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Is Monogamy Abuse?

Dear Chump Lady

The thing that I wanted to talk to you about has nothing to do with cheating, but everything to do with monogamy.

Right now in mainstream media monogamy is being called outdated and regressive.

If you want monogamous relationship you are deemed insecure, controlling, unloving and on…

Is monogamy abuse?

Do you think that humans are meant for monogamy?

I feel so torn. I’ve never equated monogamy with abuse. I don’t want to control my partner or anything like that, but an awful lot of people think it is and that non-monogamy (especially polyamory) is the new way.

People who are into non-monogamy especially polyamorous folks don’t seem to see anything good with monogamy.

Asking for a monogamous relationship for them is like putting the person you love in a cage.

You are not evolved enough to pass through fear and jealousy and insecurity.

Do you think that they are right?

As someone in her 20s I don’t know what to do. Should I give my partner(when I will have one) an open relationship? So that they can be truly themselves? Even if I know I will not be comfortable in this relationship?


Dear WonderALot,

You shouldn’t do anything with your partner that you don’t feel comfortable doing. And a good partner isn’t going to batter-ram your boundaries. Only jerks do that.

That just doesn’t go for sex, that goes for everything. Money, family secrets, how spicy you like your tacos. Anyone who is forcing jalapeños on you is not the partner for you, okay?

WonderALot: Pain is not a flavor. I do not want your satanic vegetables. I said NO.

Bob: I don’t think you’re evolved. EVERYONE likes jalapeños.

WonderALot: I do not like jalapeños.

(Bob pretends to order an ordinary breakfast taco for WonderALot, but really gets one packed with jalapeños.)

(WonderAlot bites into the taco.)

WonderALot: AIIGGGGH! My mouth is on FIRE!

Bob: Just pass through the fear and pain to the enjoyment.

WonderALot wonders if she’s missing something here. Must she feign an enjoyment of battery acid peppers to keep Bob? Is this discomfort required?

Or how about — Bob is not the right partner for WonderALot.

Bob should find someone else who likes jalapeños as much as he does. And not force jalapeños on others. Or pretend he doesn’t like jalapeños on his tacos. Or deceitfully coerce WonderALot into a bad breakfast taco.

There’s someone for WonderALot. He’s probably in a corner eating rice pudding. They should find each other.


Okay, this was a long-winded way to say IT’S OKAY TO LIKE WHAT YOU LIKE AND SAY NO TO WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE.

That doesn’t make you controlling, unloving, or insecure. It makes you a woman who knows her mind.

You bring a lot to the table. Your investment is a gift. Don’t dance for fuckwits. Liking jalapeños, while inexplicable, is not what makes Bob a jerk — inflicting his preferences, insinuating you’re wrong for not liking it, or tricking you into a situation you don’t want to be in — is what makes him a jerk.

Now then, monogamy.

Right now in mainstream media monogamy is being called outdated and regressive.

Okay. This happens every few decades. See “1970s.” Swingers parties.

Monogamy isn’t going away. Because many (perhaps most) people feel secure when their partner’s investment in them is total, and vice versa. That investment is a big perk of monogamy. The problem is when one person wants all the perks of monogamy (total emotional and financial investment, no threat of health risk), but changes the rules unilaterally for themselves (cheating).

As I’ve written here MANY times before — that’s an entitlement character problem — NOT a monogamy problem.

Polyamorists can be cheated on. All it takes is to have an agreed upon set of rules. And one person to unilaterally break them. There are polyamorist chumps.

If you want monogamous relationship you are deemed insecure, controlling, unloving and on…

Well, that’s some DARVO shit. If we’re going to respect everyone’s sexuality, how about respecting people who choose monogamy?

We all have AGENCY. No one forces you to be monogamous. There are no shotgun weddings any more. Saying monogamy is the problem is feeding you the jalapeño taco and then arguing the problem is your reaction to hot peppers. You’re “controlling” versus, they feigned a commitment they had no intention of abiding by.

Is monogamy abuse?

Of course not.

On Marty Ginsburg’s death bed, he left this letter for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

My dearest Ruth, you are the only person I have loved in my life. Setting aside a bit parents and kids, and their kids. And I have admired and loved you almost since the day we met at Cornell some 56 years ago.”

Does that sound like abuse, or the love we all wish we had?

Similarly, when considering how dorktacular monogamy is, think of Danny and Annie Perasa. Danny Perasa did Story Corp radio recordings about his life with Annie. How he loved the way she made him ice cream. The little notes he’d leave for her throughout the day. Then he died, and people PULLED OVER THEIR CARS AND WEPT over the loss of this ordinary Brooklyn man and his love of Annie, who nursed him through cancer. It’s been the most popular NPR broadcast ever.

That’s commitment. It’s beautiful. You’re not an idiot for wanting it.

Asking for a monogamous relationship for them is like putting the person you love in a cage.

Was Marty Ginsburg in a cage? Danny Perasa? Or did they love extraordinary women who loved them back? Were they freaks? Did they miss out? Or did they deeply appreciate their partners and felt honored to be loved by them?

Somehow I just don’t think it would be the same if they each had 15 other girlfriends.

Because life is choices. If polyamory works for some people, fine. They should find each other. No judgment. And people who prefer monogamy should also find each other. We probably just value different things.

What I wonder about with polyamory is the escapist nature of it. I’ve joked about it, how come the only thing people want to share is sex? Doesn’t anyone want to drive my son to his orthodontist appointment or check in on my mother’s knee surgery?

Life with someone takes devotion. And sometimes that won’t be so great, like cancer treatments. Well, perhaps that’s a good time to bail and go fuck someone else. Personal ethics aside, that’s what I don’t get. The TIME MANAGEMENT of it. I don’t have enough time for all the things I enjoy and the people in my life who I don’t have sex with (just Mr. CL). I can’t imagine the logistics of polyamory. But then again, I’m 54 and not the young, libertine thing I once was. I’m the person in the corner with the rice pudding. Mr. CL has his geode collection and Great Lake freighter models, and we’re probably not the people to ask. (So dorky! so monogamous!)

But it works. It works for a lot of people. After the shit we’ve been through, it feels like a gift. Not a cage.

A gift.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • As a fan of Star Trek and Spock, I submit what I see as the flaw in this not meant for monogamy bullshit:

    If that’s what these fuckers actually believe, then why do they almost always go nuts at the thought of their partner getting some elsewhere?

    They want to fuck others but expect monogamy from their partner.

    It is not logical.

    Look, people can lay out any terms they want if they’re honest. If you wamt to fuck others then find a partner who is ok with that. The problem comes because most cheaters want monogamous partners, that’s why they lie and bullshit.

    Lay out your terms and stick to them. Don’t be so desperate for a partner that you roll over and let them steamroller you.

    • Exactly.

