People might think that being in a monogamous relationship is the easiest of all. There is no complication of setting a calendar when you have to meet your other partner, and you do not get confused about what all your partners are allergic to. But is that all? Is being in a monogamous relationship that simple?
Are any relationships simple? I don’t think so. Being in a relationship is always going to be complicated, no matter the number of people you are involved with. Just because society accepts monogamy as the most common form of relationship, that doesn’t mean that it has to be the only common kind.
The concept of monogamy might seem to be simple and straightforward: being with one person throughout your life and being committed to them. Is that all there is about monogamy or a monogamous relationship? There is a lot more to it. Let’s find out.
What is monogamy? Or what is a monogamous relationship?
According to Merriam-Webster, monogamy is the “state or practice of only having one sexual partner at one time, and/or only being married to one person at one time.”
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, monogamy is “the fact or custom of having a sexual relationship or marriage with only one other person at a time.”
Well, in simple terms, monogamy is the practice of being in a romantic and intimate relationship with only one significant person at a time. In a monogamous relationship, there is exclusivity. Here, two people date each other exclusively. To be precise, there is emotional and sexual exclusivity between them.
According to Liam Barnett, a relationship expert, “A monogamous relationship is a romantic connection between two people who promise emotional and sexual exclusivity to one another.”
As I said, monogamy is the mainstream and widely accepted form of relationship, but that doesn’t mean that this is universal. There are various countries that practice polygamy and other kinds of relationships as well. We will get into that.
Other terms for monogamous relationships (Types of monogamy)
Monogamy or any sort of monogamous relationship is called by its primary name, but in certain conditions, they are termed otherwise depending on the form and aspects of the relationship. There are a few which we have covered below.
Long-term monogamy is something where you might know someone for a decade and can also have some sort of relationship, but you do not have any meaningful connection with that person. A relationship works when there is equal effort from both parties involved in the relationship. And long-term monogamy doesn’t mean that the person involved has to be in a legally binding agreement.
This refers to the kind of relationship where two people involved are legally bound in a marriage and committed to one another. A marriage is successful when the people involved follow the vows of the marriage and have respect and trust for both partners.
In a monogamous relationship, a couple relies on one another for intimacy and emotional support. This form of monogamy has been going on for ages, and the institution of marriage has been serving as an example of commitment.
In this form of relationship, the people involved rely on each other for emotional support exclusively. They are their primary source of support, and I mean emotional support. This kind of relationship often turns into a partnership, and they evolve a deep connection between the two. This is something that makes the partnership strong.
It is quite easy to understand from the term that this kind of relationship happens when the people involved are exclusively involved in sexual activity with one another. This means both partners have to refrain from getting involved sexually with any other person. This type of relationship builds trust, emotional intimacy, and loyalty between sexual partners.
Tips to have a successful monogamy relationship
It might seem scary right now when you think about spending your whole life with one person, but it might not be very difficult. There are a few things that you have to keep in mind to keep the love alive. Well, it is not something that can be taught, but as you know, everyone is a love expert when it comes to giving advice on relationships, so why not?
Be open to honest conversations
Having an honest conversation and communication between the people involved in a relationship is the vital key to avoiding any kind of misunderstanding and keeping your monogamous relationship strong. Be honest about your views, and be open to their views. It is important to listen to one another and not just speak your heart out.
It is a two-way street, and an important part of effective communication is that you have to listen to what the other person has to say about it. Be it about work stress, your household needs, or your life situation, sharing things with one another and listening to their issues will help you keep a strong relationship.
Communicate about your desires, needs, and expectations
It might happen that you are not clear or aware of what you want out of the relationship, and that might confuse your partner as well. This might cause a lot of misunderstandings between the two of you. So it is better to take some time out and think of what you want.
What are you expecting out of this relationship? Find that out and talk about it to your partner. Discuss your desires, what you need, and what you are expecting from your partner. Remember, the person standing across from you is also human and does not possess the ability to read minds. So, communicating your desires and expectations is important.
Make rules for your relationships
Being on the same page is important in a monogamous relationship or for any relationship. Clarity is important. This will keep you protected from any potential heartbreak. Have an open conversation about what you are looking for in this relationship, and communicate your issues with your partner.
When you know what you both are looking for, then set some rules for your relations exclusively if needed. This will prevent any kind of misunderstanding and will not surprise you with anything unpleasant.
Keep the love going
If you get bored in a relationship, that might lead to disinterest in any kind of monogamous relationship. So, try to find ways to keep the love and passion going and keep things interesting. Try to engage in activities that will keep the intimacy and connection in the relationship alive.
