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The Future Of Marriage - Does It Include Monogamy?

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Article by Christopher Swane

Christopher Swane Counselling Psychotherapy Profile | Email | Website
Christopher Swane Counselling Psychotherapy I am a relationship and couples counsellor based in Sydney for over 5 years with a further 5 years in Europe. I also assist clients with grief and loss counselling. Psychotherapy/counselling for men single men or part of relationship counselling and counselling for anxiety and depression. 254 Henderson Road
Australia 2015
0405 606 330


The Western concept of marriage has changed over the years. In the past couples may have married for economic, procreative or dynastic reasons but all that has changed. Couples no longer need to marry for economic reasons, or for religious reasons, there’s no need to marry to have sex or even produce and raise children. But at the core of all marriages or relationships, is a personal concept of monogamy which is shared and embraced by both people.


But what is monogamy and does it still have the same meaning for couples in relationships today? Traditionally monogamy has been interpreted as a couple who remain sexually and emotionally exclusive for the life of their relationship. A couple’s principle relationship up holds traditional values of exclusivity with the sharing of intimacy and trust. Although monogamy is considered an important aspect of all relationships a staggering 55 percent of married women and 65 percent of married men report being unfaithful during their marriage.


Another interesting statistic is that 35 to 55 percent of people who acknowledge their dalliance state that they were happily married at the time of the infidelity. They felt that they had a rewarding relationship and family life with a satisfying to good sexual relationship with their partner. So the common belief that an affair indicates something wrong with the relationship may not be true. There may be many other reasons people have affairs or sexual encounters.


There appears to be a new definition of monogamy by couples. They accept that finding a new relationship after the disclosure of an affair may not bring them the happiness they seek. Nor may it bring them any closer to being in a trusting relationship where honesty is as important as intimacy. Couples are looking to find their own definition of monogamy which may include traditional values or may include very different values.


Research indicates that couples now acknowledge that some form of infidelity outside of their principle relationship may occur during their relationship. And the affair or sexual encounter does not need to be the death knell of their relationship. Couples are now beginning to discuss the boundaries of “modern monogamy” and what is acceptable to the individual prior to beginning their relationship. In many cases these are not fixed ideas or values but they may evolve as the relationship progresses.  For example a couple may remain monogamous for the early years of their relationship but progress towards a modern monogamy later in their relationship.


So what is modern monogamy? It can be described as two people who share a belief in the value and importance of their principle relationship and where there is emotional exclusivity while all other areas are open to discussion and negotiation. Negotiation may include; only engaging in sex once with a third party or only engaging in sex while traveling away from home. It may be only meeting up with other couples or meeting with a third party together.


Whatever the boundaries in a relationship - it fundamentally comes down to the level of trust and honesty. Both people must feel secure in their relationship and trust their partner. Both people must agree to the arrangement and not feel coerced in to satisfying their partner to keep them happy or committed to the relationship.


Concepts of monogamy are a core value in a couple’s relationship. If you are not on the same page with your partner it will undoubtedly lead to conflict in the future. Do you and your partner share the same values and belief in monogamy? Are you and your partner being totally honest with yourself and each other about your values and belief in monogamy?


It’s worth considering if your partner has a history of flirting or infidelity prior to becoming a couple then probably they will not change after you get together. If you desire to have sex with other people prior to becoming a couple then marriage will probably not change your feelings. Discussing how you feel with your partner may help them understand and accept your feelings and behaviour. Becoming secretive with your feelings will probably only lead to developing a separate life. The greater degree of secrecy in a couple’s relationship, the greater risk of infidelity.


12 Jan 2015

Article/Information supplied by Christopher Swane

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.