      Maybe we could have something of a slightly different conversation if the eons ago the narrative had been people enter relationships saying they aren’t sure about monogamy and it turns out they were right but there are the wedding photos, the proposals, the you are my ‘soulmate’ conversations followed by deception and lies. So they aren’t quite ready to throw of all social norms in most cases, but just the ones that suit them.


      In order to cheat, you need to be breaking the agreement. There is no thrill otherwise.

      Schmoopie moved to town and they were living together. He continued (continues?) to lie about it and our daughter catches him on Tinder. He told me he wanted to “what else was out there”. Note his choice of words…..what, not who. Object.

      He gets off on lying to me. I harshed that buzz and exited the game by encouraging him to enjoy Schmoopie because he way overpaid for her.

      Without trust and safety it is NOT a relationship; it is a GAME. They lie to the affair accomplices too…nothing to envy about jumping into the water with an anaconda. Count your blessings as you get away, even though you feel like you have been beaten within an inch of your life.

      The only winning move is to walk away and don’t play.

      • Exactly! My ex was honest when he said ‘it isn’t fun if it isn’t cheating’. He didn’t want an open marriage, not just because he didn’t want me out testing the waters, but because he wanted to cheat!

        • Per my daughter in law, the ex was cheating on Schmoopie within a year of their marriage. She knows of two different times. My guess is that he continued cheating for years, just took it further under ground. Or she gave up worrying bout it. She was getting her bills paid, so…

          I just seriously doubt he was going to give up that high, for the town whore for which he gave up pretty much everything he had worked for. Especially while he was still on the PD and women were going for the uniform.

          I would have loved to see him dump her for another whore, but that is just being greedy.

      • I didn’t see your post, you said it better than I did.

        “He gets off on lying to me. I harshed that buzz and exited the game by encouraging him to enjoy Schmoopie because he way overpaid for her.”

        You sound like me at the time. I wanted, no prayed that he would marry schmoopie. It was the only way I thought he would reap what he had sown. It doesn’t matter as much now, but he did marry and he did reap what he sowed.

        Unfortunately, my son and his family got hurt along the way. But, it couldn’t have turned out any other way, unless he had taken it upon himself to change his way, and he was never going to do that, nor was she. Two selfish people.

        I remember the last time (before our divorce was final) that we talked, he had wanted to talk to me about (trying again) I agreed to meet at a restaurant, knowing I was not going to go along. I was just curious.

        I asked him why he did what he did. He said “I guess I just wanted something for myself” I said “See, that is what I thought I was as you were my one and only” He just kind of sat there. I said well I told you when you left the house for the last time (I had given him one more chance) you didn’t get any more choices, and it still stands. I then told him if he has feelings for schmoopie, he should go with that and have a good life. Note: Schmoopie had a known track record of screwing with married men, and she had been married twice, that I know of. Why he thought that was a good deal, I don’t know, but there you are.

        (I was still a little afraid he was going to somehow wiggle out of marrying her)

      • “The only winning move is to walk away and don’t play.”

        Exactly. This makes you the winner. The Cheater always loses.

      • ‘encouraging him to enjoy Schmoopie because he way overpaid for her’
        Love it. I’ve had that thought so many times… I hope he looks at her one day and has that thought too.

    • “The problem comes because most cheaters want monogamous partners, that’s why they lie and bullshit.”

      Exactly, they only want the rules changed for themselves, otherwise they would be up front and say, this isn’t working for me; how about we try an open marriage. Because they don’t want an open marriage, except for themselves. They also, want the excitement of sneaking around; I don’t see how an open marriage provides that.

      I believe even in open marriages, they almost always end in disaster, for at least one partner, usually for both.

      • Even in poly relationships- honesty, clear rules and trust are the baseline.

        All that also applies in monogamous relationship.

        The thing is- that narcs/cheaters are incapable of providing or living life based on agreed rules/ values. Where is fun in that?

    • yep he said he wanted to be non-monogomous just before we wrapped up 17 years of marriage. He was asking for us to be polyamorous for himself but absolutly not for me. Thank god I divorced the guy. (btw he had been ‘ploly’ for many years unbeknownst to me)

  • Is monogamy abuse?

    Bahahahahaha lolololololololololololol

    I can think of a hundred things like rape and torture that are abusive, and monogamy isn’t one of them.
    What is wrong with this world?

  • Libertine schmibertine. One of my former French bosses wrote a bestselling detailing her sexual life as an anything goes woman. Gang bangs, etc. Quite the sensation in France and here in the US. She’s 72 years old now and her husband is 75. It’s payback time as he screws much younger women. The title of her other book is “Jealousy”. But Catherine you were fine with Jacques being a cuckold for years ! Well the tables have turned, haven’t they ?

    • Oi!

      I was going to add (but the column is too long) that monogamy doesn’t mean you don’t find other people attractive or are not attractive yourself. Some people value sexuality variety far above commitment. Whether they’re old, young, attractive, or leprous.

      Problem is when you want all the perks of exclusivity and none of the commitment.

      Sounds like the French woman enjoyed her edginess until her husband did. Yeah. Head scratcher.

      • My beloved therapist said it’s normal to be attracted to other people. And if you are in a relationship, YOU JUST DON’T ACT ON IT. Acting on it CREATES the feelings. If you don’t act on it the feelings go away.

        She is right.

        And sadly for many of us, if our spouses had acted toward us like they acted toward the affair accomplices, we wouldn’t be here.

        A child feels love for a teddy bear, an inanimate object, because of the child, not the teddy bear……


        • Velvet,
          ‘My beloved therapist said it’s normal to be attracted to other people. And if you are in a relationship, YOU JUST DON’T ACT ON IT. Acting on it CREATES the feelings. If you don’t act on it the feelings go away.´ Fucking common sense for those over the age of 11.
          My therapist told me some people cheat because of hormones????????????.
          This has honestly made me consider a new career as a therapist for those who have been betrayed. It is seriously hard to get good help in this area.
          Your teddy bear analogy is priceless.

          • Hormones?? I was the horniest woman in her 20s you can imagine yet didn’t explore polyamory till my 50s. WTF????

          • Right. If my Ex had spend even a fraction of the attention he showered on a damn whore who he knew had messed with multiple married men, it would have been wonderful.

            I know darn well when the change happened, and it wasn’t me that did the pushing away. He wanted to screw around like most of the other guys on the department were doing, and he knew he could easily manipulate me.

            In the beginning, he was actually very nice to me. then he started getting nasty. The illicit sex was just too good to give up.

        • “Acting on it CREATES the feelings. ”

          I think a lot of folks, especially men, don’t really think this when they start their cheating. And for a while they get away with it, then boom, right age, right circumstances and they are in luv with a tramp that they have spent two weeks screwing.

          If you break it down, and really listen to what they are saying (which never makes any sense) it is obvious.

          • I agree Susie,
            I think mine was at an emotional development of a 12 yr old when this happened – got carried away- liked all the feel good endorphins- felt so good he didn’t want it to end- then pouff our life is destroyed. Affair chemicals are strong….that is why if you say you are a rice pudding person, be that person and don’t open the pepper jar,
            Cheaters are well, they are cheaters.
            People who want a lot of people – go for it- protect yourself sexually and don’t lie to other people about it. Be who you are and let other people be who they are without abuse.