Make it a habit of going out on a date every month, give each other surprises, show your love, and experience new things together. It is better to express sometimes. Putting in time and effort is important to keep the spark and romance alive.
Accept change and growth
It would be wrong to say and expect that a relationship would stay the same over the years. That is never the case. Things will evolve and change. You have to accept that change and grow with it.
You have to assess the change that is happening in your relationship and adjust to it. Set your boundaries accordingly. It is best to remain committed to the exclusivity and avoid doing something that might affect the relationship in ways that you might not be able ti mend later.
Monogamy vs non-monogamy
From the above section, it must be clear that monogamy is the practice of exclusively being committed to one person, be that emotionally, romantically, or sexually.
But there are various different forms of non-monogamy like polyamory, open relationships, polygamy, and there are many others. But there is something that has become very popular in recent years, and that is consensual or ethical non-monogamy.
Different forms of non-monogamous relationships
There are many people who do not follow the conventional forms of relationships. They do not believe that a person is meant to be with one particular other person for their entire lives. So, let’s have a look at the different forms of non-monogamous relationships.
Polyamory is the concept of being in relationships with multiple people at a time. This kind of relationship can be emotional or romantic, or it might happen that they have one steady partner, and they are just sexually involved with other people. But in this relationship, there is clarity among all the partners; they know that they are not the exclusive ones in the relationship.
A triad is a relationship where three people are involved in a committed romantic relationship. These three people are open to the fact that there is a third person involved in this relationship, and both the other parties are also committed to that person in the same way.
An open relationship is something where a committed couple is open to having other sexual relationships. Open relationships come with a lot of conditions and some specific limitations, but their first priority has to be their primary relationship.
In these relationships, there are no rules set, and there are no expectations of those relationships. If the people involved in this relationship agree to follow some norms, then they can, but there are no hard and fast rules for it. Also, these relationships are non-hierarchical in nature.
Monogamish is something where the people involved are primarily in a monogamous relationship. But they are allowed to have sex with other people in certain specific situations, like when they attend a sex party, or they agree to have a threesome or some others where they decide to get involved with other people.
Ethical non-monogamy vs open relationship
Ethical non-monogamy is the type of relationship where all the partners involved in the relationship are aware of the dynamics of their relationship. They have agreed to their partner dating or getting sexually involved outside of their primary relationship.
Open relationship is also a lot like ethical non-monogamy. Here, people who are involved or committed to one another are open to having relations, emotionally as well as sexually, with other people outside their primary relationships.
But they have to keep their primary relationship as their first priority. It is also okay if they want to set some ground rules and put some limitations on it.
Signs that a monogamous relationship is not for you
We have discussed a lot about monogamous relationships, how to keep things interesting and honest in an open relationship, along with different forms of nonmonogamous relationships. But a monogamous relationship is not the best fit for everyone. Why not?
There is a history of serial monogamy
Serial monogamy is something when a person does not take a break between relationships or dating. They are comfortable in committed relationships as well but do not take time to get over the previous person and jump into another relationship without being single or casually dating someone.
A serial monogamist might get bored of one person and break it off to explore something new, and that is why they end their relationship and get into another one. If you find this pattern, then you have the clarity.
You have previously cheated in your relationships
It is easy to judge a person because they have cheated in a relationship. But this often comes out because a person is processing trauma, missing something in their life or relationship, or acting out.
We often hear people cheating in marriage, but that is not because they do not love their partners anymore; they just want a change or do not have an idea what they are doing and how that can affect the other person. So, if this is your case, then give it a thought; what was your reason? What do you want, and what are you looking for?
You don’t believe there is one person for everyone
It might happen that your thinking does not align with the conventional thinking of other people. You might not believe there is one person for everyone, and it is better to understand your needs and wants before getting into a relationship. This will help you negative the kind of relationship that is fit for you.
You desire to have multiple sexual and emotional relationships
Every sexual as well as emotional relationship is different. The experience of being with another is obviously going to be something different from the other person. So, it might be something that you want to experience in your life. This is a sign that you do not want to be involved in a monogamous relationship.
We belong to a society where being in monogamous relationships is the conventional thing, and people often feel pressured to follow the general norms of society rather than following their own hearts. But it is really nice if you want to be in a committed relationship exclusively with one person, romantically and sexually, as well. But there is nothing to be on a moral high ground.
This is just a lifestyle that you have chosen for yourself, and someone might choose something different for them.
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Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.