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Monogamy Is Not the Problem

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I’d like to give a shout out for monogamy.

It’s really been maligned of late, called “unnatural,” — or worse, hegemonic and bossy. It gets blamed for infidelity and divorce. Oh the Terrible Societal Pressure of Monogamy! the naysayers tut tut. It’s so very difficult, they sigh, as if monogamy was some high-maintence diva demanding the right sort of mineral water. It’s just impossible to meet the ridiculous expectations of monogamy!

Poor monogamy. Some find it freakish. “We did not evolve to be monogamous,” the critics cry, pointing to hedonistic bonobos and walruses, the Hugh Heffners of the animal kingdom. Don’t you want to be one of the fun animals? Who’s left with monogamy? Wolves and swans, that’s who — pretty creatures known for their savagery and aggression.

Monogamy, I’m sorry you’ve gotten a bad name. For what it’s worth, I think you’re cool. Hurrah for the faithful! Three cheers for the same ol’ same ol’!

I know it’s easy to dismiss me, a happily married, squidgy, middle-aged woman. Oh god, you would like monogamy. You probably have dial up. What other dorktacular, old school things do you enjoy? LP records and butter churning?

Maybe you think my husband is pussy-whipped because he’s faithful. If you do, please tell him that to his face — he’s a pick-up truck driving, “law and order liberal,” Texas trial lawyer who owns a gun. I had one of the other kinds of husbands once, the unfaithful kind, and I much prefer this one, thank you.

Clearly, I lack the sophistication and edginess to be polyamorous. If you’re polyamorous, I wish you all the best. Please enjoy your swingers parties in your shag-carpeted, sunken living rooms. Negotiate your open marriages, use protection, and rock on with your bad selves.

I just have one request — quit beating up on monogamy. Monogamy is not the problem. I’d like to introduce the real villain, the culprit behind infidelity and divorce — entitlement. Yes, entitlement, otherwise known as narcissism, selfishness, or “I need a few months living alone in Spain to find myself.”

Entitlement has unfairly framed monogamy for infidelity for quite some time and I’d like to set the record straight.

1. Cheating is about the thrill of being dishonest. To “cheat” you need an agreement to renege on, namely monogamy. There’s no frisson of danger in openness, no illicit sexual high to chase. A recent study “The Cheater’s High: The Unexpected Affective Benefits of Unethical Behavior” by researchers at the University of Washington, the London Business School, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania show that cheaters feel happier after cheating. Why? They feel superior, more clever than the people they just chumped. Screwing around feels awesome, so long as you’re short on empathy. You know who’s empathy challenged? Narcissists.

There is a power dynamic inherent in infidelity. The cheater wants all the perks of a committed partner, and the excitement of messing around on the side. The secrecy is about gaining advantage. You commit all your resources and I’ll just feign reciprocity. Cheaters don’t want a level playing field. It’s about control and entitlement. Cheaters give themselves permission to cheat, because they deem themselves more deserving than the chumpy people who play by the rules. (Rules the cheater agreed to, of course.)

2. If polyamory is “natural,” so is heartbreak. If we’ve “evolved” to screw around, well, we’re also wired to be jealous and suffer heartache when we are abandoned. Where’s all the talk of how unnatural it is to bond with other people? Gee, we should really stop doing that. This whole trust thing is really overrated.

Murderous impulses are also human, and felt very keenly after one’s been betrayed. When the cuckolded husband clubs his wife’s lover with a baseball bat, they can each claim they “evolved” to be this way — one to screw around indiscriminately, the other to react in a murderous rage. Let’s see how those arguments go over in the court of law.

We didn’t evolve to do a lot of things — farm, use indoor plumbing, wear lederhosen. Your Darwinian urges are no excuse for behaving unethically. Can we put this tired argument to rest already?

3. Monogamy is not difficult — honest conversations are. You’re not good at monogamy? Stay single or find a polyamorous arrangement. Things not working out in the marriage? Speak up and make it work or get out honestly. Unless yours was a shotgun wedding, no one forces you to commit to monogamy. Lost in the “monogamy is so hard” argument is personal choice. Don’t agree to be someone you aren’t.

