For ages, monogamy has been thought of as the complete expression of unconditional and committed love. In the dictionary, monogamy is described as “the practice or state of being married to one person at a time,” or “the practice or state of having a sexual relationship with only one partner,” and in zoology, “the habit of having only one mate at a time.” But, in our modern world, we just think of monogamy as the relationship of two people together, who are only dating each other. In simpler terms, boyfriends and girlfriends.
Since everyone has their own view of what the words dating, casual dating, hooking up, being exclusive, and together means, things can get pretty confusing. One person’s view of what a monogamous relationship should be may conflict with another’s. You might think it’s easy to understand. Oh, you will only sleep with me and I will only sleep with you. But does that mean no flirting? No casual dating on the side? No flings? Are we in a relationship now or just sleeping together?
You get the point. So let’s discuss the top myths about monogamy, and why it’s failing to succeed in society today. People are throwing the rule book out the window and choosing instead to love the way they and their partner choose to love, and not how they are told to love.
Monogamy Is Natural
If monogamy was 100% natural, why are we attracted to a really beautiful person that walks by? We could be wildly happy and in love, but we are still attracted to others. Still dream about others. Still think of others. Still feel temptation. Why?
Biologically, humans carry the imprint of polygamy, literally the opposite of lifelong faithfulness to one mate, aka monogamy. Monogamy actually goes against our animalistic predilection for multiple sexual partners. However, in the case of raising a child, two parents are better than one. Thus, one reason our modern society has chosen monogamy is to maintain a sense of family and to raise a baby with the love that both a man and woman can offer.
I think there are enough affairs, divorces, and cheating scandals out there to prove that if monogamy was natural, everyone would stay together in a happy relationship forever. The wandering eye is part of our biological imprint, and there is just no denying that.
Monogamy Is Better For Sexual Health
Despite what some people may think, non-monogamous people are actually a lot sexually healthier than monogamous ones. Because they choose multiple partners, they are usually more than prepared when it comes to birth control or using condoms, and they get tested regularly. This differs from a monogamous couple because yes, those couples are only enjoying one sexual partner at a time, but if either of them slips up or cheats, it’s likely to be unprotected. A mistake like that is probably going to be kept a secret, leaving the other person in the dark. One person in the party may contract an STD and not get tested, and then possibly give it to their partner, who had no idea they were even betrayed. See? Things can get messy.
Non-monogamous people have no reason to lie about their sex life, so they don’t. They stay safe and are comfortable being open about their present partners.
Monogamy Prevents Jealousy and Cheating
A lot of couples think, “Well, if we are in a relationship, we will feel secure. We will have a deep connection and strong bond. It will prevent either of us from getting jealous, because we know we ‘belong’ to each other. We will never cheat.”
This is far from the truth, as monogamous couples feel jealousy and monogamous couples cheat. Putting a label on your relationship isn’t going to just stop your partner from being attracted to other people, nor is it going to stop you from feeling attraction to others. It only makes that attraction less obvious or easier to ignore, because you have a purpose and a sense of duty and loyalty to your partner.
Cheating, lying, getting jealous, and sneaking around are all things that anyone can do, regardless of the label. It just might be viewed as worse or more cruel in a serious, committed relationship than in a non-monogamous one. At the end of the day, it’s still a betrayal of trust and a choice to wrong the other person. If two people are honest to one another and treat each other with respect, it isn’t going to matter if they are boyfriend/girlfriend or not. They will just be left with love, the most important thing anyways.
Monogamous Relationships Are Deeper
Now, this is what we find to be the most untrue. How many passionate, serious relationships have you had with people you’ve never “dated” on paper? You can feel so deeply for someone who maybe you just couldn’t be monogamous with for whatever reason. Maybe you were in a relationship with someone else, and you were too scared to leave. Maybe your lover lived across the country, and you could only see them twice a year. Maybe the other person just wasn’t right for you, brought out a volatile side of you, but did that mean your love wasn’t real? Did that mean your love meant less than the love you had with a high school boyfriend, for the simple fact that he had the label?
The label can be there or it can be absent. But it has nothing at all to do with the love. It’s silly to think that the word girlfriend or boyfriend can dictate the validity of your feelings for someone.