          • This is the saddest part for me though because it means that cheater never loved me he just had the hormonal “love” and when that ended (as it always does) it became my fault and off to new shiny he went.

            THAT hormonal feeling is not love. He has no idea what love actually is.

            It didn’t matter that I was devoted to our family, that I absolutely had everyone’s back, that I was all in.

            I didn’t even register as a human being anymore deserving of basic physical respect. I was trashed because I didn’t “give him butterflies “ anymore. What an immature definition of love.

            • Fearful, I guess same here. His version of love for me was definitely there and real – while it was there. My mom is surprised he was ‘fickle’!
              I can’t understand ‘loving’ someone and then ‘loving’ another at the expense of your spouse and family. But I’m not a fuckwit. He’s not healthy or emotionally mature.
              We would have never have invested in these people if we knew what they were capable of.

              • “I can’t understand ‘loving’ someone and then ‘loving’ another at the expense of your spouse and family. But I’m not a fuckwit. ”

                Yep. That is the bottom line. It just isn’t in us to understand that level of betrayal and disrespect.

            • Yep, not just sad, but heartbreaking.

              And the Chumps primarily have to endure most of the hurt.

      • I got “caught” telling a coworker he was “nice to look at” but no more, and I’ve been held in contempt ever since because “that’s just not like you…” such a perfect little wife only I get to FULLY engage in cheating don’t let me “catch you” telling others they’re nice to look at at work
        This is disgraceful and a complete case of contradictions
        I’m exhausted that HES so hurt that I would say that to someone!

        • Are you still in this relationship? Is it acceptable to you (as it is today, not if he changed)?
          He is rewriting the narrative. Look it up online- there are tons of blogs teaching how to cheat and then change the narrative of the discussion when they get caught.
          Instead of talking about how he DID cheat, you are arguing with him about how you MIGHT cheat. It’s a distraction technique.

  • Monogamy isn’t the issue – as CL said, this smacks of DARVO. The real issue is some people want to make cheating (even?) more socially acceptable while shaming people who disagree with trampling other’s boundaries.

    • Agreed, they are always confirming their bias with bullshit. First red flag in the argument against monogamy are the words “Everyone” and “no one” and the smear campaign of calling it outdated and old fashioned. Well, STDs are not outdated and if having boundaries is old fashioned, I’m glad to be old fashioned. Wonders A Lot, there are many other things to do in life than people. I would get new friends

      • My mother told me when I was very young (early sixties) that when I hear the phrase “everyone does it” It is a confession.

        She is/was right.

  • I just have to get this off my chest. My BFF of 27 years just celebrated 49 years of marriage to a cheating so called preacher. They married when she was 18, she is now 69. The first time she caught him, they had two children and pastors of a small church. The next time she caught him, they had four children and pastors of a 300 person congregation.

    She was devastated both times but protected his sorry ass and the OW never rated him out so he has been able to keep his license.

    He is now 72 and can’t get it up without Viagra at $20.00 a pill which she keeps count of and she keeps him on Life 360 to know his whereabouts at all times. They still pastor a small church now.

    It breaks my heart for her. She is a tremendous human being, mother, wife, etc. That didn’t keep that scum bag from cheating on her.

    Today’s post made me think how good her life could have been then and now if he had been faithful.

    I can’t stand the sight of him! She has eaten shit sandwiches for 49 years. I love her dearly and understand her sunk costs. She has 14 grandchildren too, that she has devoted her life to and the churches she has served.

    • We went to group Christian marriage counselling weekends. There were some couples there in their 70’s. Still trying to work through betrayal. I decided that was not a club I wanted to belong to! I walked.

      • Yeah, I just don’t know how they do it. I mean I get them wanting their marriage, but I have been reading a lot of the folks that are trying, and it just seems like setting up your life for non stop pain. In my case I wasn’t (initially) given that opportunity, which I am glad for now. I suspect if I had been, I would have tried for another year or so, and then would have had to end it anyway.

        He was never going to stop cheating, heck he started cheating on schmoopie within a year of their marriage.

        Yes there is pain in leaving. But, like in my case I honestly had not given the FW much thought for 25 ish years, other than “how’s your dad” I even had great compassion for him when he had a major heart attack. I didn’t want my son hurt.

        My relapse came about two years ago when FW blew up our sons life. (long story) So it got me to thinking and I researched narcissist’s, and boom found all this information including CL. In turn that info opened up some risidual anger in myself, and I realized I was angry at myself for being so blind while he was in discard mode. So yes you could say he caused me further pain though we were divorced, but only because of what he did to my son.

        The reason I am still here is once I got to know all the wonderful folks here, I have stayed in part because of lockdown, and also to help anyone else if I can.

        But, I have had a peaceful, life with a good man for many years; and FW was just a guy I used to know.

        So while I wish those who are trying to reconcile the very best, it just seems like the betrayed are setting themselves up for a life time of fighting pain. But, I do understand the pull to save the marriage with someone you love.

          • Yep, I only tried for a week, and he was so verbally abusive, I kicked him out. I did tell him if he wanted to try this again, he had one week to decide to dump schmoopie and commit to counseling. He was to call me back the next Sunday. He didn’t call.

            So I called him and said you were supposed to call and let me know your decision. He said I can’t decide. I said “you no longer get to decide, we are done” So I called my lawyer (we were legally separated) and said go on with process, it didn’t work. Lawyer said he figured he would hear from me soon.

            He circled back three more times that I remember, he got a hard no each time. Kicker is, he never once during that time quit schmoopie. I don’t think there is any doubt that he wanted his freedom, what he didn’t want was my freedom.

  • Thanks for including the info on the Perasas – Storycorps also did an animation based on their broadcast, and it’s one of the videos I like to return to, especially with Danny describing how he proposed – he was a man who knew what he wanted, and he was blessed to meet someone who felt the same way.

    DP: She started to talk, and I said listen I’m going to deliver a speech and I said at the end you’re gonna want to go home. I said you represent a dirty four letter word, I said that word is love. I says if we’re going anywhere we’re going down the aisle because I’m too tired, too sick and too sore to do any other damn thing. And she turned around and she said, of course I’ll marry you.

    Now when I first heard that, I thought that was pretty intense out of the gate, but to hear them describe how the next 27 years of their marriage went (up til Danny’s passing) because they set their expectations early, I could appreciate how fortunate they were to have each other.

  • Asshat always mocked me for not liking spicy food. He was always putting jalapeños in my omelets even when I repeatedly told him not to. He then would make disparaging comments equating my taste in food to me being “boring”.