Oh boo hoo, the pressure. Your parents want grandchildren and your girlfriend is obsessed with “Say Yes to the Dress.” Find your backbone, son. Don’t be a farce registered at Macy’s.

And if you agreed to this monogamy thing and changed your mind? You’re not doing anyone any favors by unilaterally deciding to betray them. Let them go live an authentic life without you.

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  • OH MY GOD CL, you stun me! How can you continue to write articles that are so amazingly good, true, and right-on, how do you cut through the crap that no one else sees? You just nail it better and better every time!!

    Thank you thank you thank you

    P.S. And oh yes, you yet again got me laughing out loud at my desk—>
    “I know it’s easy to dismiss me, a happily married, squidgy, middle-aged woman. Oh god, you would like monogamy. You probably have dial up. What other dorktacular, old school things do you enjoy? LP records and butter churning?”

    • Sending you lots of love, Chump Lady. This is perhaps one of the best, though it’ll be tremendously difficult to choose as almost all your blogs are mind-blowing. 🙂

  • I’m gonna bookmark this post and send it to anyone who gives me that ‘Monogamy is not natural’ or ‘Men like to have sex with different people’ bullshit as an excuse for cheating.

  • It’s natural for children to have two parents committed to a family structure in which to pool resources and provide security.

    You are SO right about how excellent cheaters feel after cheating. My ex could have said, as you’ve pointed out so far, “Look, I’m not interested in you in THAT way, I’ve decided, and I want out,” BEFORE he found a fuck-buddy soul mate. But, no, the cheating gave him the illusion of power back. THAT is how much he resented me and my happiness. And after he told me what he’d done? Why, I’d never seen the man so freaking HIGH on life. He was excited and exciting, frankly. He spent money like he’d never done before. He had the edge! He was one up! He was the MAN! EVERYONE wanted him!!

    I did the pick-me dance for a couple weeks then found MY backbone and kicked him to the curb. Did the pick-me dance from afar, via text and phone (even had him over for dinner, much to the kids’ consternation and confusion), then let it rest after a few months. No-contact is righteous!

    And now? Mr. Sad Sack is So Sad, ohhhhhhhhwuh! No fun, this monogamy with an alcoholic BPD.

    Fuck ’em. Fuck ’em all.

    Know who’s really content and will be happiest of all, in the end? My monogamous friends.

    • “Why, I’d never seen the man so freaking HIGH on life.”

      Sounds just like my XW. After she started her affair she has acted like she has never been happier. It made me feel like I must have been a real drag to be around. Guess being the good and responsible man and busting my butt to make sure everything went well (I stayed home with my kids for a while too) was too boring for her.

      Great comment.

  • I also like all the other “non-natural” things that have been pointed out here at this site, like using a toilet, or a fork, or wearing clothing or deodorant, etc. None of those things are natural. Somehow we’ve evolved.

    I’m much happier living a very full life on my own than with a cheater. Call it unnatural, or whatever, but I have a choice and I’m not putting up with that crap.

    • I actually don’t think it’s possible for us to be not-natural. We’re part of nature, after all.

      I am not sure what that is even supposed to mean. Is there an ubernatural or unternatural anything you can point me toward so that I can compare them?

      I mean, ghosts and unicorns are uber or supernatural. Show me one so that I can compare and contrast them with humans and human social mores.

      • Great point. We’re all “natural” in a certain sense–but some of us have very different natures.

        I think the scariest thing about serial cheaters is how *natural* it is for them to lead a double life. Very easy, requiring little or no thought, causing little or no anxiety, the way most of us breathe or yawn. CL’s cartoon of the cheater-as-shark comes to mind. A shark’s nature is to devour prey. Similarly, a serial cheater’s nature is to deceive and take advantage.

        • nomar – I agree. The ease with which he lied chills me to the bone when I think of it. Not just keeping things to himself, but affirmatively saying things that were the opposite of reality. Just abhorrent.

