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Monogamy: What is a Monogamous Relationship and What are the Benefits of this Type of Relationship

Happy couple in a monogamous relationship
July 27, 2023

The idea of monogamy has been around for centuries and has changed over time. However, one thing remains the same, people want to have relationships that last.

Monogamy is defined as the practice of having only one romantic partner at a time. This type of relationship is considered to be the most stable and beneficial for relationships.

This article will cover what a monogamous relationship means and the benefits that come with it. We will also discuss the drawbacks and what can happen if you don’t follow through with your commitments.

What Is Monogamy?

Monogamy is a relationship dynamic in which two individuals have a romantic and sexual partnership with only each other. 

Monogamy differs from polygamy, where individuals have multiple partners, and polyamory, where individuals have intimate relationships with multiple partners with the consent of all parties involved. 

Monogamy is the most common relationship dynamic in Western society and is often viewed as the norm.

However, monogamy is not a biological necessity, and many species do not practice it. 

Some individuals may engage in non-monogamous relationships or find that monogamy does not work for them and their needs. 

It is vital for all individuals in a relationship to openly communicate their needs and desires and make decisions that align with their values and beliefs. 

Monogamy can take on different forms, including sexual monogamy (only engaging in sexual activity with one partner) or emotional monogamy (having only one emotionally intimate partner).

Individuals must discuss and define the parameters of their relationship so that all parties involved are on the same page and their needs are being met.  

Monogamy can bring stability, trust, and commitment to a relationship, but it is not the only way to have a successful and fulfilling partnership. An essential aspect of any relationship is open and honest communication between partners.

Different Names For Monogamy 

Monogamy is often referred to as "traditional marriage" or marriage to one person at a time. Other terms for monogamy include marital monogamy, social monogamy, and sexual monogamy. 

Conjugal monogamy refers specifically to marriage and the legal and social obligations that come with it. Social monogamy refers to a couple living and functioning as a social unit, while sexual monogamy focuses on the exclusivity of sexual relationships within the partnership. Monogamy is the most common form of marriage in Western societies, though it is practiced in various forms in cultures around the world.

Polygamy, or having multiple spouses at once, is another common marital practice. Polyandry is the name given to a woman with multiple husbands, while Polygyny refers to a man having multiple wives.

Polyamory, sometimes called "ethical non-monogamy" is the practice of consensual and transparent relationships with multiple partners. While not legally recognized in most parts of the world, polyamory is becoming more visible and accepted in modern societies.

It is important to note that monogamy and polygamy are social constructs and do not necessarily reflect the actual sexual behavior of individuals or couples. 

A person may identify as monogamous but have extramarital affairs, while a person in a polygamous marriage may only emotionally and sexually connect with one partner. 

Sexual fidelity, or remaining sexually exclusive with one partner, is a personal choice that can be present in any relationship structure.

Additionally, consensual non-monogamy does not necessarily mean promiscuity or a lack of commitment to partners. On the contrary, many individuals in open relationships prioritize communication, honesty, and transparency as crucial aspects of their partnerships.

The individuals involved determine the definition and structure of a successful relationship. Respect for each person's needs and desire is vital in any type of partnership, monogamous or otherwise.

Monogamy, polygamy, and non-monogamy are all excellent relationship choices, and there is no one "right" way to have a successful partnership. It is vital to approach any relationship with open communication and respect for all parties involved.

The Differences Between Monogamy And Polyamory?

Polyamory relationship

Monogamy, by definition, is the practice of having only one romantic or sexual partner at a time. Polyamory, on the other hand, involves having multiple intimate relationships with the knowledge and consent of all parties involved.

While monogamous relationships are often seen as the norm in Western society, there is no one right way to do relationships. Some people find happiness and fulfillment in a monogamous partnership, while others may feel more fulfilled in a polyamorous arrangement.

One key difference between monogamy and polyamory is the structure of the relationship. In a monogamous relationship, there is typically one primary couple or partnership. In a polyamorous relationship, there may be multiple partnerships happening simultaneously.

Monogamous relationships also often involve a sense of exclusivity, where both partners are not involved with or dating anyone else. In polyamorous relationships, it is common for individuals to have multiple concurrent partnerships.

Communication and consent are crucial in any healthy relationship, but they can take on added importance in polyamorous relationships. All parties must know and agree to the arrangement and openly communicate about boundaries and agreements.

While there are benefits and challenges to both monogamous and polyamorous relationships, the most crucial aspect is that the structure fits the needs and desires of all those involved. 

