I “ruin” relationships just in time for Valentine’s Day

…or at least that’s what my friend Dean Burnett thinks.

Over at the Guardian, I decided to apply some kind of honesty to relationships, advising readers to question monogamy, procreation, etc., in their relationships (assuming most relationship are the two person, monogamous, long-term types). My main focus for this piece was to encourage the view that if you can’t speak about such important and difficult subjects with your partner, that should be a worrying sign.

Of course, it would also be nice if more people undermined their stigma of those who are childfree, polyamorous,ethically promiscuous (I’d love another word for this), etc.


  1. Kaintukee Bob says

    As a poly man with children by my wife, I prefer the term ‘open’ or ‘accepting’ for a person who is honestly, openly, consensually promiscuous. If that promiscuity presents itself as a series of relationships (defined as moderate to strong emotional attachments, opposed to a purely physical relationship) I use the term ‘polyamorous relationships’.

    So my wife and I (and her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s wife, and her boyfriend’s wife’s boyfriend) are all generally poly and engaged in polyamorous relationships. My girlfriend, on the other hand, has two polyamorous relationships but is also open to hooking up/one-night stands (though she checks with her partners first and is open and honest). I believe she’d apply the term ‘ethical slut’ to herself, after the book of the same name.

  2. 24fps says

    Interesting. I don’t like Valentine’s Day particularly, and generally just ignore it. But I am puzzled by the idea that anyone needs a “good reason” to either marry someone or to have children. Why would anyone need to justify either, any more than one should have to justify not having children, adopting children, or having a polyamorous or committed but not married relationship?

    (Full disclosure of fogey status – I’ve been married for “an ungodly” period of time and have unapologetically reproduced with my monogamous spouse. I don’t think that makes us any more special than anyone else, I’m just disinclined to justify it. And yes, we’re fully aware of the other options, we just like this arrangement.)

  3. noel says

    I read that there are more break-ups on or around Valentine”s than any other day. So it’s probably not your fault.

  4. Copyleft says

    Any time you take an action that affects more than just yourself, you need a good reason for it. Reproduction is clearly one such action.

  5. cnc says

    Just as child free people don’t have to justify their decision to random jerks, neither do people who have or want children. But since overpopulation is the usual argument for why people shouldn’t have children, I’ll say that it is disagreeable to me when people try to shame others for having a reasonable one or two children, as if they personally need to compensate for those who pop out 5.

    Poly people can have sex with however many people they want. Not with me though, since I don’t want anyone besides my boyfriend. I did try dating a few poly men when I was single and it was horrible.

  6. 24fps says

    “Any time you take an action that affects more than just yourself, you need a good reason for it. Reproduction is clearly one such action.”

    Frankly, that’s busybody thinking. It’s a personal decision. I don’t need any further justification for having kids than “I want to”, just as “I don’t want to” should suffice in the decision not to have children. Nobody should have the right to tell you that your reasons aren’t good enough, which is clearly implied in needing a “good reason” for either decision.

    Now, if I neglect or mistreat them, then I have some explaining to do. But providing I do look after them, I shouldn’t need anyone’s approval.

  7. Tauriq Moosa says


    It’s interesting how you wouldn’t say it’s busy-body thinking if I made claim that you shouldn’t pray for sick kids, mistreat them, etc., but suddenly it’s “busy-body” because you can’t provide an answer.

    You don’t get a free pass by dubbing an act a “personal decision”. Everything is a personal decision to some extent, but that’s a description, not a justification.

    And no, “I don’t want to” doesn’t suffice even for not having kids and certainly isn’t my reasons, so your equating fails there, too.

    >> “Nobody should have the right to tell you that your reasons aren’t good enough”

    The right? Yes, they absolutely do have the right. The question is whether they should, whether you should listen, whether they are wise to say your reasons aren’t good enough, etc.

    Again: You have outlined any reasons beyond saying – very strangely -you don’t need any. And again, I’d say why does creating a child get a free pass but not any other act, like smacking women – I mean, that’s a personal decision, that comes from a strong biological urge, etc.

    >> “But providing I do look after them, I shouldn’t need anyone’s approval.”

    How can you view the creating of persons in a completely amoral light? Do you really think creating a new person requires no deep moral reflection? Absolutely incredible.

  8. Copyleft says

    When your decision affects others, others have a right to comment on it. For example, if you burn trash in your yard every week, or drive a poorly tuned gas-guzzler alone in the HOV lane, or call every dark-skinned person you see a ‘raghead terrorist,’ other people have the right to point out that you’re a jerk.

    And having kids does, in fact, affect other people. It obviously affects the kids themselves, and every added First World child has a major impact on our limited resources… so yes, we do have the right to suggest you examine your reasons before making such a big and irreversible decision.

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