Discussion: Is Monogamy A Lost Cause?


Despite biology, soaring divorce rates, and highly publicized 72-day marriages, some of us still believe in “everlasting love.” I do, for the most part. I’m more likely to cry at a wedding than shit-talk the newlyweds over room-temperature salisbury steak. I (sort of) believe that love isn’t just an emotion, it’s a choice — one you choose to make every day (I think).

And monogamy is a choice, too, but is it the right one? It seems like every other day, there’s an article or a study suggesting we disregard everything we’ve been socialized to believe about love and marriage to instead create relationship models that afford us some wiggle-room in the fidelity department. I’ll admit that I’m more interested in having a fulfilling and healthy relationship than I am in being monogamous and potentially miserable (and I’d like a partner who prefers the former, too), but I’ve also been conditioned to think that I need exclusive access, I need all of someone — both sexually and emotionally — to be satisfied. It would take some major psychological rewiring to erase that instinct (for me, at least).

Do you think expecting monogamy in a relationship is outdated, that you’re asking to be cheated on when you ask for exclusivity? Do the healthiest relationships leave room for growth, change, and excitement by occasionally allowing others in on the action? Does it depend on the couple, or should Western civilization as a whole start rethinking the rigid terms of love and marriage?

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