  • CL, as always, is right on this one and is getting more correct.

    Since society is more tolerant now, there is no excuse for not being honest. “We need time apart, and I’m going to see other people. Of course, you can do the same.” Painful, but clear and fair. The NPDs that CL zeroes in on do not want that. They want the special kind of empowerment that comes from having it both ways, having someone to take care of issues in the marriage, like kids, and having a side dish. Nowadays, all you have to do is choose, and do so transparently. This is the flip side of a moder tolerant society. Really, everyone has a right to expect at least basic honesty……before, not after, the deed!

    CL, right again. As always.

    • No, chumps have no rights, David.
      We are lesser beings,put here to serve our superiors( you know, those super evolved types who feel things more deeply).

  • Great article. I’ve been reading your stuff on HuffPo for a while but I never posted here because the Internet is for arguing and I seem to agree with you. I’ve been in a funk lately and need a good kick in the pants so maybe I’ll start hanging out here too.

  • “You probably have dial up.”

    “We didn’t evolve to do a lot of things — farm, use indoor plumbing, wear lederhosen.”

    Still chuckling over these two. 🙂

    EXCELLENT article, CL! I wonder if HuffPo will actually run it…

  • OK, so I have though a little (very little) on this in between meetings and other stuff I should probably be doing, and I have come to the following conclusion:

    Somebody who says, “Monogamy is not natural” is just making a value judgement disguised as a fact 🙂

    If they said, “Monogamy is not the norm for humans”, then that would be something that you could explore with statistics and surveys anyway. It is clear, at least, that not everybody practices monogamy regardless of how much they may or may not profess to value it.

    What I think they are really saying, though, is that they don’t value monogamy (allegedly) for some unstated reasons and perhaps pointing out that not everybody who claims to be monogamous actually is monogamous, and rather than offer up some sort of coherent argument that addresses things like utility, bonding, empathy, attachment, jealousy, and a cornucopia of other things that fall under the umbrella of what it means to be human, they’re just playing games with semantics that are only possible because “natural languages” have semantic ambiguities, and saying “it’s not natural” as if it is “artificial” (like “artificial vanilla flavoring”–which I oddly prefer) confers some special status on whatever it is they happen to deem to be “natural” which, again, is very ambiguous, and it would be interesting to here them define “natural” because then you could have some fun pointing out the holes in their logic.

    It’s too easy to think of members of the animal kingdom that alter things in their environment, for example. It’s easy to point out that synthesized antibiotics, as well, that could save your life from a harmful bacteria that is altering your personal interior environment, and then viruses that aren’t alive at all but evolving quite naturally but which need host cells that they destroy to proliferate.

    In short, it’s a value judgement conferring “inferior status” without any argument (other than perhaps the note that not everybody is monogamous) to back it up.

  • AMEN!!!

    I’ve never understood the whole “monogamy is hard” argument. I found monogamy to be one of the easiest aspects of my marriage. It required nothing of me except not having sex with other men. How is that difficult? It requires FAR more effort to have sex with other people than to simply refrain from doing so.

    And the “monogamy is unnatural” bullshit. Yeah, so is using a toilet, wearing shoes, eating with utensils, controlling your feelings when talking to your boss and driving a car. Yet I never hear the “unnatural” crowd railing about those things, and how HARD they are.

    It all comes down to entitlement, narcissism, lack of self control and lack of integrity. We unfortunately are living in times that celebrate those qualities, and “old fashioned” qualities like commitment, responsibility, self control, patience and humbleness are scorned. It’s all about “following your dreams” “finding your passion” and “never let anyone tell you no.”

    • I agree. Sure there were times where I was attracted to someone else but that’s all it was: a fleeting attraction that lasted the length of a party or a conversation and then that was that. It never occurred to me to act on any of those few attractions, which weren’t a big deal, and looking for something on the side? How exhausting and stupid. If I had wanted out of my relationship I would have gotten out. But cheat? Why? I value myself far too much to act that way.

