Monogamy has lost its luster for millennials. The reasons why are numerous. Personally, I’ve heard everything from “one person can’t satisfy your every need and desire” to “monogamous relationships are built on jealousy.” I’ve even heard people say things like “monogamy is a product of capitalism.”
Certainly, Willow Smith agrees with monogamy’s detractors. The 17-year-old singer discussed relationships and “hook up” culture with her mother Jada Pinkett Smith, during a Red Table Talk this weekend.
“That feeling of ‘you’re my one and my only, there’s no else,’ for me, that would not work,” said Willow of monogamous relationships.
While some of the arguments against monogamy are somewhat valid, it’s important to look at the many benefits of leaning on one person. Sure, you won’t absolutely adore every single aspect of a person, but those character traits (er, flaws?) are what defines them—they’re also what defines your unique and deeply personal relationship together.
Regarding jealousy: it’s not an emotion that is exclusive to monogamous relationships. Jealousy comes up in all types of relationships, and is more a personal problem, rather than a byproduct of dating only one individual. Jealousy should never be mistaken for love in any situation.
There is certainly capital gain to be had from monogamous relationships. You can share the cost of living expenses, tabs, taxis. Also, case in point, marriage. The number of tax benefits that exist for married couples are plenty—so, to some degree, yes, monogamy is a bedfellow of capitalism.
But, for as many arguments that exist against monogamy, there are the same amount, if not more to be made against polyamorous or “open” relationships. I would never tell anyone how to date or live their love life, but bare with me:
Relationship dynamics could become sort of confusing, and taxing
In a polyamorous relationship for example, who’s really dating whom? Or is everyone dating each other? In open relationships, it’s common for each person to be technically committed to one another, but both parties can “hook up” with others depending on the agreement.
Most people I’ve talked to say this is just to “keep the door open,” but that they don’t typically jump on the opportunity. The intention of being open and transparent with one another seems great, but why restrict yourself by dating that person if you already know that you want to see other people? There seems to be a lot of room for feelings to get hurt if both parties on not on the same exact page.
Conflict resolution seems tricky…
As one of my colleagues brought up, a two against one situation could very easily arise in a polyamorous relationship. And then what are you supposed to do? Just grin and bear it? That sounds like a recipe for bad communication and, in the long run, resentment. Maybe there’s a designated tie breaker. There should be.
Hopefully you’re a heavy sleeper
Sleeping with one person is hard enough. That’s why so many married couples sleep in separate bed. Can you imagine actually having to share a bed with multiple people? That sounds like hell on Earth.
The cuddling might be cute, until you’re actually tired and just want to sprawl out.