    • And in reverse, I made a really spicy hot thai curry one of the first times the ex came round (I had learned to make Thai food in Thailand and it’s pretty good even if I do say so myself). However, it transpires he hates hot food. Now it was very hot, I admitted it and worried it would be too hot for him. He said nothing and ate it and said it was nice. And that is my template as apparently he ‘accommodated’ all these things that weren’t really right for him without saying a word and then of course in the discard phase things that happened years ago that he wasn’t happy about were all thrown back at me. The Thai curry incident stands as testament to his behaviour. And of course when I found out I felt bad (chump) but also thought, wow that was some fiery food to eat if you didn’t like it, why didn’t you say? And the truth is, when there is a chance of a shag thrown into the equation they’ll accommodate anything and when not or once they’ve entirely fed up with you then you’d better watch out.

    • I always say there’s a special hell for people who are willing to knowingly feed other people things they know the people don’t want to eat. Sooooooooo rapey.

      (I realize this might bonk a nerve or two because many people sneak things into others’ food regularly and maybe even feel they have to do it. Maybe you do have to do it in rare circumstances and this doesn’t apply to you. For most people, my response is, how would you like it if someone did that to you and you learned about it later? I know I feel super betrayed, and even endangered, when people do it to me. Eating is intimate. We have a right to know what is going into our mouths. So, barring extremes like health conditions, this would be a total dealbreaker for me nowadays.)

      • I’m with you Ami. It’s one thing to add puréed veggies to your little ones mac and cheese, if they are picky eaters and don’t have food allergies. Last week, Tracy opened the discussion about Chris Watts the murderous family annihilator. His psycho mother didn’t follow Shanann’s request to be careful about foods served to her two little girls, one who was allergic to peanuts.

        • Yep that was some triangulation. I doubt Chris ever confronted his mom on why the hell are you feeding peanuts to my kid?! I watched the Netflix doc this past weekend and that stood out along with him having sex with Shanann and then murdering her a few hours afterwards.

        • My ex’s mom, who has untreated BPD, once sent me a bag of almonds in the mail.

          I’m allergic to almonds. She definitely knew that at the time.

      • I learned later Dr. Asshat used to slip me drugs. He has no boundaries and doesn’t car for anyone but himself. But his mask of being a good guy makes it impossible for me to be anything other than the crazy/bitter ex wife.

      • This makes me feel terrible about making some dinners that I liked that had mayo in them. My husband hated mayo and sour cream, but they were key in dishes like strognoff or a tilapia sauce that I made, that he would eat and even say he enjoyed–until he found out there was mayo or sour cream in there. I never thought of it as betraying him and as rapey before, but I can totally see it now. thanks for opening my eyes to my own hypocrisy.

      • Yes, I experienced that along with the comments “everyone likes this”, “whats wrong with you?”and I am providing for the family so you WILL eat it (venison stew).He would repeatedly make it, the smell of it would make me gag. He pulled the same thing on the kids. ….blamed me when they wouldn’t eat it either. Only thing worse when was he told me to make it, then yelled at me not to ruin his great catch. Of course it was never good enough….

        • Yeah I don’t think too many women & kids are begging for venison for dinner. The mention of a venison dinner also reminds me of memories of mock chicken leg dinners from childhood. Telling another adult what to eat when they know you don’t like it – just controlling ass behavior.

  • “You are not evolved enough to pass through fear and jealousy and insecurity.”

    I can’t help but think of HBO’s current documentary series “The Vow,” which is telling the story of Keith Raniere, who used this basic psychological thesis to create a “personal growth and development empire” as a front for systematic manipulation and sexual abuse of its high ranking female members. (He’s been convicted of federal crimes including sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor.)

    IMO — if you’ve invested meaningfully in any type of relationship (with a person, group, whatever) that suddenly projects this type of thinking on you, you’re being set up by someone or something who gets off on control.

    • I’ve been watching that…..and thinking about how I was gaslighted and brainwashed in my marriage.

      When denial breaks it’s astounding.

      It’s especially interesting because I was such a huge fan of Mark Vincent’s “What The Bleep Do We Know”.

      The whole thing reminds me to trust my gut and keep my eyes and ears open as best I can.

  • If we were weren’t “evolved” for monogamy — or if it was some kind of “abuse” — there wouldn’t be a site like this. People wouldn’t couple up, they wouldn’t agree to be exclusive, and there wouldn’t be thousands of dating profiles that say “if you just want a hook-up, swipe left!” (meaning, don’t bother with me). No one has to tell us these things, we just do them naturally starting when we’re teens. No one would be so fundamentally hurt by the betrayal. No, if anything, cheating is what goes against our grain.

    When someone tries this argument with me, here’s my response: “By that logic, since so many people steal, should we simply outlaw theft, or even private property? If so many people have a problem with taking what isn’t doesn’t belong to them, should we simply give up on hanging on to our own possessions?”
    No one has a response for this. Society would fail in an hour if people could simply take whatever anyone else had.

  • Thank you Tracy

    You’ve made so much good points
    This is insane I have never view monogamy in such way.

    I have spent so many time reading articles/blog/comments about non-monogamy and about how I’m closing off my potential partner from new experiences that in my head I didn’t have the right to like monogamy so much.

    I was bad, unevolved and unloving

    So, thank you

    I mean it

      • WonderAlot, I hope you will stop reading all the articles and blogs about non-monogamy!

        A better use of your reading time: more CL blog entries or her excellent book.

        I could read big game hunting blogs daily for a year and it won’t make me any more comfortable with the idea of big game hunting. That’s not who I am.

        I was cheated on and CL’s wisdom and humor helped me because I’m monogamous like she is. You’re clearly not comfortable with non-monogamy, so please give your brain a break and don’t continue to read the writings of people who preach a lifestyle that’s not who you are.

        • Can we stop calling it non-monogamy and go back to calling it sleeping around? ????

        • I still think there is one good book on consensual and ethical non-monogomy called the “Ethical Slut”. The book helps me understand all relationships a lot – it is all about communication and boundaries. AND the more relationships – the more work. Cheaters are about the abuse. the non-communication. the kicking down of boundaries. Shaming = abuse. I do have a few friends that are in poly-amor relationships that are functional. But they do a LOT of work and have a LOT of processessing and hold each other through a LOT of tears. It’s more work than I would ever want to do. I do not think that ethical consensual non-monogomy could ever or should ever be confused with cheating and abuse (with is NONconsensual, non-ethical NOTmonogomy.)

          • OK. Showing my age here but I don’t know anyone who has a non-monogamous relationship, functional (really??) or otherwise. Do I judge? Yes. I think it’s stupid.

            I may be an old fart, but I thought my friends (gay males especially) and I learned a valuable lesson in the 80s: lots of different sex partners is not only risky but potentially life-threatening. Friends of my friends died from AIDS. When sections of the AIDS quilt came to Chicago, one of my good friends couldn’t bring himself to go see it with us: too many fresh losses (friends’ deaths) and it would have been overwhelming to him.

            I have a friend who had sex with someone she didn’t know very well and now she has genital herpes for life because the asshole didn’t tell her he had it.

