Love, Sex & Relationships – Monogamy is Unnatural & Responsible Non-Monogamy Can Save a Relationship


It’s difficult for many of us to see how responsible

non-monogamy can save a relationship; fears and

misconceptions about this emotionally touchy subject

can interfere with understanding how it can be beneficial.

Although non-monogamy is not for everyone and is not

always appropriate, below is a comparison of monogamy

and responsible non-monogamy. Note: cheating, lying,

unsafe sex, and promiscuity are not part of responsible

non-monogamy. Complete and radical honesty with your

partner is, and that seems to be what’s most threatening

and challenging to many of us.

With the custom of monogamy, you own each other, sort of

like how you own property. Your partner is yours and if they

even look at someone else the wrong way anger and jealousy

are common.

With responsible non-monogamy, a couple accepts that

owning the rights to each other isn’t love, but possessiveness.

What about the possibility of one of them falling in love with

someone else and abandoning the other? This can happen in

any relationship because you don’t need to sleep with someone

to fall in love with them. Furthermore, it seems that when two

people are destined to meet and fall in love they will,

regardless of whether or not they are single or involved.

With the custom of a traditional commitment and monogamy,

falling in love with someone means that fantasies (such as

“together forever” and “you are mine for the rest of my life”

and “grow old together”) become expectations, and when

they aren’t met it results in disappointment, heartache, anger,

and even divorce.

A responsibly non-monogamous couple tends to accept their

relationship as it is rather than how they want it to be or how

it’s “supposed to be.” They realize that if their relationship

fades or their partner falls in love with someone else, that’s

the way it was likely destined to be. If your relationship ends,

wouldn’t you rather accept that there is a more appropriate

match out there instead of pretending that your existing

connection is “the one” forever?

With the custom of monogamy, when someone cheats it is

kept secret. Because monogamy and honesty are often

assumed in relationships, both the cheater and the person

being cheated on are at risk for contracting STDs. According

to statistics, over 50% of men and women in “committed”

relationships cheat on their partners. Is assumed monogamy

realistic or safe?

With responsible non-monogamy, because there are no sexual

secrets, a couple is more likely to discuss and practice safe sex.

With the custom of monogamy, based on the above statistics,

the illusion of monogamy is much more important to many

people than honesty.

Responsibly non-monogamous couples, on the other hand,

place more value on radical honesty because truthfulness

brings them closer together. In light of this, responsible

non-monogamy could potentially reduce the divorce rate

and introduce a deeper level of honesty in relationships.

With the custom of monogamy, it’s common to blame

an ex-partner and their affair for the reason why the

relationship didn’t last. It’s interesting to note that the

policy of strict monogamy is never blamed in these

situations, yet many who cheat appear better suited for

non-monogamy. Truth be told, some people (both men

and women) feel like caged animals in long-term

monogamous relationships.

With the custom of monogamy, the topic of exclusive

intimacy often is not discussed, but is usually expected.

Is this always realistic or even reasonable, especially when

you know the person has strayed in previous relationships

or sense he or she isn’t the kind of person who would be

happy being sexually exclusive with one person for the rest

of his or her life?

That brings us to related topics: Can we honestly expect

sexual passion to last decades in all relationships? Also,

what happens if one partner loses interest in sex or if one

reveals, years later, that he or she really doesn’t like sex and

wants to avoid it? Masturbation is not a good long-term

substitute for sexual intimacy.

With the custom of monogamy, you are supposed to be

attracted to your partner and only your partner. If you have

desires for or fantasies about someone else, even if you don’t

act on them, they are kept secret. This form of dishonesty can

drive a wedge between couples.

With responsible non-monogamy, the couple acknowledges

that we are all human and an attraction to someone else,

especially during a long-term monogamous relationship, is


A responsibly non-monogamous couple puts their

commitment to each other and their relationship first so

an attraction to someone else is less of a threat. It is natural

to feel insecure or jealous if your partner is attracted to

someone else, and it’s going to happen whether you’re

monogamous or not, but when a couple is open and honest

with each other about the subject it’s a lot less likely to

cause a problem.

What about children, you ask? Some responsibly non-

monogamous and progressive couples create a “commitment

contract,” where financial arrangements and planning

covering possible scenarios (together for 5 years, 10 years,

20 years, etc.) are agreed upon prior to marriage and before

children are conceived. A new concept? Hardly. Ancient

Egyptians had 5 and 10 year marriage contracts. If mutually

agreed upon, they would renew. Although it’s not easy to

address the subject like you would a business matter, it’s

much tougher to do so later in divorce court. If two people

are unwilling to confront or unable to agree on these issues

before marriage it’s a red flag for their longevity as a couple.

With the custom of monogamy, sex is love, and if your

partner has sex with someone else, they’ve betrayed you

emotionally and it must mean they don’t love you anymore.

Responsibly non-monogamous couples realize that while

love can be expressed through sex, sex in itself with a

secondary partner (if okay with all involved–including the

primary partner) does not have to diminish the love already

established with the primary partner, nor does it put the

primary relationship at risk, if the primary connection is

solid. Something real cannot be threatened. This idea is

similar to having one best friend and many good friends;

you don’t expect your best friend to fulfill everything for

you that many friends do.

With the custom of monogamy, often it’s “No cheating or


Responsibly non-monogamous couples realize that giving

such an ultimatum is about as effective as telling your teenager

never to drink alcohol. It’s more effective to discuss the issue

and to have a “no punishment policy” for your kids if they

call you for a ride to avoid driving drunk or to avoid riding

with someone who is drinking and driving. Similarly, such

a policy for responsible non-monogamy will encourage

honesty and can strengthen the commitment.

Lastly and most importantly, if we cheat, even if no one finds

out, negative karma is incurred and we set ourselves up for a

similar situation to “happen to” us in the future. Whatever

action we take will, in time, come back to us, so even though

radical honesty in relationships may be difficult it is often the

best policy. The eyes of truth are always watching us.

Copyright © 2007 Scott Petullo, Stephen Petullo

Source by Scott Petullo

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