Tiger Woods and the Case Against Monogamy

So Tiger Woods gets caught cheating on his wife. Frankly, I'm surprised anyone's surprised. Woods's entire life is based on winning; on having, doing, and being more. So why on earth would anyone think "settling down" was even in his vocabulary? (Article continued below…)

Even people who seem to have it all always seem to want more. And people—by nature—are not monogamous. Which makes the whole argument that "he married a supermodel, so why would he need to cheat?" just plum aggravating. Jude Law cheated on Sienna Miller, for God's sake. JFK cheated on Jackie. And studies show that one in three men and one in four women will cheat on their partners at some point in their life. Celebrity or not, cheating is human nature. Have we learned nothing from all these scandals?

I'm not saying the cheating is OK. I'm saying it shouldn't be a surprise. I was a cheater myself once. Three years into my marriage, I had an affair. She was blonde and freckled and made me blush. Yes, she was a girl—but that was beside the point; I'd been open about my bisexuality for years. My husband, meanwhile, was crushed when I told him—and I hated myself for not being strong enough to say no. I figured surely this must have meant I'd married Mr. Wrong: why else would I have the desire to step out?

As it turns out, desire is exactly what's at issue here. Human beings desire variety. We desire multiple partners. It's a simple fact that's built into our biology. And while some choose monogamy simply because it feels right, I think many more of us choose it because we think it's what we're supposed to do. You don't want to end up an old maid or a lonely bachelor, do you?

Monogamy just isn't always realistic. There's nothing wrong with admitting that. It simply doesn't work for some. And just as people choose different religions, eating habits, and places to call home, I believe we should be able to choose different ways to live out our relationships.

Several years after my affair, my husband and I jointly decided that monogamy just wasn't for us. We love each other and want to be together, but monogamy is not the cornerstone of our partnership—trust is. So we decided to open up our relationship to other people.

First we both dated the same woman. Then my husband dated her and I saw other people. And then they broke up and I dabbled until I met a woman who, like my husband, I cannot imagine being without. And so now it's her and me and him and me, and we are all fabulous friends. Everyone gets their needs met. No one feels left out or guilty, and the only time any of us questions our lifestyle is when we let those Disney movies come creeping back into our heads.

Let me be very clear here: I have no problem with monogamy. I think conscious, honest, true monogamy can be a wonderful thing. What should not be tolerated is hypocrisy—and that's where Tiger's vow of marriage got him into trouble. If you want to be monogamous, great—but don't think you can claim it while you sleep around. It's not fair and, quite frankly, it's exhausting.

Monogamy is a choice. But until it's treated like one, cheating scandals will continue to pop up and the public will continue to eat them up. Because misery loves company. And in the end, that's the only thing cheating will bring you.