      • My outside attractions (mostly at work) have been more long-lasting. I handled them by setting rules for myself — no lunching alone with them, no coversation thst wasn’t work-related, etc. Very few kibbles at home but I denied myself kibbles at work because I was MARRIED. Call me a chump.

        • This is what honest people do when in a committed relationship! You have to recognize that attractions will occur, and handle them like nitroglycerine – because if you don’t, they can blow your world apart! As well as, of course, making that effort to maintain your committed relationship in as best shape as possible.

          But then, we’re chumps …. Definitely looking for a fellow chump or at least potential chump in my next relationship!

    • “I found monogamy to be one of the easiest aspects of my marriage. It required nothing of me except not having sex with other men. How is that difficult? It requires FAR more effort to have sex with other people than to simply refrain from doing so.”

      Love this GIO!

  • Stepping away from my butter churn to comment….

    Yes, yes, and YES! Once again, dear lady, you’ve hit it out of the ballpark! So very true on so many levels.

    From a fellow squidgy, middle-aged woman. (Squidgy is my new favorite word!)

  • Well done! This must be the easiest time in the history of monogamy to break the bonds honestly. Choosing not to and instead indulging in a campaign of deception doesn’t demonstrate a philosophical disagreement with monogamy or a “natural” inability to fit into it — it shows selfishness, disregard for others and an unwillingness to play by the rules one expects others to follow.

    • Exactly, It’s not like divorce carries much of a stigma these days so if you don’t want to be married there isn’t much stopping you from divesting yourself of your marriage.

      • Yes! My mother, who considers that having been happily married to the same man for 50 years until death did part them, says that she has the utmost respect for marriage, and that means that if people don’t love each other and aren’t able to honor their vows, they should get divorced. By extension, any “pro-marriage” law that makes it harder to divorce, is actually antithetical to the principles of marriage because that law preserves a sham, not a real marriage.

        These days, you don’t need to get married. Two people can co-habitate. It is fine. If a house of people wish to have a kind of partner exchange and free for all, they can do that, too. It’s fine. But marriage is a choice no one forces on you. It’s the promise you make. If you think monogamy is hard, then you shouldn’t make that promise!

  • It’s important to note that the monogamy-is-unnatural mindset isn’t limited to the crackpots handpicked by HuffPo to stir up conflict and drive post numbers. This is a very prevalent opinion in our culture that spans economic, social, and political spectrum (not surprisingly, much like the prevalence of cheaters themselves). Here, for instance, is a video of noted self-proclaimed Sexpert Dan Savage explaining “Why Monogamy Is Ridiculous”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8SOQEitsJI

    Whatever he might have done to advance the rights of the LBGT community, I can’t watch this video (or others like it–he’s not shy about making this point) without concluding he’s an arrogant, smug, self-absorbed, condescending, and cold-blooded jackass who lacks a basic understanding about healthy relationships.

    • That video is utterly repellent. “If over the course of a long marriage someone only cheats on you once or twice, consider yourself lucky.” This should put to rest Savage’s opinions on infidelity.

      I find it ironic that someone who has fought so hard for the rights of the LGBT community to not have their sexuality maligned as “unnatural” or “ridiculous” sees fits to label those who prefer monogamy that way.

      • I got through 1 and a half minutes of his smug rant until I could take no more. Good luck building your “fuck” army of poo-throwers Savage Dan. What a Neanderthal.

  • Instead of someone saying, “I prefer an open marriage” which is fine if that’s their personal feeling but deep down they know it’s wrong or hurtful or unnatural (take your pick), otherwise they wouldn’t feel the need to bash monogomy.
    What is that quote? “Methinks she doth protest too much.”

    • Yeah, and if you think monogamy is hard, you should try making an ‘open relationship’ really work!!!

      But I don’t have any deep conviction that ‘open marriage’ is somehow wrong or immoral or unatural. I just think it doesn’t often work. And most importantly, it’s not what I CHOOSE in my life. Open marriage at least assumes that both partners are adults who have the right to make choices, based on full and honest information. Cheaters just want cake, and the only way to get real cake, is to lie.