Each person and each relationship is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Therefore, it's essential to acknowledge and respect the many different ways that people choose to structure their relationships.

Exploring Monogamy With Your Partner

There are many different ways to approach monogamy in a relationship, and it can be helpful to have open discussions with your partner about what it means for both of you. 

Some couples may practice monogamous rules, such as only being physically intimate with each other, while others may have agreements about non-monogamy or polyamory.

It is vital to explore boundaries and expectations within a monogamous relationship and communicate about any potential challenges that may arise. 

This can include discussing past experiences with monogamy or non-monogamy, addressing jealousy and trust issues, and thinking about how to handle potential changes in the future.

It is also helpful to explore the cultural and societal influences on our understanding of monogamy and consider how these may impact our relationship. 

It is vital to continually check in with each other and communicate openly about what works for both individuals in the relationship. 

You can create a strong foundation for a loving and fulfilling partnership by actively exploring monogamy with your partner.

Signs That Monogamy Has Become A Problem

Monogamous relationship has become a problem

1. Feelings of Jealousy Or Suspicion

Constant feelings of jealousy or suspicion in a relationship can signify that monogamy has become a problem. These feelings may stem from insecurity or past experiences, but they can also indicate a lack of trust and communication within the relationship. 

In a healthy monogamous relationship, partners should feel comfortable and secure in their commitment. Constant jealousy or suspicion can lead to resentment and anger, causing strain on the relationship.

If these feelings overwhelm or damage the relationship, both partners must discuss them openly and work towards finding a solution.

This may include seeking counseling or therapy, reevaluating expectations within the relationship, or even reconsidering the commitment to monogamy.

It is important to remember that monogamy, while a typical relationship structure, is unsuitable for every couple. Open and honest communication, trust, and mutual respect are vital in any relationship, regardless of its structure. 

It is up to each individual and their partner to decide what works best for them. However, it is essential to address any issues with monogamy early on in the relationship rather than letting them fester and potentially cause harm.

 Suppose jealousy or suspicion becomes a constant issue. In that case, it may be necessary to reassess the commitment to monogamy and determine what will bring the most happiness and fulfillment for both partners.

2. Questioning The Loyalty

One red flag of a monogamy issue in a relationship is constantly questioning your partner's loyalty or fidelity. 

This can manifest as constantly checking their phone or social media, snooping through their emails or texts, and interrogating them about who they've been talking to or where they've been.

This behavior can stem from past betrayal or a lack of trust in the relationship. Still, it can also come from an ingrained belief that monogamy is impossible and that cheating is inevitable.

This mindset can lead to constantly searching for evidence of infidelity without any real reason to suspect it. Therefore, it's essential to address this issue and build trust within the relationship. 

Constant suspicion and monitoring of a partner can be highly damaging and create an unhealthy dynamic. 

Couples or individual therapy may help address trust issues and work towards a healthier approach to monogamy.

3. One Or Both Partners Seeking Fulfillment Outside

One or both partners may seek fulfillment outside the relationship because they feel unfulfilled in their current partnership. 

This could be due to a lack of emotional or physical intimacy, communication issues, or incompatible relationship expectations.

Some signs that monogamy has become a problem in the relationship include one partner constantly seeking validation from others, lying or keeping secrets about their activities outside of the relationship, and regularly engaging in risky behavior that could jeopardize the trust and commitment within the partnership.

Both partners must address these issues and openly communicate their needs to strengthen their relationship's foundation. 

Seeking outside help from a therapist or counselor may also be beneficial in navigating and resolving any challenges related to monogamy.

4. Lack Of Emotional Intimacy And Transparency

One of the signs that monogamy has become a problem in a relationship is a lack of emotional intimacy and transparency. 

This can manifest in a partner withholding their emotions or not being open about their thoughts and feelings. It can also show up as one partner constantly trying to please the other and not expressing their own needs or desires.

This lack of emotional intimacy can lead to disconnection and resentment. Therefore, it is vital for both partners to feel safe enough to share their emotions and be vulnerable with each other. 

Without this level of openness and honesty, the relationship may struggle to deepen and grow. It is also crucial for both partners to openly communicate their needs and boundaries within the relationship, including any concerns or discomfort with monogamy. 

Unresolved issues surrounding monogamy can lead to dishonesty and betrayal, causing further harm to the relationship.

Working through these issues with a therapist or counselor can help couples improve their emotional intimacy and communication, creating a stronger foundation for their relationship. You may both decide to continue with a platonic relationship and avoid sexual interactions altogether.

