy through biblical excerpts and studying animals and people with circumstances different from our own is practice that ostracizes people who earnestly love much more than one romantic partner?

Even if your heart pounds and your palms sweat as you picture your partner flirting with someone else, know that you also have the potential to understand and mitigate your jealousy. This response to a partner flirting makes so much sense in a world where reality TV shows entertain us with catching cheating spouses, and several countries have laws punishing infidelity with death.

I am taking a stand for a world where romantic relationships are based on love, affection, mutual desires, dynamic discovery, and loyalty through intentional action. I am taking a stand for a world where I do not nod my head in silent agreement when one of my girlfriends says “I swear I would kill him if I saw him even look at another woman”. I am taking a stand for a world where discussion precedes action when it comes to desire outside a relationship. I am taking a stand for a world where affairs are the beginning of a new chapter in a couples’ relationship, and not the family wrecking death sentence they have been in times past.

Will you stand with me too?

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