            And now we know HPV can result in cervical or oral cancer (my ex had the latter; he survived but the treatment was positively brutal – the inside of his throat looked like hamburger meat because it was so burned by the radiation treatments).

            I may be old fashioned but monogamy is not only a great comfort emotionally speaking but fewer sex partners in one life is so much safer!

            • Yes, the health aspect is so ignored. Popular belief that a condom prevents everything. Or testing does. NOT.

    • Wonder a lot, I’m not sure of this helps, but as a woman in her 40s, I have a couple of friends who have at one stage or another, been (or are) polyamorous/ in an open relationship. The primary relationships have never stuck. Not saying this is the case for everyone, and full respect for people’s choices if they’re being honest- but seeing things play out over 20 years is interesting.

      • Agree.

        Like it or not, when one is involved with an intimate relationship (emotionally or physically) with someone, feelings will usually kick in. Whether one believe in God or Mother Nature, it is what it is.

        That is why folks in a monogamous relationship should avoid even intimate bantering. I assume we are that way to foster closeness, but the cheaters think they are different. It is always different with them.

  • People cheat because they want to cheat.
    When their cheating who’s looking after the kids. People choose drugs, alcohol over their families. Cheaters who want you to share them, are asking you to condone it. How many cheaters put the ow, first. What about sti, hiv, hepatitis etc. Are they willing to share that too.
    Kids get sick, are the cheaters interested no, your sick no. but their allowed to be ill.
    Kids see there chump parents getting treated like crap, and that’s not right.

  • Is monogamy abuse?

    No. Monogamy is a clear agreement between two consenting adults that isn’t harmful to either adult. (Truly, it isn’t harmful to anyone when nobody is lying about consenting to it.)

    Is deception abuse?

    Yes, nearly always. Deception is intentionally misleading another person. While it’s certainly true that sometimes people deceive for non abusive reasons — hiding presents, surprise parties, avoiding burdening a person who just got a cancer diagnosis with the fact that you just failed a chem test – the vast majority of reasons one person deceives another is to gain some kind of self-serving advantage, and that is definitely abuse.

    So when the whatabouters say “but, but, but, you wouldn’t be in a relationship with me unless I promised monogamy, so it’s abusive and controlling of you to make me promise it!” I say:

    “If you were a healthy adult who wasn’t being deceptive to get what you want, you wouldn’t consent to monogamy you don’t want. Your deception gave me the false impression that you consented to the monogamy. I required nothing of you, I simply said we can’t be partners if we don’t want the same things. That’s not abuse, it’s personal boundaries. You are the abuser, as the deceiver who coerced agreement from me with lies, entirely for your own personal gain.”

    • None of us owes another person a relationship of any type just because the other person wants us to consent to the thing.

      What if I end up alone? Truly, I’d rather be partnerless than persistently abused by a partner. There are many kinds of love in this world. Partnership isn’t the only choice that results in rich happiness.

      How I wish I would have asked these questions, and taken the answers to heart, when I was 20. Things would look so different now. It’s brilliant that you reached out to ask, Dear Writer. May you come out of it feeling all the support of thousands of us who agree that you don’t have to do or be anything you don’t want to get asshats who don’t respect others to like you. ????

  • I’m retired. I’ve heard the pro’s and cons of fidelity all my adult life, starting in high school when I was about 16. Back in those olden days, most girls wanted to “go steady” except for the ones who used promiscuous behavior to get invited to parties. The boys were not called promiscuous, just boys being boys. I didn’t buy it then, still don’t, and I’ve been chumped. I think having boundaries takes effort, and those who want to have easy, meaningless sex don’t want to exert effort.

    Being monogamous doesn’t mean you don’t find others attractive, or have a fantasy life. Movie stars, and hero’s from novels have appeared in my dreams, but not my bed. When I slept with my mate I found a comfort in knowing his name when I woke up in the morning. I didn’t have to worry about the walk of shame, wearing the previous days clothes, wondering if I had to stop in at the health clinic, if I was in a committed relationship. Let me correct that, my partner didn’t have to worry unless he was cheating. Then, the whole beneficial purpose of having a loyal mate was defeated.

    Marriage is a whole other step up of commitment. Marriage is a lot of work, especially if you have children, and/or aging parents, or illness. But a loyal and true mate will make your life much easier if you will be a loyal and true mate. You have someone to share life with, good and bad. You don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. Someone has your back. Or, so I’ve heard. I did not have this experience, because I was a chump. I was monogamous. My Ex’s said they were. They expected me to be. But they could not manage to be. It was too much work for them. They wanted benefits without responsibility.

    Even random sex takes time, energy, and resources. Is it so hard to expect honesty? If you can’t tell the truth about your ability to maintain a promise of fidelity, don’t make the promise. There are plenty of promiscuous partners available in the world seeking sex without rules. Run free, indulge yourself. See if you can get a monthly plan at the std clinic. But don’t call me, or knock on my door, because that lifestyle does not interest me in the least. I want a life partner, or I’m good with being alone. So far, I can remember my name when I wake up, and I can handle life by myself much better than I can handle the disappointment of a lying cheating partner who steals from me instead of pooling our resources.

    What exactly are the irresistible benefits of polyamory? Exuberance? Sounds really expensive to me in the long run. When you wake up in the morning, and no one is there, do you really want to spend your time and money going to a std checkup? Doesn’t sound like a good life plan to me. Having boundaries is a much calmer choice. I find many exciting things to do which don’t involve removing my clothes, my life is not boring. Sorry if it appears to be from the outside looking in. That sounds like someone else’s problem to me.

    • “Even random sex takes time, energy, and resources.”

      Which is why it doesn’t JUST HAPPEN, eg. he tripped and fell on top of her.

      There are no accidents when it comes to sex. It all takes planning – even if you happen to decide to go at it in the main street, quite spontaneously.

      I always wince when I hear women apologizing for how their husband ‘strayed just this one time; it was an accident’ – like he’s a toddler who’s still learning how to use the toilet.

  • Switch out the term “monogamy” for “keeping agreements”’and ask the question again.

    Like invisible ink, the answer magically appears from the ether.

    Looking back over a relationship with a cheater, you will also find a LONG list of broken agreements, unilateral decisions, double standards, hypocrisy. Two sets of rules, one you didn’t know about or consent to. But you’d better toe the line or else.

    Now, onto the next brain teaser…

    The name of the Great Lakes freighter my late uncle Jimmy (Stinson) worked on! We used to watch for it when we were at my grandma’s house in Port Huron…..for Pete’s sake it’s on the tip of my tongue…..

    CLEVELAND CLIFFS!!! Oh my gosh I haven’t thought of this in decades!!

