Speaking Up on BBC radio: "World, Have Your Say"
On its worldwide radio call-in show, Great Britain's BBC posed the question "Is fidelity overrated?" and took listener calls from Siberia, Kenya, India, Nigeria, Uganda, Egypt, Jamaica, Texas, and elsewhere. The host picked up on actress Angelina Jolie, who's been in the news about her longterm open relationship with Brad Pitt.
"She’s not talking about dishonesty, she says open romances can work just as well as monogamous relationships – if both partners agree to it," said the host. "Is she right? Do we set too much store by being faithful? Or isn’t being loyal a fundamental part of any relationship – or why bother to have a relationship at all?"
Many guests and callers coming from the old-school paradigm in which loving (or boinking) more than one can only be callous, cruel, shallow, and destructive spoke eloquently against being callous, cruel, shallow, and destructive. Then on came our own Jenny Block (author of Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage) to say it doesn't have to be that way. She's a fine talker and bold in the face of opposition, especially the clueless variety, and especially when describing the arrangement between her, her husband, and her girlfriend.
The sex isn't really the important issue, it's the lying part....
What's really at issue here is what is the agreement between the couple. I absolutely believe that trust is of the utmost importance. But the question is what is the agreement between the two people. If monogamy is the agreement, then breaking that would be betrayal. But couples make agreements about all sorts of things about religion, about how they're going to run a household, about how they're going to raise children and whether they're going to be a monogamous couple should be up to them.
Listen to the show (53 minutes; Dec. 23, 2009). Jenny comes on at 35:15 and stays to the end.
Here's the BBC's blogsite for this episode. Read comments from the far corners of the world, and add yours.