Monogamy refers to the practice of having a sexual, or romantic, relationship with one partner at a time. It is one of the most well known and highly valued relationship structures in our society. 

But have you ever wondered why?

A relationship structure is the framework under which our social interactions, specifically romantic or sexual interactions, take place. Even though many people assume that these frameworks are static, they do not have to be. In fact all relationships structures can be easily adapted to fit your personal circumstances. Think of them more as guidelines rather than rules! 

Monogamy is just one of many different relationship structures, all of which are equally valid. However, many people wrongly believe that monogamy is somehow better or more important than other relationship structures. 

From a young age we are taught that in order to be happy, successful, and fulfilled in life we need to find a partner. Countless movies, tv shows, books, and other popular media forms try to convince us that we will never be ‘whole’ until we find a partner and that monogamous relationships in particular will make us happy. A sentiment which is then reinforced by constant exposure to examples of unrealistically happy monogamous relationships in the media

In contrast, non-monogamous relationships are rarely presented to us in the media and when they are they are often framed in a negative light. This has led many people to believe that monogamy is the only relationship structure out there or that it is the only healthy relationship structure, neither of which are true!

The constant societal pressure to find a partner so that we can be happy and whole is referred to as compulsory monogamy and it is deeply ingrained in our society. However, despite what compulsory monogamy would have you believe there are actually many different types of relationship structures out there, all of which are equally valid. These include but are not limited to:

  • Being single
  • Hookups
  • Casual dating
  • Swinging
  • Polyamory (in all it’s different forms)
  • And much much more!

Finally, the most important thing to remember is that no matter how you choose to live your life, you don’t have to engage in any particular types of relationships to be happy or whole. You are already whole as you are! 

By Kate Moran