5. Constant Arguments Or Resentment

Monogamy has been a societal norm for centuries, but it is not without its criticisms and challenges. 

Many argue that forcing individuals to be in a monogamous relationship goes against human nature, as non-monogamous relationships have existed throughout history and across cultures. 

Others believe that monogamy is an outdated social construct that limits personal freedom and forces unrealistic expectations onto relationships.

On a more practical level, monogamy can also lead to resentment within the relationship. For example, one partner may feel trapped or restricted by the expectations of monogamy, leading to feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction. 

In extreme cases, it can even lead to infidelity as individuals seek intimacy and connection outside the confines of their monogamous partnership.

It's vital for individuals in monogamous relationships to constantly evaluate and communicate about their needs and boundaries and consider the possibility of opening up the relationship or exploring non-monogamy. 

Monogamy should not be viewed as a one-size-fits-all solution; couples must find what works. Ultimately, the key to a healthy and fulfilling relationship is open and honest communication, regardless of the structure or label.

6. One Or Both Partners Breaking Monogamous Agreements

Some certain expectations and agreements come with being in a monogamous relationship, such as remaining faithful and not pursuing sexual or romantic relationships outside of the partnership.

However, if one or both partners consistently break these boundaries and agreements, it can indicate that monogamy is becoming a problem in the relationship. 

This behavior may manifest as one partner cheating on the other, for instance, a girlfriend sleeping with someone else or both partners agreeing to have outside sexual experiences.

Some signs that monogamy has become a problem in a relationship include constant lying and secrecy, lack of trust and communication, and a sense of dissatisfaction or restlessness within the partnership. 

Both partners must address any issues with monogamy and devise a solution that works for both parties, whether recommitting to the monogamous agreement or exploring non-monogamous options. 

In navigating this issue, seeking outside support and guidance is important, such as couple's therapy.

7. Difficulty Trusting Oneself Or One's Partner 

In a monogamous relationship, trust and honesty are vital components for it to work successfully. 

However, when there is difficulty trusting oneself or one's partner, it can lead to problems within the relationship. 

Some signs that monogamy has become a problem in the relationship include constantly questioning your partner's loyalty or fidelity, feeling the need to check their phone or social media accounts, and fearing them straying from the relationship.

Both partners must openly and honestly communicate their feelings and concerns to address this issue. In addition, seeking therapy or couples counseling can also be beneficial in addressing trust issues and finding ways to improve the relationship.

It is important to remember that monogamy is a choice, and both partners must be committed to maintaining a faithful and trusting relationship. If monogamy is not a priority for one or both partners, it may be necessary to reassess the relationship and determine if it is the right fit.

8. High Levels Of Stress Or Anxiety Within The Relationship

One sign that monogamy has become a relationship problem is high stress or anxiety surrounding the topic. This could manifest in constantly questioning the fidelity of one's partner, frequent arguments about boundaries and expectations, or feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to be monogamous.

In some cases, this stress and anxiety may stem from a fear of being unable to fulfill the expectations of monogamy or from past experiences with infidelity.

Suppose these feelings are constant and affect the overall health and happiness of the relationship. In that case, it may be worth discussing potential alternatives with a partner, such as open relationships or non-monogamy. This stress and anxiety may stem from a fear of not being able to fulfill the expectations of monogamy or from past experiences with infidelity.

Both parties must communicate openly and honestly about their needs and boundaries to find a solution that works for them. It may also be helpful to seek therapy or counseling to address any underlying issues related to monogamy. 

Remember, prioritizing your mental health and happiness is just as important as the relationship's health.

9. Consistently Feeling Trapped Or Restricted 

It may be a sign that monogamy has become a problem if you consistently feel trapped or restricted by the expectations of monogamy. 

This can manifest in various ways, such as feeling suffocated or controlled in your relationship, wanting to explore other partners or relationships but feeling unable to do so due to societal norms and pressure, or constantly questioning whether monogamy is right for you.

In these instances, evaluating and openly communicating your needs and desires with your partner may be essential to determine if monogamy is the best fit for you.

It is also important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to relationships and that exploring other options, such as non-monogamy or polyamory, may lead to a more fulfilling and authentic experience. 

However, discussing and negotiating boundaries and agreements with all parties is crucial to ensure honesty and consent. 

It is crucial to prioritize self-awareness and communication to determine what will bring the most satisfaction and happiness in your relationships.

