Monogamous Relationship – The Pros and Cons
A monogamous relationship is a deep, committed bond between two individuals who choose to be exclusively involved with each other. Rooted in trust, loyalty, and emotional connection, monogamy is a widely recognized and practiced form of romantic partnership in many cultures.
If you want to learn more about the Monogamous relationship, keep reading this article. In this article, we’re going to discuss everything about it.
What is Monogamy?
Monogamy refers to forming exclusive romantic relationships with a single partner instead of having multiple simultaneous partners. In a monogamous relationship, individuals date and engage in sexual activities exclusively, and there is a commitment to emotional, sexual, and romantic exclusivity.
While monogamy is the prevailing approach to relationships in many societies today, it is not universally practiced. Various cultures have historically engaged in forms of polygamy, such as polygyny (multiple wives), and only a small percentage of mammals practice monogamy.
3 Types of Monogamy
As a concept, monogamy encompasses different types that vary in scope and implications. The three primary types of monogamy are social monogamy, sexual monogamy, and genetic monogamy. Each type pertains to distinct aspects of a monogamous relationship.
Social Monogamy: Social monogamy refers to a living arrangement in which two individuals form a social bond and typically share resources, live together, and exhibit behaviors associated with a committed partnership. While social monogamy implies exclusivity regarding companionship and emotional support, it does not necessarily involve sexual exclusivity.
In this type of monogamy, partners may have sexual interactions with individuals outside of their primary relationship, although they maintain the social aspects of their commitment to each other.
Sexual Monogamy: Sexual monogamy entails a relationship in which two partners commit to exclusive sexual involvement with each other. In this type of monogamy, individuals refrain from engaging in sexual activities with individuals outside of the primary relationship. The focus is on maintaining sexual exclusivity and fidelity within the partnership.
Genetic Monogamy: Genetic monogamy relates specifically to reproduction. In a genetically monogamous relationship, two individuals exclusively reproduce with each other and do not have offspring with other partners. This monogamy pertains to the genetic lineage and parentage of offspring, ensuring that both partners are the biological parents of any children they produce together.
What is a Monogamous Relationship?
A monogamous relationship is a type of romantic or intimate partnership in which two individuals commit to being exclusively involved with each other. In a monogamous relationship, both partners agree to have only one romantic or sexual partner at a time, and they prioritize the emotional, physical, and sexual connection with each other.
This commitment often includes being faithful and loyal to one another, refraining from pursuing romantic or sexual relationships outside the partnership. Monogamy is a social norm in many cultures and is often associated with long-term commitment, trust, and mutual exclusivity between two individuals.
Are Monogamous Relationships Better for Relationship?
According to Shuavarnnasri, monogamy is not inherently superior to nonmonogamy, and vice versa. “Monogamy can work wonderfully for specific relationships, while it may not be the best fit for others.
There is a common misconception that nonmonogamous relationships are inherently less committed or less secure. However, research has shown that individuals in consensually nonmonogamous relationships often display higher levels of commitment to their long-term partnerships. Therefore, it is essential to challenge assumptions and recognize that the suitability of monogamy or nonmonogamy depends on the specific individuals involved and their unique dynamics.
Read Also: How to Be a Better Lover?
Is Monogamy Relationship Better for Society?
Research on the societal impacts of monogamy has yielded conflicting results. While some argue that monogamy promotes gender equality compared to polygamous societies, where men can have multiple wives but not vice versa, and that it provides a stable environment for children, these theories are subject to debate among experts.
Shuavarnnasri points out that monogamous marriage has a historical connection to patriarchal structures. For instance, the tradition of a father giving away his daughter in marriage symbolizes the transfer of property to the husband, reinforced by the bride adopting the husband’s last name. It is important to note that not all marriages are patriarchal, and monogamous relationships are not inherently oppressive toward women.
However, historically, monogamy has played a role in maintaining male dominance over women. Additionally, the traditional division of labor in heterosexual relationships can significantly affect women’s economic prospects.
Shuavarnnasri also suggests that monogamy may not necessarily be the only or easiest context for raising a child. They highlight the challenges dual-income households face in maintaining a healthy family due to rising living costs, education, and housing. Nonmonogamous family dynamics, on the other hand, may provide children with access to multiple trusted guardians or parent figures, embodying the notion that “it takes a village to raise a child.”
It is crucial to emphasize that neither monogamy nor nonmonogamy can be definitively deemed better for society or families. Shuavarnnasri notes that the best society thrives when individuals can live authentically, whether they choose monogamy or nonmonogamy as their relationship structure.
