What is Monogamy?

An interesting question was posed to me recently. What is monogamy? When I heard this question I knew what my answer would be, but within only a few moments I thought about my friends. More specifically how many of their relationships would not fit within my definition of monogamy but they consider it monogamy. Friends who have set boundaries much wider than mine, who flirt, maybe even kiss people other than their partners but because of the “rules” set up in their relationships no one is offended or cares. It isn’t considered cheating when my friend Faye flirts with a guy at a bar to get a drink, because she specifically asked her boyfriend if he minded and he told her to go for it. My sister has a flirty personality and her husband understands that. He doesn’t mind if she flirts with a guy while she is out at the bar, because he knows it won’t go farther than that.

Even though I know these relationships are still monogamous I would never like the idea of my partner being flirty with someone, even if it never went further. I don’t feel comfortable taking drinks from guys at the club, granted I didn’t before being in a relationship, though the feeling of unease is much worse now. I do trust my partner to be faithful but I want them to flirt with me, I don’t want that to go to someone else.

As I heard the responses of the other women with us, I also realized that a lot of people think of monogamy as black and white; and what they considered the right way (maybe even the only way) was their way. So I ask, is monogamy one thing, or anything? Can two people who pledge to live their lives as a loving couple with no one else, be called monogamous if they also invite others to join them in group sex. Are the couples who have one partner watch as the other has sex, not monogamous to each-other in some since? Especially if nothing but that one sexual experience comes from the encounter. I believe that if a couple decides to be romantically monogamous they still are, even if society views their sex lives as being something else. Though others may think differently, I find that the romantic side to monogamy is the part that is most important to the definition.

Rayner

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