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Does Monogamy Work?
Posted by:   |  Jul 29, 2016

monogamy

Do you believe that humans are monogamous by nature? If that is the case, why are there so many cases of cheating, infidelity and divorce? Why do some couples want to be in an open relationship? Did marriages work in this way in the past centuries too?

In the modern world that we live, monogamy is implied for  individuals who are in committed relationships that have exclusive sexual relationships. This is because we want the feeling of security that comes with the realization that we are the only individual our partner is intimate with. However, some people consider fidelity as an illusion of marriage. Just because your partner is legally bound to you through the institution of marriage, does not mean that they will never cheat on you.

The History of Marriage

In the past, people got married to pass on their estate and property to their offspring, so that it would stay in the family. In that regards, marriage was an economical institution. Moreover, they also had an innate need to pass on their genes among people and preserve social or religious identity. While the father was responsible to bring the “food,” the mother was to stay safe at home to produce healthy children. There was no concept of marrying for love back in those times.

The Modern World

In modern times, monogamy does not take place just for the purpose of passing on one’s inheritance, but also due to love and desire for a person. However, the idea of a single partner is slowly and gradually fading away and being replaced with polygamy. Is it possible to stay attracted to a single person for an entire lifetime? Are such examples found in history? Actually, it is an idealistic view of marriage. The idealistic view of marriage is romantic that wish for one partner for ever “Till Death Do Us Part.”

It is not easy to be with the same partner for a lifetime. This is because it leads to being taken for granted, boredom, lack of spice in life, despair, and sexual death. That is the reason why skills like empathy, relationship skills, patience, self-control, and moreover, the will of choosing each other every day, is important.

What Constitutes Cheating?

As popularly believed, cheating is not just sexual infidelity. Rather, it is anything that you have to hide and keep a secret from your partner. Whether it is a person you are talking to on your device while lying next to your partner, or someone you are sexually involved with – all of it is cheating. So, what about partners who like being adventurous sexually and get involved with other couples, together? Is watching porn alone and masturbating considered cheating too?

Monogamy and Other Consensual Arrangements

With time and technological advancements, things are changing pretty fast. Around 50% of the married people end up getting divorced. It also seems that total monogamy for a life time is very challenging. This is why more and more partners are looking for a more flexible the structure and arrangement. Here are few examples of consensual non-monogamous relationships and a short description of each:

  • Swinging refers to the pursuit of recreational sex outside of a marriage or committed relationship. Generally, both partners in the relationship will swap spouses with another couple and will exercise sex with other committed partners.
  • An open relationship is a committed relationship in which one or both partners pursue sexual relationship outside of their partnership.
  • Polyamory is the practice of intimacy and romantic love with more than one partner at the same time.
  • Polyfidelity is a “group marriage” model, essentially the same as being married-except you’re married to more than one person.

Ultimately, the key to any healthy relationship, particularly open relationship is honesty, transparency and consent. The best way to go about this is to communicate with your partner respectfully and continually maintain trust.

Discussing with your partners about difficult subjects, including sexuality,  whether the partner is comfortable with physical or any other kind of infidelity or not will provide you with insight and their expectations about marriage. You need to discuss it out with your partner and reach a mutual ground where the needs of both are not being compromised, so that you can make the relationship work.



Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in New York City
License # : 000697