The Value of Monogamy
Similar to any thriving relationship, monogamy relies on the foundation of mutual respect, honesty, and effective communication between partners. According to Barnett, trust, compassion, empathy, and open communication are essential values that monogamous couples should embrace to foster a healthy and prosperous relationship.
Suppose you perceive a misalignment in these values with your partner. In that case, engaging in a sincere conversation might be beneficial to evaluate the relationship’s compatibility and determine the best path forward.
Reasons Why Someone Might Choose Monogamy
Below we’ll discuss a few reasons for the following topic.
- Preference for Depth: Some individuals prefer to establish deep connections with one person rather than juggling multiple partners.
- Desire for Specialness: A significant factor is enjoying the feeling of being uniquely prioritized and cherished by a romantic partner.
- Limited Capacity: Managing numerous relationships simultaneously may be challenging due to limited time or energy constraints.
- Simplicity: The simplicity of nurturing and focusing on a single relationship appeals to certain individuals.
- Focus and Commitment: It is easier for some people to concentrate on building a strong connection with one partner rather than trying to establish connections with multiple individuals.
- Contentment with One Partner: Some individuals feel that their life is fulfilling and complete with just one partner and do not have a strong desire to bring in new connections.
- Minimization of Jealousy: Choosing monogamy can help minimize opportunities for jealousy and emotional turmoil.
- Familiarity and Comfort: The familiarity and comfort of monogamy play a significant role in the decision-making process.
- Faith or Cultural Influence: For some, monogamy aligns with their faith or cultural values, which holds significant importance.
- Partner’s Preference: When a partner expresses a preference for monogamy, some individuals are happy to oblige and prioritize their partner’s desires.
- Personal Preference: Ultimately, choosing monogamy may be a personal preference based on what feels right and fulfilling for the individual.
Indications that Monogamy May Not Right for You
Now that we have clarified the definition of ethical non-monogamy and its boundaries let’s explore some signs that traditional monogamy may not be the most suitable relationship structure for you. It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and each individual is wired uniquely. Remember to approach yourself and others with kindness and empathy as you reflect on these aspects.
1. You Have a History of “Serial Monogamy.”
Serial monogamy refers to a preference for committed relationships without breaks in between. Instead of being single or casually dating, individuals practicing serial monogamy engage in consecutive monogamous relationships. Often, the decision to end one relationship and start another is driven by a desire for something new or due to societal expectations that dictate ending one relationship before pursuing another.
2. You’ve Cheated in Your Past Relationships
Cheating in relationships is generally considered morally wrong; however, it’s essential to understand that not all instances of infidelity stem from malicious intent. Sometimes, individuals cheat because they feel something is missing; they may be acting out, processing trauma, or navigating societal pressures. For example, some married individuals who cheat might not desire divorce but seek a casual sexual partner outside their primary relationship. Exploring the motivations behind cheating is essential to understand the underlying reasons better.
3. You Don’t Think There’s One Person Out There That Can Fulfill Everything You Desire
Feeling this way can be confusing, particularly in a society that heavily emphasizes monogamy. However, exploring different aspects of our lives and relationships is acceptable without adhering to a specific label. Trying out different relationship dynamics doesn’t necessarily require identifying as a particular type; it’s about discovering what feels natural and authentic. This also applies to exploring ethical non-monogamy if it aligns with your desires.
4. You Have or Have Had the Desire to Have Multiple Sexual Relationships at Once
It’s important to recognize that engaging in sexual or romantic relationships with different people is simply engaging with different individuals. Concerns like, “What if my partner finds better sex elsewhere?” stem from misconceptions perpetuated by toxic monogamy culture. A strong relationship foundation goes beyond physical intimacy, and seeking different types of connections with multiple people is natural.
5. You’ve Felt the Desire to Explore a Relationship More Freely Than You’ve Been Able To
Have you ever met someone and instantly felt a strong connection, a desire to know them and spend time together, even without knowing what that entails? This feeling often arises when we meet someone in a predetermined context, such as a romantic date or a business introduction. If you’ve ever wished to genuinely explore the potential between yourself and another person, whether romantically or sexually, it might indicate compatibility with ethical non-monogamy.
6. Something Is Missing for You, Even Though You Adore Your Current Partner
One of the misconceptions perpetuated by monogamy is that it’s wrong if our one partner fails to meet all our needs. Feeling that something is missing doesn’t necessarily imply a lack of love for your partner. It’s about acknowledging that you desire more, and that’s completely acceptable.
7. You Believe It’s Worth Having Difficult Conversations to Live a Fulfilling Life
If you relate to these ideas and wonder how to discuss ethical non-monogamy with your partner, rest assured that there are ways to navigate these conversations. Recognizing the importance of open communication, valuing emotions, and being willing to engage in difficult discussions are vital steps toward living a fulfilling life aligned with your desires.
