You Do You… and Him, and Her, and Them: New Thinking On Love

Published: Feb 14, 2023  |  

Actor-writer-producer and author

One of my favorite points of ire amongst conservatives is their fury over the demise of the “traditional” family. According to them, the crumbling of this institution is tantamount to the end of the world as we know it. But what’s so great about the world as we know it? Maybe this radical shift in the status quo isn’t so dangerous as it is simply society’s next evolutionary step.

We are “groomed” (to use conservatives’ favorite word) to believe we get a job, get married to a person of the opposite sex, have kids and… well, that’s pretty much it. Also, the woman should do all the cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing. How many of you ladies had baby dolls and little plastic kitchen sets? Yeah. I thought so. Women want more today. People want more, in general. We are coming to realize how limited our time is on this revolving rock, and we want to make the most of it. Often, that doesn’t include following society’s outdated dictate.

First off, the getting married thing. A lot of us have grown up seeing that not working out so well, and don’t plan on making the same mistake. People are getting married later in life, or not at all. In fact, per the American Family Survey, less than half of Americans are currently married. That includes the abstainers and those who learned the hard way that almost half the time, marriage ends in divorce. You wouldn’t trust those odds playing Russian roulette. We also need to drop the notion that unmarried people over blah blah blah age are somehow damaged. Sometimes, we just need to wait for the right fit. Or sometimes the right fit is you and a dog. That’s still a family.

Or maybe your “right fit,” isn’t with just one person. A poll from YouGov tells us that one-third of Americans’ relationship preference is non-monogamous, and that number increases with the younger generations (you sexy scamps!) The fact is, we’ve all been told about the inevitability of “cheating,” when maybe folks aren’t meant to be with just one person. There are grown-up ways for partners to consensually share themselves with others, if they so choose. Unless you like the lying and sneaking around part. Then you’re just a jerk. 

You’re also a jerk if you can’t wrap your head around LGBTQ+ people. I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but it bears repeating. If I may quote my own film, Division, “why can’t we love who we want to love and be who we want to be? What is your problem with that?” (Sorry, that was gross of me… but it fit.)

And the kid thing. There are conservatives out there who think that I am not a real woman because I’ve never had, nor plan to have, children. But it turns out, Pew Research says, I am amongst over half of adults who feel the same way. Sure, this may be a danger to the social safety net, but the reasons not to bear fruit are plentiful. Most young people nowadays can’t afford a home, let alone a child. What’s worse is, being more environmentally conscious than our forebears, we are all too aware that the earth has more residents than it can currently sustain as it is. I am heartened by the fact that my breeding friends have created such amazing humans that they’ll be able to figure all of this out for us. No pressure, kids! 

Not to keep picking on them, but these conservative guys are constantly griping that they can’t find women to date because of their ideology, but I think it’s more likely that there is a dearth of women nowadays who are willing to be indentured servants. We have our own careers, and we want partners who will share in the work of running a household. Beyond not having children, my husband and I veer from the “norm” in that we have what could be considered swapped gender roles. He cooks and cleans while I do the financial stuff. Everyone brings their own skills to the table to create a partnership of equals. I believe this is how it should be. There will always be people who want to adhere to the story we were sold in our youth, and hey, good for them! I hope they find each other. I just wish they didn’t feel the need to foist their ideology on the rest of us. I believe the anger of people grousing about the “downfall of society” is far more likely to cause this downfall than those whom they blame.

There are a million ways to have a non-traditional family. I was actually shocked to learn that only 19% of family households nowadays could be considered “traditional,” according to Kiplinger’s. Sounds to me like non-traditional is the new tradition.

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