Searching for Monogamy

Cassandra Hesse, LCSW-S, CST on Dec 10, 2022 in Relationship and Family

We grow up in a world wrapped around the idea of monogamy. It is publicized through social media, television, movies, magazines, religion, and legally enforced by government through marriage. We are born into families who are either committed with each other or disconnected due to multiple reasons, but the prime reason broadcasted through the media is infidelity. The divorce rate in the United States is declining (thanks to millennials waiting longer for marriage), but it is still high at around 35%. One of the top three reasons for divorce is infidelity — with lack of communication not far behind.

We fall in love with people we grow distant from or who may eventually commit to another person. As Hot Tub Time Machine puts it, the love of our life becomes our Great White Buffalo — the one who got away, our first love.

We experience heartbreak when our expectations of another person are not met and grow resentful because we expected change that did not occur. As we grow older and learn more about ourselves and relationships, we begin to understand that we cannot change people and we cannot place expectations on others for what we envisioned the relationship would or should be.

What If…

...we could have avoided heartbreak and misunderstandings of expectations to begin with? What if instead of society telling us that monogamy is the norm, society taught us that love looks differently for everyone and you’re capable of loving more than one person? Do you think you may have navigated your relationships with others differently if you knew that monogamy and polyamory (consensual non-monogamy) could both be healthy relationship lifestyles? What if people who prefer polyamory lifestyles were not shamed in public and were able to openly express and communicate their desires freely when meeting new potential partners?

What Is Polyamory?

Dr. Elisabeth Sheff defines polyamory in her book When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous as “one form of consensual non-monogamy… polyamory emphasizes emotional connection between or among more than two romantic partners who know about (and might even like) each other.” 

People choose polyamory lifestyles for different reasons, such as wanting the ability to build meaningful connections with multiple people and/or feeling trapped and controlled in monogamous relationships. There’s a lot of judgement towards people who prefer polyamory due to the assumption that they are immature and not ready to settle down. On the contrary, people involved in these relationships thrive off of communication, honesty, and self-growth, which is not easy for everyone.

What if the world began open conversations around different relationship lifestyles? What if the world began to understand individuals and being honest with themselves and those they care about?

This may be the first step towards minimizing expectations around monogamy, which can lead to increased communication and honesty… while decreasing heartbreak and resentment. This may be your first step towards understanding your preferred lifestyle.

Have a sex-positive day.

Cassandra Hesse is a Counselor in Austin, TX.

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