Distinguishing Monogamy from Non-Monogamy
If you’re curious about the concept of monogamy, it’s valuable to gain an understanding of non-monogamy and polyamory as well. Non-monogamy is the practice of openly and honestly engaging in multiple sexual or romantic partnerships simultaneously, often referred to as being in an open relationship or open marriage. An essential aspect of non-monogamy, often highlighted by the term “ethical non-monogamy,” is the emphasis on consent and communication about non-monogamous dynamics.
Polyamory, on the other hand, shares similarities with non-monogamy but typically involves two individuals in a committed, long-term romantic relationship, often a marriage, who consensually engage with others sexually and potentially romantically.
How to Approach Discussing Ethical Non-Monogamy with Partners
When initiating conversations about new desires, possibilities, or opportunities with our partners, we must approach them with gentleness, curiosity, and empathy, always keeping empathy at the forefront.
The AEO approach can be helpful in these discussions—acknowledge, explain, and offer. Acknowledging that you understand your partner’s perspective demonstrates your concern for their feelings and emotions. Explaining and honestly sharing your feelings helps your partner gain insight into your perspective and understand the significance of the topic you wish to discuss.
Offering opportunities to your partner grants them the autonomy to establish their boundaries, determine their comfort levels, and decide whether they wish to continue the conversation.
Approaching our partners with an offer, rather than an ultimatum, tends to elicit more positive responses and fosters a healthier dialogue. We create an environment that encourages mutual understanding and collaboration by providing options and engaging in open, compassionate communication.
Is Monogamy Realistic in the Modern World?
Yes, monogamy can still be a realistic expectation in today’s society. However, it is essential to recognize that not everyone is naturally inclined towards monogamy, and some individuals may find greater satisfaction in non-monogamous relationships. Each person has a unique vision of a fulfilling relationship, and committing to one person for life may not align with everyone’s idea of happiness.
Furthermore, people’s needs and expectations within relationships can evolve over time as they grow and change. There may be instances where individuals in monogamous relationships desire sexual encounters with others, while polyamorous individuals may seek long-term, committed, and exclusive connections.
Ultimately, maintaining a successful monogamous relationship requires ongoing and honest communication. It is possible to have a fulfilling monogamous relationship as long as both partners genuinely desire it and are willing to invest effort into making it work. Openly discussing needs and desires within the relationship is crucial.
It is important to acknowledge that people have diverse intrinsic inclinations and varying relationship preferences. Both polyamorous and monogamous relationships are valid and normal. However, succumbing to societal pressure and conforming to more widely accepted or trendy relationship models solely to appease others may not lead to genuine fulfillment. If you feel different from societal norms, take time for self-reflection, understand your needs, and communicate transparently with your partner.
Respect for oneself and one’s partner is essential; by doing so, you can navigate the path forward that is best for both of you. If you’re also interested in same-sex marriage, read the linked article.
Also Read: Scorpios in Romantic Relationship
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Now let’s get into the FAQ segment.
Is monogamy toxic?
No, monogamous relationships are not inherently toxic. Like any relationship, whether monogamous or non-monogamous, toxicity can arise if healthy boundaries and communication are not maintained. It is essential to prioritize open and honest communication to foster a healthy and fulfilling monogamous relationship.
How can a monogamous relationship be maintained?
Maintaining a monogamous relationship requires dedication, devotion, and unwavering trust. It is essential to nurture intimacy, actively work through complex emotions honestly, and prioritize open communication. Regularly expressing love, understanding, and respect for each other’s needs and boundaries contributes to the longevity and satisfaction of a monogamous relationship.
Do monogamous people experience jealousy?
Monogamous people may experience possessiveness, which can be misconstrued as jealousy. However, it is essential to differentiate between possessiveness and jealousy to maintain a healthy relationship. Open and honest communication about boundaries, insecurities, and emotional needs can help address potential jealousy and foster a more secure and trusting monogamous relationship.
Are monogamous relationships happier?
The level of happiness in a monogamous relationship, like any other relationship, depends on various factors and varies from individual to individual. Happiness in a monogamous relationship is often determined by clear communication, mutual respect, understanding, and the expression of love and appreciation for each other. When these elements are present, monogamous relationships can be fulfilling and joyful experiences.
That’s everything about a monogamous relationship.
In conclusion, a monogamous relationship represents a committed and exclusive bond between two individuals who choose to build a life together based on trust, loyalty, and emotional connection. While monogamy is not the only valid or suitable relationship style for everyone, it remains a prevalent and cherished approach to love and partnership for many individuals and cultures.