  • One thing that always seems to get forgotten in the ‘monogamy is hard, it’s unatural’ contention is that there are also GAINS when you chose monogamy!! And that we’re pretty OK w/making choices and trade-offs in other areas of our lives, in order to gain specific things we value. At 18, we give up the ‘free and easy’ life of working at a convenience store and playing video games all day, to get some kind of education, so we can have a better job and in the long-term a better life. As adults, we give up lying around the house all day in our jammies, in order to earn a salary and get to keep the house and buy some cheetos too! We discipline our desire to punch out our boss or that obnoxious person who butts into the line at the movies, in order to live a peaceful life and avoid getting beaten up.

    Yet when people are asked to keep their sex life and the emotional connections that go with it within certain limits, in order to gain a long-term partnership where your partner knows you well and LOVES YOU ANYWAY, a partnership where you can trust and count on each other, a partnership where you feel connected and know that you’ll both fight to regain that connection when it falters, suddenly that’s too hard! When they’re asked to keep their pants zipped or their skirts down, in order to gain the secure family that will give their kids their best chances in life, and will provide both partners w/huge financial gains over someone who is single or constantly moving from relationship to relationship, suddenly it’s not natural! And when their monogamous partnership is getting a bit tattered, or their monogamous sex life has fallen into a rut, it’s SO much more ‘natural’ and exciting to just turn to somebody new.

    And that’s where it’s TOTALLY about entitlement. Because serial or long-term cheaters DO want all the benefits of monogamy. They just don’t want to make the efforts and yes, some sacrifices, in order to gain them. They want their monogamy and their side-dishes too. They want cake.

  • And OMG ChumpLady, this book is going to be SOOOO GOOOD! The only question is how you’re going to narrow it down to a reasonable size, ’cause every time I think ‘NOW she’s covered all the bases, NOW it’s all right there in the blog’, you come up with another brilliant post that simultaenously stretches my brain, tickles my funnybone, and touches my heart! You are BRILLIANT!

  • Great post CL! So spot on.

    Thank you!

    You don’t want to be monogamous? Fine. Have at ‘er, but don’t drag your unknowing spouse/partner with you. Have the damn courage to speak up. People really are able to handle the truth so much better than they are lies and manipulation. Cheaters are huge cowards and that has nothing to do with monogamy.

  • “Yeah, and if you think monogamy is hard, you should try making an ‘open relationship’ really work!!!”

    LOL, and Amen.

  • Well done!! Let’s hope they publish it.

    And for the record, people think bonobos sound cool because, well, sex is cool. But what bonobos supposedly do to resolve conflicts is to let the other guy have his way with you. It would be like your boss is mad at you, so you give him some sex – guys, too.

  • Love it! My favorite moments:

    “Oh god, you would like monogamy. You probably have dial up.”

    and

    “We didn’t evolve to do a lot of things — farm, use indoor plumbing, wear lederhosen.”

    Thank you for the laugh and for the awesome shout-out for monogamy. I will never lower my standards when it comes to that, and if it means that I stay single, so be it!

  • Great article! I asked XH after dday if he wanted an open marriage. I was not interested in it but figured I would ask anyway, you know trying to “save” the marriage. I got a very quick “NO”. Hmmm, wonder why….. LOL What an asshole!

      • Me too! Great move. My serial cheater was/is completely posessive and suspicious of me, a flaming hypocrite. So sad, when they can’t even see what a caricature of a human they are.

    • Back in the day I asked my ex why he didn’t marry a hooker – that way he’d have the best of both worlds.

      He didn’t respond. lol

  • CL, I have to agree with many of the responses, in that this is one of your best. So well thought out, accurate and honest. You’ve presented a rational case for monogamy, that challenges cake eating cheats who justify polygamy as an excuse for their disgusting abusive behaviour.

