Monogamy is tough. It is a test of the soul and our desires. It is also not natural. It’s a cultural and religious construct to create more stable family structures. ￼
But why has monogamy been adopted by humans with a conviction that we display pretty little for other things? Here are my opinions and reflections on the practice of monogamy.
I think monogamy usually provides safety. It is a safe space. It’s a person who doesn’t share themselves on that level with anyone else. It gives a sense of ownership and a nuanced savoring of this ownership. But do all people feel happy owning their person? No. It would be naive to think that in a monogamous relationship both parties are monogamous because they want to. Not all people are born with such commitment and they may have tons of emotionally uninvolved moments on the side. It’s cruel to expect someone to follow monogamy in the body, mind and soul.
Secondly monogamy is considered safe usually purely because of the monogamous sex. That creates the safety. That reduces the risk of sexually transmitted illnesses. That makes it attractive and that also makes it somewhat disconnected from the soul. Some people who have open relationships argue that their camaraderie and interpersonal dynamic with their significant other is a lot better since they’ve been having sex with other people and have removed the physical aspect of it from an emotional and spiritual relationship. Recently I heard a woman say “Sex is sex. Fun is fun. Love is love. Sometimes you find all of them with the same person. Sometimes in three different people”. I was looking for a new mantra and this is it now.
Monogamy is also unnatural if you critically analyze it from an evolutionary standpoint. We don’t have the same friends over the years. We don’t have the same mentors, the same influences or the same favorite shows all the time. We are always growing out of relationships. But there is so much taboo around growing out of marital relationships or long-term domestic partnerships. The suspicion is that long-term relationships can’t thrive without monogamy. That’s probably true, I don’t know.
So because monogamy is somewhat unnatural to me, I observe it as a Muslim but I understand why people deviate from it. I understand that it’s more of a social and religious construct and therefore people are bound to it if they claim any binding to their religion and culture at all. Nonconsensual monogamy, also informally called cheating, isn’t something I condone but is something I understand on a case by case basis. Consensual monogamy or open relationships is something I also understand on a case by case basis.