Polyamory — having more than one consensual sexual or emotional relationship at once — has in recent years emerged on television, mainstream dating sites and even in research. And experts who have studied these kinds of consensual non-monogomous relationships, say they have unique strengths that anyone can learn from.
Many people have different ideas about relationships and which type of relationships are right for them, especially in terms of romantic relationships. In Western cultures, monogamy and polygamy are the two most common types of unions. Monogamy is officially defined as “the practice or state of having a sexual relationship with only one partner” while polygamy consists of a marriage in which a spouse of any gender may have more than one mate at the same time. In most of society, monogamy is regarded favorably, while polygamy is often judged.
While various people are compatible within various unions, the ongoing debate surrounding monogamy and polygamy has yet to subside. In much of society and in many religious traditions, monogamy is viewed as indicative of a loving, faithful, and true union. In those contexts, marriage is perceived as a partnership which should only contain two people who commit to forsake all others.
Individuals who question the validity of monogamy may cite this type of partnership as outdated, overly restrictive, or even unnatural. High divorce rates, reports of infidelity, and sexual boredom are also cited as reasons to oppose monogamy. People who hold these views generally cite polygamy as a healthy alternative for consenting adults. Greater companionship, higher income, and ongoing sexual variety are often cited as advantages of polygamous relationships.
Individuals who favor monogamy also tend to cite bonding, emotional intimacy, decreased worries of STDs, and other cases as reasons to opt for monogamy. The Huffington Post even champions monogamous relationships as the pinnacle of values like honor, respect, fidelity, loyalty, and trust. However, many polygamous individuals would make the case that the values above can still exist within non-monogamous relationships.
Relationships are inherently complicated. Regardless of whether or not an individual chooses to enter into a monogamous or polygamous partnership, many factors impact whether a relationship lasts through the years: timing, lifestyle, desires, sexual compatibility, personalities, and so much more. In many cases, the relationships that make us the happiest may be different than what we initially envisioned.