    • Velvet,
      Boy, did you ever hit the nail on the head with “broken agreements, unilateral decisions, double standards, hypocrisy.” My STBX (we are both women) is still throwing all of that at me even now, due to parallel parenting during Covid. Last week, I learned that my DD9 had been playing without social distancing with a friend who was not distancing with other kids. Now, STBX knows that my parents and I (all in our contact group) are at higher risk for severe complications if we were to become infected, and we had had conversations about how to mitigate vulnerabilities. But here’s yet another unilateral decision on STBX’s part that broke our earlier agreements. She refuses to acknowledge that she acted wrongly in not letting me know about this possible viral exposure sooner.

      Worse, when I pointed out that I needed to know this kind of information in order to make health & safety decisions, and set a boundary around not having DD9 in my home until I could secure an agreement moving forward, I got full-on DARVO. STBX has tried every manipulation in the book to get me to roll on this – even during a mediated therapy session! (That therapist is terrible, didn’t call STBX on any of it.) But I’m holding fast to my boundary, and it looks like she’s now realizing that she has to relent – I have a lot of leverage, since STBX has no interest in keeping DD9 full-time.

      Still, it’s still the same mindfuck, just a different tune. Instead of saying I’m unevolved for not being okay with her cheating, now STBX is saying that I’m not adequately concerned for the mental health of DD9 who can’t socialize conventionally with friends. I do in fact have a lot of empathy and concern for DD9 (met with DD9’s therapist on Saturday to discuss these issues – she supports me!) but think it’s not in my kid’s best interest to have a sick parent/grandparent (or worse), or caregivers who are even more stressed out by the possibility of infection than we already are. STBX just has a totally disordered view of what is appropriate. I know we will all be glad when Covid is over, but for those of us high-risk people parenting minor children with fuckwits, it will be so liberating to be free from the feeling of being constantly besieged from within the bubble as well as from without.

      Moral of the story: DON’T have kids with someone who breaks agreements! I don’t care if you’re monogamous, or polyamorous, or whatever…
      Of course, that red flag didn’t appear in my case very clearly until my older kids was 2. But still, like a chump, I stick around and eventually agreed to kid #2. Smh

      • Viruses don’t care what our kids need.

        My former fake husband agreed to suspend visitation when the shelter in place orders came down, for which I am grateful. Even now, visitation is with masks, at least six feet apart. Easy because she hates him and heads straight to her room and shuts herself inside the whole time.

        I was handicapped as a result of pneumonia in May 2015. I have not fully recovered (post-infectious neuropathy). No one had to tell me twice to follow the current suggestions; I’ve been doing them since then. Better safe than sorry….an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure….those are old sayings for a reason I don’t want to ignore.

        I am unsurprised by the denial and self-centeredness cheaters display on this issue.

        I am VERY VERY sorry you are going through this and support you in spirit sticking to your guns.

        • All best to you, VH – will be keeping my fingers crossed for you and all of us to make it through this viral minefield!

    • there are TONS of agreements in ethical and consensual non-monogomy. cheaters like to abuse, betray, gaslight, mind fuck and deceive. I think CALLING it polyamory or something “evolved” or progressive is one hell of a mind fuck.

  • I’m thankful that’s something I have never fallen for.

    Probably because the men spouting that “not meant for monogamy” crap to me were usually unattractive creeps who oozed weirdo vibes and who couldn’t get ONE woman for themselves, let alone a multitude.

    I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint it, but now looking back, thanks to ChumpLady I can see it was all about their entitled ego ass and power.

    Keep dreaming, whackos!

  • Monogamy is not abuse. If you sign up to “forsake all others” in front of 200 or so witnesses, then do what it was you said you’d do. If you wanted a open relationship (not judging) then you should have said so at the beginning and before any commitment was made; you just needed to understand that the the other party to the agreement (me) would have every right to say “no.”

    If you decide to cheat and get caught out, don’t then try and unilaterally rewrite the marriage contract after the fact and in your favour. Telling me that “we will have to get divorced because you lack the emotional maturity to make an open marriage work” just makes you look like a dick.

    Unfortunately, Ex_Mrs LFFT had a habit of rewriting agreements in her favour after the fact. That’s just one reason why she is the Ex-Mrs LFTT.

    • Lfft: I totally agree that trying to convince a partner to accept cheating as a polyamory thing *after the fact* is totally a dick move. It happened to me too.

      But, I don’t believe that agreements need to be fixed forever. Sometimes mortgages need to be refinanced. At the beginning of my “trickle-week” for D-Day #2 in 2018, the very first thing my STBX said was, “how could I have known what it meant to be committed forever when I was 23?”

      Some people do know these things when they’re 23. Other people are works in progress. Though I would have been disappointed if STBX had approached me in our 40’s and said “I am unhappy with our monogamy,” I would have understood that I can’t control her, and it was time for some difficult conversations with mediators. Eventually, I would have seen kore evidence of her poor character, and probably decided that the marriage needed to end anyway. But all of that could have been done without the re-traumatizing cheating and manipulation. That’s what separates the adolescent from the mature adult: honest communication about changing understandings over time, and respect for a partner’s interests and autonomy, even if we can’t always do what other people want or expect of us.

      Sadly, I think it’s too much to expect that everyone has the same understanding of lifelong monogamy in their early 20’s. Doesn’t excuse cheating, though.

      • LC,

        Fully agree; my gripe is with those that revise agreements unilaterally, in their favour and after the fact, and then present you with a fait accomplis. A bit like her agreeing during our separation to fund our eldest daughter at University from her income, while I paid for the younger two at School out of my income. She then immediately cancelled her payments to our eldest daughter and set up a Standing Order against the joint account (where all of my pay and none of her pay went). She hid the bank statements, and so it took me months to work it out. And it didn’t stop her manipulating our eldest about the sacrifices she was making to keep her at University either. The sh*t really hit the fan when the eldest found our what her mother had done.

        Also, my Ex-Wife’s relationship with her AP (she now lives with him) is and always was entirely monogamous. Her “Open Marriage” pitch was quite clearly about avoiding responsibility for the inevitable consequences of her actions and placing the blame firmly at my feet. …… and because she is not a very nice person.

        • LFFT:
          Financial betrayal too! Your ex sounds like the whole package. And yes, moving goalposts depending on opportunities. I hate how that BS continues even after divorce, if there are kids in the picture. For myself, I’m just trying to get through Covid for now, hope that my STBX won’t be able to pull as much crap when I no longer have to entrust my health and safety to her (since we have kids traveling between houses).

          All best to you!

          • LC,

            Don’t get me started on her financial creativity. Unexplained £15K loans being paid for our of the joint account – check. Emptying the joint account on the way out and leaving me with all of the liabilities and no ability to cover them – check. Spending joint funds on her AP – check. Emptying youngest two children’s savings accounts, for which she was the trustee – check. And that’s just the stuff that springs to mind now; there was so much more dubious sh*t going on that I chose not to think about.

            Thankfully I had a very good legal team. I got a clean break and she had to swallow the £15K loan after; despite her lies, I proved to the judge that I hadn’t agreed to it and hadn’t benefitted from it. I had to write off the mess she made of the the joint account though. Eldest son has his money back and I’ll make damn sure the youngest daughter gets her money back when she turns 18.

