Personal comments below from Dr. Paula Paz Matute, a Honduran living in Germany. She raises a hugely important question but can give only opinions as an answer.
I am inclined to think that opinions are all we can aspire to in the matter. "Each to his own", as the saying goes. It does appear that some people are happily monogamous but many are clearly not. No all-inclusive generalizations are possible.
A common solution to the conundrum is one that is very often practiced: Serial monogamy. That means having a series of relationships but remaining "faithful" during each relationship.
I am in that category. I have been married 4 times so it is clear that marriage is my ideal state. And I can and do remain "faithful" during a relationship. My longest marriage was for 10 years and my longest unmarried relationship was 14 years.
Yet in the end the women walk out on me. Though sometimes they do not walk far but remain friends. But after each walkout I have ended up having lots of involvements with lots of fine women. I have enjoyed it all greatly. I can recommend serial monogamy.
I would still like to be married but as I am now in my 80th year, I think I have missed that boat. A considerable compensation is that my present girlfriend is both pretty and smart.
A few months ago, I was having lunch with my colleagues , and the subject came up of how nowadays — at least in Germany — many couples are “opening up the relationship” in which they have been monogamous for years. I was amazed when one of my colleagues said in the most natural way that;
monogamy does not exist, that although nobody accepts it, men and women are primarily unfaithful in a relationship.
My traditional romantic Latin heart found this sad. And it is not that I have not seen infidelities in my close circles or that I am so naive to think that it does not happen. In that sense I could say that I consider myself pragmatic.
A relationship is wrong, we are no longer happy, we feel attracted to other people it is time to communicate it to our partner -maybe not the attraction to other people- but to reflect on ourselves and analyze what is happening with us and our relationship.
The first time I confronted my prejudices on this topic was when a friend commented in our reading circle that she and her boyfriend of nine years had decided to open their relationship.
I had the wrong and overgeneralized idea of people who chose to have an open relationship.
So I thought an open relationship was linked to instability. “It is just another excuse for men to sleep with as many women as they want. It is just another meaningless trend that did not value being romantic”.
But this person standing in front of me, telling me that she and her boyfriend had made such a decision was completely the opposite of the image that my prejudices on this subject had built up.
She is a romantic, hardcore feminist and human rights advocate who loves staying at home and cooking. ( I am not saying that this is the ideal persona or better than anyone else) I just want to emphasize how important it is not to judge others people’s ways of living.
So my prejudice at that moment broke into a thousand pieces, and thanks to this experience I internalized the idea that
monogamy should not be the only option in a relationship.
But don’t get me wrong, at this moment, my Latin and romantic heart could not deal with an open relationship.
I can say, it could not emotionally work for myself.
To think that my husband is kissing another woman, touching another woman, or just flirting with another woman would eat me up with jealousy, and I can not even see it as as an option in our relationship now.
But, of course, no one is saved, and he could be with another person ,without my knowledge at some point in life.
But the terms of the relationship must be established.
So, being with someone else would be, at the moment, for me, a betrayal because the rules of the relationship are broken.
We see these almost every day on the internet. Adam Levine sent “flirty” messages to a lot of models. Justin Bieber always betrayed -my idol- Selena Gomez (I’m a big fan of her, I love her music, and I think she’s the best), Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt, and Angelina, we get the idea The list is endless.
So is it then time for us to accept that monogamous relationships are the problem? Could it be that monogamy is not natural for humans?
Could it be that instead of being like penguins that are monogamous animals, we are more like queen bees and rabbits that can have as many partners as they want at the same time?
Some might ask; What about increasing the probability of a sexually transmitted disease by having multiple partners? But I think a lot of people who open their relationship, as in the case of my friend, is not because they want to have more sex or sleep with different men. For her, it was instead the flirtation, the curiosity of the initial stage.
According to what she told us, she was deeply in love with her boyfriend; they had a great relationship, they were both very sure of what they felt for each other, and that allowed them to try new things with all the confidence in the relationship.
As we know, many cultures do not practice monogamy, and everyone is so calm and happy, or at least that is what it seems.
Could it be then that we are approaching an epoch in time when we have to rethink the concept of monogamy?
Could it be then that it is already obsolete? Could it then be time to be open to changes in human relationships? Or is it just a fashionable concept that many want to follow without internalizing its consequences?
Maybe it is time to sit down and evaluate our prejudices in this regard.
Then, should people who are consider as “unfaithful” better be in a polygamous relationship? Would these “unfaithful” people also agree that their partner can do the same?
At the end everything depends on the terms or agreements we have in our relationship. If a person feels comfortable and is happy in polygamy, then excellent. Inner peace and how we are Happy is not the same for everyone.
On the other hand, for some people, the mere thought of their partner being intimate with another person seems the most terrible thing and the greatest betrayal. These emotions are also valid.
Monogamy or open relationships, the most important, should be mutual agreement and what we need and want in a relationship.
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