10. Secretive Or Deceptive Behavior

Some signs that monogamy has become a problem in a relationship include secretive or deceptive behavior. Such as lying about where they are going or who they are with, constantly checking and deleting text messages or emails, making excuses for their behavior, and having a separate bank account or credit card to hide financial evidence of extramarital relationships. 

In addition, there may be a lack of communication and trust in the relationship and resentment and jealousy from one or both partners.

It is crucial to have open and honest discussions about monogamy and non-monogamous behaviors to maintain a healthy and fulfilling relationship. 

If these problems persist, seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor may be beneficial. However, it is also essential to consider and respect each partner's boundaries and negotiate mutually agreed-upon agreements for non-monogamous practices. 

It is crucial to have open communication and honesty in a relationship and to set clear boundaries and expectations regarding monogamy. 

It is also essential to address any issues that may arise and seek help if necessary. Remember, a healthy and fulfilling relationship is founded on trust, respect, and communication.

Monogamy Vs Nonmonogamy

Monogamy, the practice of having only one sexual and romantic partner at a time, is commonly accepted as the social norm in many cultures. 

On the other hand, nonmonogamy refers to any arrangement in which individuals simultaneously have more than one sexual or romantic partner. 

This can take various forms, such as polyamory (having multiple committed romantic relationships), swinging (engaging in sexual activities with other individuals or couples as a recreational activity), and open relationships (having one primary partner but also pursuing casual sexual or romantic experiences with others).

Nonmonogamy is often seen as taboo and unconventional, but it can be a good and fulfilling choice for those who practice it. 

Some individuals in non-monogamous relationships argue that having multiple partners allows them to experience a more excellent range of emotional and sexual fulfillment while avoiding the potential pitfalls of monogamy, such as jealousy and possessiveness. 

However, it is essential to note that nonmonogamy can still involve challenges and difficulties, particularly regarding communication and negotiation with all involved partners.

Both monogamy and nonmonogamy can be healthy and prosperous ways to approach relationships as long as all individuals involved consent and communicate openly and honestly about their boundaries and needs. 

Individuals should choose the relationship structure that best fits their values and desires.

Different Types Of Non-monogamous Relationships

Non monogamous relationships between friends

There are various non-monogamous relationships, such as polyamory, swinging, and open relationships.

Polyamory involves having intimate, loving relationships with multiple partners simultaneously. All parties involved are aware of and consent to this type of arrangement.

Swinging involves swapping partners for sexual activities, often in a social setting with other couples.

Open relationships involve being open to having sexual experiences with other people outside of the primary relationship while still maintaining the primary partnership.

It is important to note that all types of non-monogamous relationships require clear communication and boundaries between all parties involved. Consent and respect for all partners are crucial in successful non-monogamous relationships. 

It is also important to remember that nonmonogamy is only for some, and there are various ways to have successful, fulfilling relationships. Each person and partnership should discuss and decide what works best for them.

Is Monogamy Better For Relationships?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether monogamy is better for relationships. 

Some people, including those in polyamorous or open relationships, may argue that practicing non-monogamy allows for more freedom and communication within their partnerships. 

Others may assert that monogamy provides security and commitment in their relationships.

Both should decide to practice monogamy or non-monogamy based on the individual needs and values of each partner in a relationship. 

It is crucial for partners to have open and honest conversations about their desires and boundaries, as well as continuously communicate and reevaluate their agreements. 

Whatever relationship structure a couple chooses, strong and healthy communication is essential for a successful relationship.

Is Monogamy Better For Society?

One argument in favor of monogamy is that it helps to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. When a person only has one sexual partner, they are less likely to contract an STD and then pass it on to their partner.

In addition, monogamy can help promote stable family structures and decrease infidelity, leading to a happier and healthier relationship for both partners.

On the other hand, some argue that monogamy is a societal construct and not necessarily the best or only option for every individual. Polyamory, or having multiple consensual romantic relationships, can work for some people and provide them with fulfillment in their love lives.

Whether to practice monogamy or not is personal and should be based on what works best for the individuals involved. 

However, society may benefit from encouraging and promoting monogamy as a safer and potentially more stable relationship option.

Is Monogamy The Right Thing For You?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether or not monogamy is the right choice for an individual. Some people may find that monogamy meets their needs and makes them happy in a relationship, while others may feel more fulfilled in a non-monogamous arrangement.

Individuals need to assess their wants and needs in a relationship and communicate those with their partners. It's also important to consider the societal pressures and expectations surrounding monogamy and whether or not they align with personal values.