            Like I said, she’s not a nice person. Interesting fact; by the time that our divorce was settled, even her legal team were refusing to speak to “that bl**dy woman” (her barrister’s words)!

  • Dear WonderaLoth, many dread getting older. Let me give you some reasons that when you get (a bit) older you’ll have realised some things that’ll make your life so much easier and happier.

    You’ll know your mind. You will clearly know monogamy (or polyamory or whatever) is your thing.

    You’ll be brave. As you’ll clearly know your mind you’ll have no problems sticking to it.

    You’ll immediately see through the people who’re trying BS on you. Still, you’ll politely reply, thank you, that’s not for me or, I’ll think about it (next century).

    You’ll immediately recognise when somebody is trying to shame you for not buying their BS and will pay zero attention to it.

    This will apply to all areas of your life. Over the weekend I bought myself a laptop. I got a really good value for money. This meant I had to say to the seller, but this one has better specs than that one. It also meant I said no when he tried to cross-sell me some BS and smiling politely when he tried to shame me by, I’ve never heard that people wouldn’t also buy anti-virus with a new laptop. I don’t know about other people but I do know how to download a free anti-virus and where to get much cheaper software.

    I love being older!

  • Thank you greatly for this CL♥️ I’ve been feeling like monogamy was going by the wayside the way I see 20sometjings operating… actually put some fear in me to get out there so vulnerable and weak with my expectations and boundaries. Yes so dorky. So “old”. I did have a 20 something say he didn’t think monogamy was possible and I though boy do you have a lot to learn. It reminds me of a bunch of scared, abandoned little rats out to get one another… I believe inGod I’ve been cheated on by my husband and even though he’s doing every “thing” I’m still not ok it still doesn’t sit right and I still know despite all his home cooked meals and back rubs that my HEART deserved better. My soul hurts and whatever hurts your soul is NOT ok please young lady who wrote this: we NEED YOU to stand up for yourself and what you want and believe in. Don’t give in to these societal “new norms” especially if it’s not in YOU♥️

    • Various “free love” communes and philosophies, poligamic unions, even martiages for a limited time have been around throughout human history. They’re absolutely nothing new.

      True, many marriages fail for various reasons but many people manage to stay monogamous. If monogamy was nothing and it’s not about the economics anymore, why would people marry at all?

  • Beware of anyone who tries to shame who you are, your values, your beliefs, your sexuality, your relationship preferences, your looks, your interests, your lifestyle and so on. Those people do NOT have your interests and well being at heart.

    It’s a bit ironic that these people are demanding that you accept their lifestyle while refusing to accept and respect yours.

    Cheating has nothing to do with polyamory or open marriage. It drives me crazy how much this is used and abused as a get out of jail free card by cheaters. Poly couples are HONEST and LOYAL to each other on a very deep emotional level. In fact, having other people enter their partnership makes that loyalty and honesty that much more critical. It’s really the very glue that makes those types of relationships work. Honesty necessarily means two people being honest from the get go about who they are, what their sexual preferences are and mutually choosing that lifestyle.

    Cheating, on the other hand, is all about deceit and when caught, yelling loudly “you are NOT my boss, you are imprisoning me in your monogamous expectations.” It’s gaslighting at its finest. Nobody forced this person to enter a monogamous relationship or lie about who they are. They actually enjoy the lies, the sneaking around and yeah…’s a one way street. What’s good for the goose is not acceptable for the gander.

    This is nothing to do with being open or open minded. It’s about lies, deceit, gaslighting and blame shifting. It’s about changing the narrative from “cheating low life” to “I’m not a cheater, I’m just a misunderstood soul trapped in a monogamous relationship”, aka a poor victim. There is just one giant flaw with that argument – nobody is ever trapped in a relationship. If you don’t like the terms, you are free to leave and find a partner that suits you better.

    There are no excuses for cheating and having an open relationship won’t protect you from being lied to, cheated on, or STI’s from a partner who is fundamentally dishonest and gets off on that dishonesty.

    • So true! Also I’ve talked with women who lived in parts of the world where they were coerced into marriages and their desire was for the freedom to MAKE THEIR OWN CHOICES AND HAVE THEM RESPECTED, not to end monogamy.

    • “Poly couples are HONEST and LOYAL to each other on a very deep emotional level. ”

      I suspect the cheating that goes on in those couples is pretty much at the same level as in monogamous marriages. It is the cheating that makes it fun, a cheater will cheat regardless of the vows made in a relationship.

    • Yes, real polyamory involves a lot of emotional maturity and rock-solid boundaries – things that a lot of people, regardless of age, haven’t really developed. People like Esther Perel who tout alternatives to “mating in captivity” seem to forget that part – and ignore the fact that someone who has cheated in the past is unlikely to be able to do the very hard work of real polyamory without serious self-scrutiny, and something tantamount to a personality transplant.

      I am in the LGBTQ+ community and have seen more polyamory than occurs in the general population, at least in the US. Unfortunately, I think the greater occurrence of polyamory or “monogamish” relationships in our community really confuses disordered people (like my STBX cheater) who have terrible boundaries. It will be vaguely interesting to see if STBX tries to get into the poly dating scene after we finalize the divorce, because I really don’t think she could handle not being the sole focus of attention for her partner. She needs the unadulterated ego supply (kibbles) too much.

  • Wow. I am really surprised how twisting and prescribing preferences, taste, and relationship needs are becoming mainstream. Of course, it is not abuse to want or insist on a monogamous relationship. It is an agreement and an expectation you enter a relationship with. If any of the partner want to change this, they need to have an honest conversation about this and get to a new agreement. This new agreement can be that the best approach is to go separate ways.

    Sigh. It is highly annoying to me how they shift the concept of abuse.

  • “…inflicting his preferences, insinuating you’re wrong for not liking it, or tricking you into a situation you don’t want to be in — is what makes him a jerk.” Chump Lady for the win, again!

    When I look for any red flags in my relationship of 25+ years, it always boils down to situations involving the above. Whenever I disagreed with my Ex, he would verbally attack me and imply something was wrong with me. I was never respected as a person who just happened to have a different opinion. He would resort to manipulation, trickery and deceit instead of resolving conflicts like an adult. He needed to control me, or a situation, at all costs. The most tragic part is he did/does the same with our girls. I wish I’d recognized the pattern sooner. My life with him was a series of trickle truths, even about the most mundane things. That’s the pattern of abuse right there, whether it involves infidelity or not.

