Sandra Bullock: A Victim of the Monogamy Myth

We’ve all heard on the news about the breakup of Sandra Bullock and her husband Jesse James due to an extra-marital affair.

 

The news was surprising, some say shocking—but I wouldn’t rate it in this category, and most of all sad.  Sad because the disruption of this relationship affects not only the adults, but the children involved.  This turn of events will rattle their security, their home-life, and change the landscape of their lives.

 

Jesse James will be labeled the villain in this unfolding drama and rightly so if he was practicing deceit and deception.  The woman he is involved with, often referred to as “the tattooed lady” with a disgusting sniff and expression of contempt, will also be vilified—we haven’t’ gotten too far past the mentality of Nathaniel Hawthorne and “The Scarlet Letter”.  Hopefully no one will drag this woman out to the town square and brand her body with an “A”.

 

This very same drama is played out thousands of times all across the country, no—all over the world, but because the couples aren’t well-known celebrities, their experience is contained to the people directly involved.

 

Human beings are not naturally monogamous.

 

With the advent of Christianity and its mythology, there came the idea that the state of marriage would involve one man and one woman who would be with each other for the rest of their lives, and they would exclude all other people as sexual partners.

 

This was a new concept.  Up until then sexuality was embraced for what it is—a natural function, a deep-seated physical instinct, sometimes a sacred act, a physical show of love between two people, sometimes a group adventure, and often times something that was done for the pure enjoyment it brought.

 

Then the world took a sudden and some would say dark turn.  The Roman Church sought to squelch all that is human and spontaneous.  It sought to make us feel ashamed of the female form; ashamed of most bodily functions; it vilified women and blamed them for the wanderlust that made men lose control; it made the charge that women were the reason evil was brought into the world; and it sought to control very personal aspects of people’s lives—and this included their sexuality and their personal relationships.

 

And here we are, in modern times, still struggling with these concepts. 

 

What does this have to do with Sandra Bullock and her husband? 

 

She can look at this predicament in two ways:

 

First, not every couple is meant to be together for the rest of their lives.  I believe that we are meant to be with a particular person during a particular phase of our life for a variety of reasons—but not necessarily forever.  People change, their circumstances change, and emotions metamorphose.  Relationships often come to natural conclusions; they run their course, with or without extra-marital affairs.  Lessons are learned, new experiences are filed away, and we move on, hopefully gaining some personal growth and wisdom in the process.

 

This is one way to look at this situation- the couple’s time together has come to an end, the reasons karma brought them together in the first place have played out.  It’s time to retreat for personal reflection and healing and to move on.

 

The alternative ending, one that I doubt very much to be feasible, is the fact that monogamy is not a reality will be accepted, discretions forgiven, new boundaries set for the future, and a continuation of the marriage could resume, albeit set in a new form.

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