Column: “The Language of Monogamy”

This column is an ongoing project. I welcome submissions from everyone and anyone. The space can be used for written texts and artistic creations on the subject of language and relationships, particularly compulsory monogamy. Written submissions can be up to 250 words, and artistic creations can be sent in .jpg format to See last week’s issue of Arthur for more details.

Authors and artists may discuss and present their personal experience(s) with compulsory monogamy or take a stab at developing new words and phrases to improve our colloquial language around and about relationships. Your submission may be published under your name, a pseudonym or anonymously.

I hope we can all take something away from the below submission.


Conversations about sexual preference are endlessly difficult to navigate. My own fluid attraction to genders and bodies is a recognized, though contentious, subject for friends and family. Alternatives to the language of compulsory monogamy aren’t even a blip on the radar.

This isnt to say the lack of recognition is intentional; these kinds of oversights are, often, exactly that: oversights. Sometimes they are unintentional slights that can fly under the radar, unnoticed by the person speaking. Sometimes not.

The following passage paraphrases a conversation I recently had with a loved one when they asked me, generally, how things were going in my life.

Myself: Im great! I had a date with X.
Friend: Oh no! So you broke up with Y?

Myself: No.

Friend: So youre fighting with Y?

Myself: No, everythings fine.

Friend: So you havent told Y about X

And so on. This snowballing situation may be familiar to those of us in non-monogamous relationships.

The assumption that a date with a lover means discontent within, or even the end of, a partnership is inherently hurtful. It passes judgement on my capacity to have love for my partner while simultaneously having other romantic experiences.

My suggestion to foster dialogue that is more inclusive of non-monogamous individuals and relationships is this: curb the assumptions, such as the thought that anything other than monogamous behaviour indicates wrongness or sickness in a relationship. Doing so would be a kindness to our partners, our lovers, our friends and ourselves.

About Troy Bordun 61 Articles
I’m a recent graduate of the Cultural Studies PhD program. My research includes contemporary film, film theory, and the history of moving-image pornography. In addition to writing for Arthur, this semester I’m teaching in the Cultural Studies department (Intro to Integrated Arts) and Continuing Education (Writing Short Film Scripts). I also work at the Trend (come say hi!), among other small jobs as they come up.