Monogamous Relationship: A Complete Guide

All you need to know before making a single person the center of your universe.

Reviewed by Rodolfo ParlatiRodolfo Parlati, Professional Life Coach
By Harini NatarajanHarini Natarajan, Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner  • 

Monogamous relationships demand loyalty and faithfulness and involve sexual bonds with only one person. Over time, some individuals may find these relationships monotonous. As a result, they may feel the urge to bring the spark back into their relationship or take a few risks that endanger their relationships. If you are in that phase of your life, this article is for you. This ready-reckoner acts as a guide to help you navigate this complex situation, understand what it takes to be in such a relationship, and signs that monogamy may be a problem in your relationship. Scroll on!

What Is Monogamy?

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Monogamy is often referred to as a long-term relationship, a marriage, or simply a partnership. Monogamy can be defined as a rule where you only have one sexual and/or emotional partner at a time.

In such a relationship, both partners ’see’ only each other and are generally faithful, loyal, and exclusive towards one another.

Did You Know?
Monogamy comes from the Greek words “monos” meaning “alone” and “gamos” meaning marriage.

To understand the concept of monogamy more clearly, let us summarize the major differences between monogamous and polyamorous relationships.

What Is The Difference Between Monogamy And Polyamory?

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Monogamous Relationships PolyamorousRelationships
It requires exclusivity in a relationship. It entails having more than one sexual or romantic partner. There are two types of polyamory:
  1. Polygyny: When a man has more than one wife
  2. Polyandry: When a woman has more than one husband
Monogamous marriages are widely supported by multiple religions and legally required by the US federal government. Many religions and governments do not legally accept polyamory across the world.
It is considered less risky for sexually transmitted diseases (1). Having multiple sexual partners at the same time can increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
Stylecraze Trivia
Polygyny was banned in countries like China, Japan, India, and Nepal during the 1950s and 1960s.

Let us now look at what you should do if you wish to be in a monogamous relationship.

Top Tips To Explore Monogamy

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If you think you are the monogamous type and wish to actively embrace a monogamous relationship, here are a few tips for you:

  • Communication is key – it’s always important to kindly and respectfully express your feelings and absolutely avoid any form of judgment. This contributes to good health and the improvement of the relationship itself.
  • Talk to them early on in the relationship about what you both will do if one or both partners end up cheating. The end goal is to ensure that you and your partner can set the right expectations about where you see the relationship heading. This helps avoid confusion, regret, and uncertainty.
  • Establish rules for consensual monogamy right at the beginning of your relationship, so that there are no surprises later for either of you.
  • Think long and hard about what your ’ideal partner’ looks like. Then, think about whether you would be willing to share them with others. If the answer is no, monogamy is for you.
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You can create a one phone-free hour either during breakfast or before bed to talk about the day and different topics.

But what if monogamy is not a good idea for your relationship? What are some of the tell-tale traits of partners that exhibit polyamorous behavior? What signs and red flags can you evaluate or reflect upon? Keep reading to know more.

Signs That Monogamy Might Be A Problem In Your Current Relationship

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Certain signs can tell that a monogamous relationship might not be for you and that you and your partner would be happy experimenting with polyamory. Such signs include the following:

  1. You feel strongly about exploring multiple relationships.
  2. You have confessed to being unfaithful.
  3. You seem to harbor a genuine passion for relationships.
  4. You both cannot seem to agree on boundaries and set definitive rules.
  5. You do not mind seeing your partner with someone else, particularly sexually.
  6. You feel trapped, unhappy, or suffocated in the relationship.
  7. You love cultivating new relationships (instead of getting bogged down with the idea of handling multiple relationships) and communication skills, constantly wanting to make them fun, cool, or interesting.
  1. You are an introvert who craves more alone time. This means you would not mind having your partner spend time with others as it takes the pressure off of you. But if you are constantly worried about who your partner might be with and what they must be doing, non-monogamous relationships may not be a good fit for you.
  2. You love sharing everything in general as opposed to being obsessed with your ’share’ of things – your plate of food, your clothes, your time, and so on. The central idea is people in non-monogamous relationships have to readily be okay with sharing their partners as it is the foundation for such relationships.
  3. You do not get insecure or jealous when your partner is out-and-about. In fact, you welcome challenging scenarios and like to push yourself, coming out stronger than ever before.
  4. Even if you are afraid of confronting complex feelings, you are willing to put in the effort to manage them – be it anxiety, jealousy, shame, confusion, or insecurity. It is natural for these emotions to plague non-monogamous relationships in the beginning.
  5. Your foundational idea of a relationship revolves around multiple partners. Often, partners think they want polyamorous relationships not because of the structure of monogamous relationships but because of the underlying issues in the relationship itself. Therefore, you must figure out what you really want in a relationship and get going from there.
  6. If you are attracted to multiple gender identities, you may want to try your hand at non-monogamous relationships, as a traditional monogamous relationship might leave you feeling incomplete.
  7. You genuinely feel the need to be connected with multiple people, live life more spontaneously, and are drawn to the idea of polyamory at its core.
  8. You can engage in feelings of ’compersion’ – the feeling of joy in someone else’s joy – with great ease. This is important as it can help you steer away from feelings of possessiveness or jealousy when your partner is away with someone else.

If you have felt some or all of the signs mentioned above, being in a monogamous relationship can make you feel trapped and lead to issues like breakup, infidelity, separation, or divorce. This is why ensuring that a consistent dialogue happens between both partners is of prime importance.

You might want to dive into a more unconventional type of relationship and start by either:

  • Speaking with each other about currents needs and wants
  • Talking about it in couple’s therapy
  • Exploring polyamory together

We hear of silver screen romances where couples have been happily married for decades. It may make you wonder if a satisfying long-term monogamous relationship is even possible in the real world today. Let us explore this in more detail below.

Is A Monogamous Relationship Realistic In The Modern World?

A monogamous couple holding each other and smiling.

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Yes, monogamy is still a realistic expectation for human beings. But many people are wired to be polyamorous in nature and may not be satisfied in a monogamous setting. A rewarding relationship means something different for all of us, and being committed to one person forever is not everyone’s idea of happiness.

Moreover, people’s needs (and expectations) from the relationship keep changing, and people themselves keep evolving. Sometimes, monogamous couples may want to have a sexual encounter with other people. On the other hand, polyamorous partners may long for a more long-term, committed, and exclusive relationship.

At the end of the day, constant and honest communication is what matters most.

Having a monogamous relationship is certainly possible as long as both you and your partner want it and are willing to put in the effort to make things work. Most importantly, you both should talk about your needs and wants from the relationship honestly and openly.

People are wired in different ways, and what they want from a relationship can differ, too. Both polyamorous and monogamous relationships are perfectly normal. However, crumbling under social pressure and being in more accepted or trendy relationships just for pleasing people cannot be fulfilling for anyone. If you feel different from the norm, take time to self-reflect, and learn more about yourself. Be true to yourself, understand your needs, and be transparent about them with your partner. Be respectful of both yourself and your partner, and you will figure out the best way to move forward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a monogamous relationship so hard?

Monogamy is a social construct and hence may contradict biologically driven sexual urges. Companionship and shared responsibilities may run counter to lust and libido—two important factors behind sexual connections. However, not every individual finds monogamous relationships challenging, as such relationships offer security, exclusivity, safety and bonding as its rewards.

Is monogamy toxic?

No, monogamous relationships in themselves are not toxic or any lesser than non-monogamous relationships. However, as with all forms of relationships, it may turn toxic if healthy boundaries and healthy communication are not maintained.

Key Takeaways

  • In a monogamous relationship, both partners are loyal to and exclusive with one another.
  • It is always best to talk to your partner early on in the relationship if you are monogamous.
  • Also, it is important to self-reflect and understand your own needs before communicating them to your partner.
  • If you would like to explore multiple relationships at the same time, then monogamy may not be for you.

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