Apr 8, 2023

Note from Ana: On Monogamy

Feeld’s CEO Ana Kirova reflects on the vivid stories and curious systems that defy easy explanations.

Feeld is proud to be a place where people can explore different relationship structures. This week, we wanted to turn our gaze towards monogamy: a mainstream idea that needs neither an introduction nor a defense, but which could benefit from some inquiry towards a deeper understanding. What is monogamy, and who gets to define it? Who practices monogamy, and how do individual experiences change our collective understanding of it? What are the cultural histories of monogamy, and in what ways are they evolving? What are the benefits of it, and which boundaries are upheld by its limitations? The week to come offers a dedicated deconstruction—as well as an open invitation to reconsider—the concept of monogamous commitment. 

There’s a story we tell about how we founded Feeld: you can read it on our About page, or see it told in interviews or articles about us, and you’ll see how easily it falls into the genre of romance. I had a feeling, and then my partner and I had an idea. Putting the emotion and the thought together led to the realization that if we felt and thought this way, then maybe so did other people; and, well, the rest is the reason you’re here. 

Something that I’ve often felt but have had few opportunities to say is that, if I’m being honest, in retrospect it felt less significant than you might imagine. I’ve had other experiences that were perhaps deeper or more memorable, some that I plan to share and others that I want to keep for myself. But because one of those events led to the creation of Feeld, I think it can give the impression that it was the biggest event in my life. In truth, it’s more a part of a pattern for myself: I often find myself getting curious about a topic, reaching a point of discovery internally, and then I want to share it with others. 

Creating Feeld was one of those moments, but like any illumination, it was what was revealed under that new vivid light that mattered. The reality isn’t that it was one idea that changed everything, or one couple that made something. We had an idea that attracted so many other people. Then they had ideas, and together they built more out of what was already there. It kept growing from that alchemy of community. Feeld is a reflection of so many perspectives. The origin story is just that: one event in time, neither more nor less than what came before or what came after, but a link in a really long chain—a series of connections that got us further than where we started.  

I thought of this again when I was reading the work published on the Feeld blog in the past week, our series on monogamy. I have a real, true personal connection to Feeld that is rooted in exploring new forms of relationships and commitments. More than that, I’ve spoken before about how I’ve become skeptical of traditions that are so entrenched that they sometimes seem immovable, as a person who grew up in a culture that prized conformity. Monogamy definitely falls under that category. But then, in the same way as my story can’t be summed up in one easy quotation, I can’t ever just dismiss a question as complex as why anyone chooses a relationship structure for themselves, or a story as fascinating as what that relationship structure means to them. When I read an article like “A Brief History of Monogamy,” which so clearly lays out the sociopolitical systems that underscore the practice, or see Feeld members speak honestly about how they value the concept of polyamory but know that monogamy is right for them, I’m reminded of how any single story from any one individual can be both an individual expression of their present truth, and a part of a collective expression towards a future truth. 

Perhaps you’re thinking about your own experience of monogamy, and remembering a time when it meant something different to you then than it does now. Perhaps you’re imagining a future in which the shape of monogamy is radically different to everyone who encounters it. That’s why it’s so important to me that Feeld remain what it literally is—a community for exploring personal desires and making connections with others who want to share their own, a place that values curiosity above all else—as well as some of its more intangible features, the philosophies and values that come from so many people having the chance to share so many versions of their own story. Either way, I hope you take some time to read and reflect on what’s shared here, and what you’d like to share out there. 

Photography by Kendal Walker. Hair by Johanna Cree Brown at Gary Represents. Makeup by Gina Parr at W Lab. Originally published on Document Journal.

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