There are multiple forms of non-monogamy, such as polyamory, open relationships, swinging, and relationship anarchy. These can take various shapes and structures, and individuals must research and self-exploration to determine what might work best for them.

The most crucial aspect of any relationship is communication and consent. Whether choosing monogamy or non-monogamy, it's crucial to have open and honest discussions with partners about boundaries, needs, and expectations. This can help create a healthy and fulfilling relationship for all involved.

It's important to note that there is no shame or judgment in choosing monogamy or non-monogamy. The most important thing is for individuals to make a choice authentic to themselves and their wants and needs. 

As long as all parties involved are honest and consenting, any relationship structure can be healthy and happy.

Why Do People Choose Monogamous Relationships?

There are a variety of reasons why people may choose to engage in monogamous relationships. For some, being committed and loyal to one partner aligns with their values and beliefs. Others may find that monogamy provides stability and security in a relationship.

Some individuals may feel emotionally or sexually fulfilled by having only one partner and may not be interested in pursuing multiple relationships simultaneously.

Engaging in monogamous relationships can help to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, as there is less risk of being exposed to these illnesses through one sexual partner.

The decision to engage in a monogamous relationship is a personal one that varies from person to person. Some may find it very fulfilling, while others may not feel the same and prefer non-monogamous relationships.

Individuals must assess their needs and desires before committing to a relationship structure. 

As long as both partners are happy and consenting, any relationship can be successful.

Signs Monogamy Might Not Be For You:

Monogamy is often viewed as a sign of commitment. But, there are times when monogamy is not the right decision. In fact, there are many benefits to being a non-monogamous person.

1. Difficulty Maintaining Fidelity

Monogamy might not be the best fit for you if you constantly struggle with the temptation to cheat or stray from your committed relationship.

2. Lack Of Sexual Satisfaction

Monogamy often limits a person's sexual experiences and can lead to boredom in the bedroom. If you feel perpetually unsatisfied sexually, or you are in a sexless marriage, it could signify that monogamy isn't meeting your needs.

3. Difficulty Communicating Desires

Monogamy requires clear and constant communication about each partner's needs and boundaries. If you find it challenging to communicate your desires or negotiate mutually fulfilling agreements, non-monogamy could offer a better fit.

4. Feeling Confined Or Restricted

Monogamy can often make people feel trapped or limited in their choices. If you constantly feel stifled or resentful of the boundaries in your relationship, it may be worth exploring other relationship structures.

5. Compersion Is Absent:

Compersion is the joy and happiness in seeing a partner fulfill their desires with someone else. If this feeling is absent in your relationship, it could signify that monogamy isn't allowing you to embrace and support your partner's needs fully.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to relationships, and what works for some may not work for others. Therefore, it's important to regularly reassess and communicate what is and isn't working for you to create a fulfilling and sustainable partnership. 

If monogamy no longer serves your needs, don't be afraid to explore other options and find what works best for you and your partner.

How To Talk About Monogamy With Your Partner

Married couple talking about monogamy relationships

A conversation about monogamy with your partner can be difficult and may bring up feelings of insecurity or discomfort. However, it is vital to have open and honest communication to maintain a healthy relationship.

First, ensure that you and your partner are calm and comfortable before discussing. This will allow for more open communication and understanding.

Before starting the conversation with your partner, you must assess your feelings and boundaries regarding monogamy. For example, are you comfortable with being in a monogamous relationship? Do you have any concerns or fears about it? Please write your thoughts beforehand to organize them better and communicate them.

When talking with your partner, use "I" statements and avoid accusing or blaming language. Instead of saying, "you always flirt with other people and make me feel insecure," try saying something like, "I feel uncomfortable when you flirt with other people, and it makes me question the monogamy in our relationship." 

Be prepared for your partner to have their feelings and boundaries regarding monogamy. It is essential to listen to and respect their perspective, even if it may differ from yours. Discuss any potential compromises or solutions that would make you feel comfortable and secure in the relationship.

Overall, having a conversation about monogamy with your partner may be uncomfortable or complicated, but it is important to maintain a healthy and honest relationship. You can successfully discuss monogamy by assessing your feelings, communicating clearly, and respecting each other's boundaries.


Monogamy is one of many relationship options which may only work for some. Therefore, it is important to regularly reassess and communicate your needs to create a fulfilling and sustainable partnership.

If monogamy no longer serves you, don't be afraid to explore other options and find what works best for you and your partner. And remember to have open and honest communication with your partner about monogamy to maintain a healthy relationship.

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