    I can’t wait to see the response on HuffPo. Go get em!!

  • The funny thing about cheaters who claim that monogamy isn’t “natural” are the very same cheaters who EXPECT monogamy *FROM* their spouse/partner.

    Yes, the sense of entitlement is ASTOUNDING.

  • “Let them go live an authentic life without you.”

    Rings a bell for me.

    Andy was pretty tee-ed off that I was not all cheerleader that he wanted to go live an authentic life. After a decade of lying to me.

    Where was his drive for authentic when I was pulling other women’s lingerie out from under the bed in 2008. The bed we bought with *my* inheritance–years before the current AP cum GF?

    How dare I not be ecstatic for him now that he’s finally found himself? –with the married girlfriend.

    Yeah, live an authentic life built on two infidelities. Good luck with that.

    Course, now, he’s all pissed off that I don’t want to be buddies any more.

    Blink, blink.

    But Andy, don’t you know how happy you are supposed to be for me now that I’ve decided to live an authentic life? Now that I’ve stood up to you and refused pretend I’m friends with someone I believe has all the ethical values of a non-monogamous beast.

  • Oh Lord above, nothing makes my blood boil faster than the ol’ “monogamy is not natural” theory. If this is your belief, then why not be honest about it? The only conclusion I can come to is that for some, deception is “fun”. They are sky-high on the thrill of being “bad”. The zombie I was married to told me that I set the moral bar too high. I guess it’s hard to reach that bar when you are rolling around in a dog park/ garden bed/office floor in the middle of the night with a whore.

    • I think it’s the thrill as well. My ex can go through the motions of being a loving partner well enough but it’s just so darn dull for him and he needs that excitement. Now he’s got the side piece of excitement full time and….he’s miserable. I bet it sucks that she knows he’s a massive cheater, took him on anyway and now keeps him on a very short leash. This is his karma…:)

      • Sounds like a circus act – a tramp with a dog on a short leash. I hope Karma has that choke collar on really tight. 😉

    • It’s ridiculous. When you think about it, they’re basically saying “Hey, people have had all sorts of non-monogamous relationships for as long as we can tell. There was polygamy and to a lesser extent polyandry, and then there has always been cheating, so there’s your proof it’s ‘Not Natural'”.

      The first red-flag should be that most human societies have evolved some concept of monogamy. Most of those that did–which are the vast majority–did this independently of one another. The burden of proof to prove that something so prevalent is not ‘natural’ should always be placed on the person making the claim. They should have a good argument and a convincing body of proof, but I don’t see that on offer. What I see is basically, “People have always cheated, and their are some outlier cultures that practice different forms of marriage”.

      People have always killed people too. Not all or even most of them thankfully, but people have always done it as far as we know. People have always raped and stolen as far as we know too. Well, stealing was very uncommon among the Innuit, but by-and-large, there has always been rape, murder, and stealing have always been part of human societies as far as we know. Lying… and not in an entertaining way but in a way intended to deceive and gain advantage over other humans has always been part of human societies as well.

      Are we to conclude that by not going around lying to people to gain their confidence, then raping and murdering and then stealing from them we are being ‘un-natural’?

  • One of my biggest issues with my cheater is that when I found evidence in 2009, he lied over and over, very easily apparently, and then went even more underground with his cheating. I told him at the time that there was no WAY I’d stay with a cheater, so he arrogantly said to himself, “Oh yes you will!” and made the choice for me. If only I could get that last 4 years back. Ugh. Fuck ’em is right. Arrogant assholes.

    • Yep, they made the choice for us and that is the ultimate insult, at least for me. Let ME decide what I want in my life and what I don’t. Do not make unilateral decisions that have an enormous impact on me without even discussing it with me.

  • “I guess it’s hard to reach that bar when you are rolling around in a dog park/ garden bed/office floor in the middle of the night with a whore.”

    Garden bed? As in flower bed? LOL. This whole line is SNAPalicious!

