If a person has discovered monogamy to be the type of relationship that works for them, I have no problem with them practicing it. However, I do have some objections with the compulsory monogamy presented widespread these days. This same process is what I personally feel is the reason for most of the infidelity that’s happening around us. I take a pretty dim view of compulsory monogamy — that is, the cultural standard that holds monogamy up as the only moral, functional choice. That said, I can see the social benefit of such a standard, even as I criticise some of its effect. Compulsory monogamy serves a purpose.
I have no objection whatsoever to both monogamy and polyamory when it’s practiced by people who enthusiastically choose it. If you’re anything like myself and naturally gravitate toward one partner at a time, and your partner does the same, then monogamy makes perfect sense. If you find monogamy a bit challenging, but believe its benefits outweigh its downsides, then monogamy makes sense for you, too.
In these cases, monogamy does not restrict anyone’s freedom. The people have chosen to pass on sex and romance with other people because that choice feels right and proper to them. Someone who experiences monogamy as a stifling restriction of freedom probably shouldn’t be monogamous and needs to be upfront with the people they date about a possible mono/poly arrangement. I don’t get why people still cheat in 2019 tbh. All these things have now been normalised so why not just figure out what works best for you and own it?
Humans are complex. Our reasons for doing what we do span quite a large arc.
What I’ve realised these days is, most people do want multiple people for themselves but want a chaste partner at the same time. You know how I know this? Look at the statistics on cheating again. This mindset works well for a cheater. I think that many people choose monogamy because it’s a cultural ideal and they don’t want to violate it. Many of them would be scared to bring it up to a partner for fear of being branded a weirdo or potentially losing that love interest.
Personally, I know I’d have a hard time managing multiple relationships. I don’t have the emotional bandwidth for that. I tend to be an introvert who spends so much time in my own head that it’s hard to let another person into my world. I tend to slip into patterns where I forget to work on maintaining the relationship and making my partner happy. If I had to balance multiple people it would be a mess, I would be overwhelmed having to keep up with the demands. I’m really not attracted to the lifestyle at all and I’m not someone who can easily detach feelings from physical intimacy, and I would probably expect to feel conflicted, jealous, and pretty shitty. My gut personally doesn’t react well to the polyamorous relationship hierarchies of who is the most important person. Like a “primary”, then a “secondary”. Maybe it’s just me being monogamous but I personally preferably wouldn’t want to be ranked against other people.
I was having a discussion yesterday with a friend of mine who so happened to inspire this post. She is monogamous, but is in an exclusive relationship with a man that is polygamous. I’ve tried it before and it never worked for me. For her, having a polyamorous partner is better than a monogamous partner. She feels like it allows her to have a life outside her relationship and not feel like she has to be at his beck and call 24/7. When they have something scheduled she can make him her primary focus and when they are not, she can sink back into all the other things in her brain without guilt. This system seems to work very well for them and has for the last 3 years. She says that’s the love of her life and she sees forever with him and I found that part really difficult to stomach. I guess one of the primary reasons why they manage this so well is because her partner was transparent from the beginning and none of this came as a surprise mid relationship. She was also given the opportunity to decide whether this was something she was willing to get into.
In my opinion,
Sometimes, following your first impulse actually isn’t good, and delaying gratification in some capacity in the long run will reap better benefits. I know that being monogamous makes me happy so I am fine to delay gratification for that purpose.
So monogamy or not, what is important is that you understand yourself and truthfully – as best as you know – communicate your truth with the people you date. If you are not ready or monogamy is not for you, you will create more pain for yourself and those people you’re dating. I truly believe that the best way to be monogamous is when it just becomes a natural state for you and not something you make happen. Please ignore any external benchmark of normal or morality and just focus on your truth and communicate it as best as you can and often.
I would like to know your thoughts on this. Are you monogamous by choice or has society forced you into a box?