Yesterday, at Donkeylicious,, Neil Sinhababu laid out the argument against Ross Douthat's ode to old-fashioned monogamy. As Sinhababu writes, Douthat's ideal world, in which people only have sex when and if they plan to get married, is unrealistic for adults living today. And the path that priorities monogamy is a path that necessarily requires one partner to subsume his or her other life goals in order to make it happen. As Sinhababu writes, his career has required him to travel the globe in search of professorships, and it would have been problematic for him to assume anyone would be able to give up her own career goals and follow him. "[Y]ou don't hope for someone to end up with you because an unjust world crushes their dreams." And for himself, he writes this:
Sure, in some really lucky ones I hit the jackpot and end up marrying an awesome woman and we can both get great jobs in the same place! But it's more likely that I find myself a long-term partner and restrict my employment horizons to where I'm in a mediocre job with bad students and no time to work on my own creative projects.
It's worth noting, however, that it's not rare for a man to chose not to restrict his employment horizons, and for women to instead make those sacrifices. Sinhababu is uniquely honest about the fact that any woman to which he would be attracted would have her own career goals that take her all over the world. But at some point, in many couples' lives, it's the woman who does the compromising to make things work out.