    • Garden bed as in the local tavern carpark garden bed. Yes, he (and she) are all class. I got to read all about it in the facebook download. Wasn’t that 256 pages of fun and frivolity! Not.
      When he wanted to reconcile I said “why? You’ve clearly found someone who has no dignity or class. She’s your perfect match.”

  • I remember hearing this one. “How realistic, really, is it to stay faithful to one person your entire life? Things change and you outgrow one person. We live so much longer than we used to after all.”

    Way to attempt to justify your cheating ways. Lets see if your theory applies to your current partner. And the one after that, and the one after that…

    And I have to say – then why the hell get married in the first place?

    • Or get married, in innocence and good intentions. And when you realize you are incapable of staying monogamous, or just don’t want to do that anymore, TALK TO YOUR PARTNER HONESTLY! Maybe they feel the same, and you can both head into an open relationship or a divorce w/smiles on your faces and maybe even as friends. Or maybe they won’t feel the same, they’ll be crushed and heartbroken, but they won’t have been lied to by the person they were supposed to trust the most in the world.

      Recovering from an unwanted divorce would be hard, but nowhere near as hard as from discovering you’ve been lied to repeatedly for years, that the marriage you thought you had was a sham, that the love they professed for you was only self-love, and that the person you thought you were sharing your life with isn’t who you thought they were, at all.

      • I was talking to a friend and colleague about a related matter just the other day. Another of our friends is married to a man who’s so fucked up that he actually wakes her up to start a fight with her! Anyway, my friend summed up the husband as having a supreme sense of entitlement, which means he has zero respect for his wife. Oh yeah, he’s carrying on at least one EA, too.

        In contrast, she notes that several of her friends have divorced, but they still retain respect for their ex-partners. Even though they can’t agree about money, or how to run a household, or any of the myriad of other things that can result in mutual incompatibility–they still respect each other enough to recognize that the other person has certain boundaries, and not to push beyond those.

        Those people have integrity. Sure, they may have entered into the marriage with all good intentions, but when it became apparent they couldn’t hold to their vows, they divorced. This leaves both parties free to pursue better relationships for each of them.

        The cheater? Not so much. The cheater doesn’t want a divorce. S/he just wants extra cake and is willing to sacrifice all personal integrity to get it.

  • Noticed that the trolls are conspicuously absent over at Huffpo. Why? There is no way to mount an effective argument against logic and valid conclusions.

      • Bastards. All the more reason your book needs to be published, Tracy. Please give us updates on that front and let us know if we can be of any help.

  • From an anthropological perspective cultures that do not support, promote and normalize monogamy as a foundation for a strong well balanced society that actually works for and supports the people in the culture , are more likely to fail and to fall apart. Monogamy is good for the whole of society and good for children and good for healthy adults. Monogamy actually serves many solid and necessary functions in many good live supportive ways.

  • My same-sex partner and i have been in a monogamous relationship for 23 years with 3 kids. We would not have it any other way. Besides that we just flew to NYC And got married…signed ‘committed for life’

    • Congratulations, Roy. My friend and his spouse also got married recently. 20 years and completely faithful. He says they do better than their heterosexual friends!

  • Yahoo! Your article has been bumped up to get more attention.

    A surprising amount of comments are defense of polyamory – people didn’t like the joke you threw off. Seems a little sensitive to me, but I own LPs, so what can I say?

  • I’ve come to realize that there are few pleasures in life as deep and abiding as having one particular beloved for as long as life gives you the bond. Monagamy is a choice, and when the choice is made and kept as a vow … It doesn’t get much better than that. At this moment, the longest-married couple in my family — over 60 years — are soon to be parted: by death. This pair is my (and many other peoples’) gold standard for marriage…

    I still aspire to this kind of marriage, even though I’m in my fifties and was deserted through betrayal over three years ago. I still hope. My chance for a lifelong marriage is gone, but I still want to meet someone and go the full distance for whatever time is left. Still! I want to give and receive with the fullness that my elders have bestowed.

    Chump Lady, your site is a lifesaver. Your integrity is one of my reminders.

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