"What if we thought of monogamy as a spectrum?"
Zachary Zane, a writer on bi and poly topics, gets another thoughtful piece into the Washington Post or at least its website:
What if we thought of monogamy as a spectrum?
By Zachary Zane
...That’s when I learned that I didn’t have to like men and women equally to be bisexual. I learned that sexuality was a spectrum, and my point on the spectrum wasn’t fixed. My attractions to various genders could evolve. In fact, it’s completely normal, and even somewhat expected that my attractions to all genders change over my lifetime.
In my queer theory class in college, I also learned that gender, too, is on a spectrum. Some of us don’t view ourselves as strictly male or female. We can be both, neither, or somewhere in between, a.k.a. bigender, agender or genderqueer.
This led me to ask the question: Since sexuality and gender aren’t living in a binary anymore, does monogamy have to be?
...YouGov recently conducted a study testing the idea of a monogamy spectrum. YouGov asked respondents questions using a seven-point spectrum (0-6), like the Kinsey scale. A zero on the YouGov scale indicated completely monogamous, whereas a six on the scale indicated completely non-monogamous. The researchers asked participants about their ideal relationship style, and their current relationship style.
Interestingly, only 51 percent of people under 30 reported that their ideal relationship would be completely monogamous, compared with 58 percent ages 30 to 44, 63 percent of individuals 45 to 64, and 70 percent of individuals 65 and older.
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The study revealed two important findings. First, millennials like myself are less interested in monogamy than our elders are. Second, millennials don’t view monogamy as all or nothing. ... And even though we were brought up in a society that aggressively pushed a monogamous agenda — teaching us that our goal in life is to find our One True Love — we’ve begun to reject this notion.
...Many millennials also have embraced the true meaning of feminism, and neither men nor women want to be limited by traditional gender roles. Monogamy often perpetuates traditional gender roles, whereas a non-monogamous relationship more often doesn’t have the same prescribed script as monogamy. This allows for individuals in non-monogamous relationships to create the roles for themselves as they see fit.
...Partners will have to discuss and decide together. ...
This is what poly activists all along have been trying to insert into mainstream relationship culture. Relationship choice. Instead of assuming that monogamy "goes without saying" as we were raised to assume, discuss your needs and expectations when a relationship starts to look serious. And if non-monogamy is what you want, exactly what kind do you mean?
Couples getting serious didn't used to think they needed to find out whether they both wanted children, or would both follow the same religion, or other important things they were taught "go without saying." To their lasting misery.
America's divorce rate has declined in recent years, after the marriage rate plummeted over the last 45 years (source). The modern ethos of discussing important compatibility issues before marrying is surely part of the reason why. Add mono vs. poly to the list of things to discuss.
The whole article (December 1, 2016).