Friday, August 10, 2007

"Healthy" vs. "Conventional"

The other night while listening to the radio, a woman called in to dedicate a song to her husband. The woman mentioned that she and her husband had been having problems because she had been giving her phone number out to other men when they went to clubs.

The host told her that she needed counseling to "fix what was 'broken' inside her" so that she could "have a healthy relationship".

Well, I agree that the woman has a problem -- but it's not that she's nuts or has something "broken inside her".

The woman's problem is the lack of HONESTY, both with herself and with her husband, not necessarily her inability to be monogamous. First, it seems she is not squarely facing the fact that she is likely not the monogamous type and would have been better off remaining single to pursue a non-monogamous lifestyle.

Secondly, she wasn't honest with her husband when she entered into a conventional marriage, promising to be monogamous. If she'd been upfront with him about her natural inclinations, then he'd have nothing to complain about, but if she didn't, it isn't his fault if he expected her to follow the traditional vows.

I'm sure that the radio host meant that counseling would help her to "have a healthy relationship" in that she'd learn to settle down into monogamy. But I would say that counseling would help her to have "healthy" relationships once she learned to be honest with herself and with others. It might not help fix the marriage that she's in if they can't come to an agreement about the monogamy issue, but it would help with any relationships in the future.

Let us not confuse what is "healthy" with what is conventional or traditional. The ability to be honest and genuine is a mark of mental health that will serve a person well whether they choose an unconventional lifestyle or if they decide to enter into a traditional relationship.


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