What is a monogamous relationship?

You probably already have a picture in your head when you think about a monogamous relationship. However, let's dive deeper into the topic of monogamy. In this article, we'll explore the meaning, benefits and challenges of monogamous relationships.

Dating Expert Janet Smith October 3, 2022 • 7 minutes read
On this page

When it comes to relationships, everyone has different preferences. Some people prefer to be in monogamous relationships, while others prefer to date around. There isn’t necessarily one right way to do things - it’s all about what works for you and your partner.

Defining monogamy

Monogamy is a type of relationship where you and your partner agree to be sexually and emotionally exclusive with each other. In monogamous relationships, you agree to not have any sexual or romantic relationships with anyone else. That means you are in a relationship with only one person at a time.

The evolution of monogamy

Monogamy is a relatively new concept when you consider the history of humanity. It’s only been around for about 10,000 years.

Up until that point, humans had evolved to be polygamous - which means that they (mostly men) could have multiple sexual and romantic partners simultaneously. However, there were several factors that led to the rise of monogamy.

For one, the Agricultural Revolution made it possible for people to stay in one place and build relationships with those around them. Prior to that, humans were constantly on the move, which made it difficult to form long-term relationships.

Another factor was the rise of Christianity. The Bible teaches that monogamy is the only acceptable way to live, and this helped to popularize the concept.

Today, monogamy is the most common type of relationship in the Western world. However, it’s not the only option. There are many different types of relationships, and it’s important to find one that works for you and your partner.

The benefits of monogamous relationships

Let’s start by looking at the bright side of monogamous relationships. Here are four reasons why monogamy might be good for you.

1. Monogamous relationships provide a sense of security and comfort

When you’re in a monogamous relationship, you know that you and your partner are the only ones who are allowed to be intimate with each other. This can provide a sense of security and comfort, knowing that you’re the only one your partner is committed to. Especially if you’re a rather jealous person, this can be a huge relief.

2. Monogamous relationships have a higher level of commitment.

Because of the emotional exclusivity and sexual exclusivity that come with monogamy, there is usually a higher level of commitment in a monogamous relationship. This can lead to a stronger bond between partners and can make the relationship more stable.

3. Monogamy can strengthen emotional bonds between partners.

A monogamous relationship is a commitment to each other. This can lead to a stronger emotional bond between partners, as they are not only committed to each other physically but emotionally as well.

4. You don’t have to worry about being cheated on.

Well, this is actually not completely true. You can still be cheated on in a monogamous relationship. However, if you’re in a happy and healthy relationship, you can expect that your partner won’t be seeing anyone else besides you.

The challenges of monogamous relationships

Of course, there are also challenges that come with being in a monogamous relationship. There are many expectations for monogamy that, if not met, can lead to unhappiness in the relationship. Here’s a list of some of the challenges that come with monogamy:

1. Monogamy can be difficult to maintain.

Monogamous relationships require a lot of work and commitment. Since monogamy requires both partners to be completely faithful to each other, it can be difficult to stick to. There are always temptations and opportunities for cheating, and it can be tough to resist them.

2. It can be difficult to maintain a balance between intimacy and independence.

In order to have a healthy, monogamous relationship, both partners need to feel close and intimate with each other. However, they also need to maintain their own sense of independence and individuality. This can be difficult to achieve, and it often requires a lot of negotiation and compromise.

3. It can be difficult to maintain a sense of excitement and novelty.

As time goes on, it can be easy for the spark to fade in a monogamous relationship. Things that once seemed exciting and new can start to feel stale and mundane. This can be a real challenge, especially if you’re not sure how to reignite the spark.

4. Jealousy can be a problem.

Jealousy can be a real issue in monogamous relationships, especially if one or both partners are prone to feeling insecure or possessive. Jealousy can cause a lot of strife and conflict in a relationship, and it can be tough to overcome.

Alternatives to monogamy

Ethical non-monogamy is an umbrella term for any relationship style that falls outside of traditional monogamy. There are many different types of ethical non-monogamous relationships, but they all have one thing in common: They are based on the principle of consent.

That means that everyone involved in an ethical non-monogamous relationship agrees to the arrangement and has a voice in how the relationship is structured. It also means that everyone involved is respectful of each other’s boundaries and limits.

There are many reasons why people might choose to explore ethical non-monogamy. Some couples may find that traditional monogamy doesn’t work for them, while others may simply want to experiment with different relationship styles.

There are many great non-monogamous relationships out there, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most common ones are listed below.

1. Open relationships (including open marriages)

In an open relationship, both partners agree to have relationships with other people. This type of relationship can be great for couples who want more adventure.

2. Polyamory

Polyamory is when a person has multiple romantic relationships at the same time. This type of relationship can be great for people who want to love more than one person.

There are many subtypes of polyamory. For example, a hierarchical polyamory relationship is when one person is the primary partner while the other partners are secondary. This type of relationship can be great for people who want to feel like they are in a committed relationship but also want some freedom.

The opposite of hierarchical polyamory is solo polyamory, which is when a person has multiple partners and doesn’t have a primary partner.

3. Monogamish

Monogamish is a term that was coined by sex columnist Dan Savage to describe relationships that are mostly monogamous but have some elements of polygamy. This type of relationship can be great for couples who want the security and familiarity of monogamy but also want to be able to explore their sexual desires.

There are many other types of non-monogamous relationships out there, so do some research and find the one that’s right for you!

So, what do you want for your life and relationship? Monogamy or non-monogamy? If monogamy is what you truly desire, then go for it! But if you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to explore different options. The most important thing is that you make a decision that feels right for YOU.

The best relationship books to help you survive and thrive

Whether single or in a relationship, it can be tough to navigate the waters of love. These books offer advice and guidance from experts and real-life couples alike, giving you the tools you need to make your relationship work. These books will surely provide some valuable insights if you are looking for a way to spice up your love life or simply learn how to better communicate with your partner.

  1. Love: The Psychology of Attraction: A Practical Guide to Successful Dating and a Happy Relationship
  2. Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age
  3. The Power of Four Bases for Relationships: Can You Hit a Home Run in a Relationship?
  4. Communication and Relationship: A Guide to Deeper Connection, Trust and Intimacy to Improve Communication and Strengthen Your Bond as a Couple
  5. Couple's Bucket List: 101 Fun, Engaging Dating Ideas
Share this article: Facebook Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter
Share this article:
Dating Expert

Janet Smith

Janet Smith is a freelance writer who writes about psychology, relationships, and dating. She has always been interested in understanding the human brain and how it affects our …

Read full bio

More articles you might like

People who are reading “What is a monogamous relationship?”, also reading these articles:

Browse all articles