  • Back in the 70s lesbians debated long and hard about whether monogamy was possession and ownership and abusive. Well that was appropriate at the time since it was an era of transitioning to a more egalitarian vision of relationships. Then four decades later the National Center for Lesbian Rights led the legal charge for same sex marriage. So as a lesbian I personally think that question has been put to rest.
    During my poly times I always found people who treated monogamy as incarceration to be distasteful. They were immature people who wanted to blame something and someone else for their choices and problems. I only was interested in people with good boundaries who respected others’ boundaries.
    Monogamy is a form of focus in a world where time and energy are finite. Some people such as monastics even choose to exclusively focus on their relationship with the divine to the exclusions of many types of relationships such as being a spouse / partner/ or parent. We all make choices that exclude other choices – careers, living in city A not city B, moving abroad vs living close to childhood friends. Mature people own their choices and openly and ethically negotiate and respect the boundaries around their choices and others’ choices.

    • Great response, Marianne. I spoke to my experience in the LGBTQ+ community in response to another post about polyamory above. I wish the question about the value of monogamy were settled: my STBX and her flying monkeys would probably disagree, but then they’re disordered.

      (From one lesbian to another: maybe we should require all new recruits to have boundary training before awarding the toaster! I have certainly known some zingers in my time, and was even married to one for 22 years.)

      • God I’m sorry for the BS you are dealing with. It’s hard because so many of us lack family support and the larger culture is still not that great.
        The trauma is real. I’ve been with current wife many years and I still need this site and community to remind me that I was not crazy during that time with ex. Hugs

  • When I was dating a man I loved, at some point I realized that being in “open” relationship with him meant that he usually came to me tired, and was unreachable when I wanted to connect with him or if I needed anything. That’s when I realized that monogamy was a better idea for a loving relationship.

    I just felt done with him, and he suddenly reinvented himself, saying it was for me and our relationship. In hindsight, I think it was more likely that he was running out of choices, money and energy trying to juggle more than one of us, and I simply was more useful at that time in his life, certainly I was more adoring. Being in a long term relationship with him was not a good use of several years of my life.

  • If I think I’m with rice pudding guy, I invest. Don’t pretend you’re rice pudding person and dabble in hot peppers in secret. Especially when you know that jar of peppers will cause our relationship to blow up in heartburn.
    It was a choice to get the jar, open it, and on and on. I’m allergic to hot peppers – cheater decided to hang out with OW hot pepper supplier.
    I don’t want to invest in heroin users either – don’t pretend you would never do drugs when you know you like the high too much.

    People who don’t want to invest exclusively in 1 person should find each other and stop benefiting from our dedication and love.

  • I’m going to break this down in parts in my own response here because I actually ended my marriage because my husband wanted to be poly and I did not.

    “Right now in mainstream media monogamy is being called outdated and regressive.”

    Correction: Right now poly communities are pushing into mainstream media, touting themselves as relationship “experts” and declaring a need for more representation because they think their relationship setup is better than monogamy. Ok, I’m sure you can tell the whole poly thing kinda pisses me off given my history, but for real though, polyamorists are not an oppressed group, but I have seen a good number of them act like it. I’ve also seen a good number of them talk about “being open and receptive and accepting of all types” of relationships, but they really mean “their” relationships, and extend no such grace to monogamy. I.E. The pressure you’re now feeling that motivated you to write to Chump Lady about this. The polyamorists who do not think this way and whom DO actually respect the choices of others tend to mind their business and not bother monogamists with that kind of stuff (I have a few poly friends who have only ever been supportive of me and my desire to be monogamous.)

    Pay attention to the message that’s being put out in mainstream media. Not all of it is good advice, and not all of it is something you have to apply to your own life.

    “If you want monogamous relationship you are deemed insecure, controlling, unloving and on…”

    This is the kind of ass-backwards manipulation you need to ignore. If a poly person tells you that being monogamous in and of itself makes you controlling, insecure, and unloving, they are PUSHING you to accept a relationship structure that makes you uncomfortable. That’s controlling. Not to mention it’s bad polyamory practice. Like CL said, polyamory doesn’t magically shield from underhanded people. You can still get cheated on. All it takes is boundaries to violate. Pressuring someone with guilting and put-downs counts as that. The poly friends I have who respect monogamists view this as a red flag, as they should. They don’t want to get involved with someone who can’t take “no” for an answer or who resorts to guilt trips and shaming when they don’t get what they want. It is toxic behavior.

    Don’t let toxic people define you or your relationship choices.

    “Is monogamy abuse?”

    No. Abuse is abuse. If anyone, poly or otherwise, tells you that monogamy itself is abuse, show them their walking papers. Chronic lying is abuse, chronic cheating and disrespect is abuse. Gaslighting, blameshifting, put-downs, and control is abuse. None of these things are inherently tied to monogamy. As I said above, polyamory is not a magic shield against any of these things. Poly people can still be underhanded, manipulative, deceitful, etc. There’s nothing about adding extra partners to the mix that somehow makes the whole thing immune to abusers. Relationship structures (two people, multiple people) do not determine abuse. The individuals do. Individual people choose to be abusive to their partners, or not. That is entirely about who they are and the decisions they make. NOT about whether they are poly or monogamous.

    “Do you think that humans are meant for monogamy?”

    Depends on the humans. I find the argument “Humans aren’t meant to be monogamous” to be another piece of pretentious word-salad. For one, it’s wrong. For another, monogamous life-pairing exists across several other species in the animal kingdom. Swans, macaws, beavers, etc. They mate for life. But I digress, if we’re going to talk human evolution, it points more toward partner-pairing. Humans had partners for protection. Not having a partner meant a higher likelihood of being killed by predators. This is also what gave way to humans forming small groups of family units. This is actually the basis of attachment psychology. Re: Your attachment style. (Secure, anxious, avoidant). Humans are absolutely meant to be partnered.

    But shoving aside all of that, regardless of what swans or macaws or beavers or cavemen did, I sure as hell am meant to be monogamous. What matters is what YOU feel you are meant to have. If you don’t feel you’re meant to have multiple rotating partners, you do not have to do that.

    “I feel so torn. I’ve never equated monogamy with abuse. I don’t want to control my partner or anything like that, but an awful lot of people think it is and that non-monogamy (especially polyamory) is the new way.”

    You should continue to not equate monogamy with abuse. Because it isn’t. As I said above, the chronic, repeated disrespect and mistreatment of a partner is abuse, and that has nothing to do with the relationship structure and everything to do with the choices of the individuals involved. And if someone tells you that monogamy by itself is abuse, this person is not a good partner for you (and probably not a good partner for a poly setup either because they just waved a pretty bright red flag.)

    It is not abusive to be upfront about what is and isn’t okay for you in a relationship. It is fine, even healthy, to have dealbreakers. Polyamory, for me, is a dealbreaker, therefore, I do not involve myself in poly setups. I also do not ask poly people to submit themselves to a monogamous setup with me. I’ve been called outdated, unevolved, “doing it the wrong way,” trapped, lost, and all kinds of garbage because of it. They can call me whatever they want. The truth is forcing yourself into a relationship structure in which the basic foundation is you sacrificing your personal values (I.E. loyalty to one partner) is already unhealthy and unfair. This is why I chose to end my marriage despite my husband telling me he would “stop” being poly. I knew that wasn’t what he really wanted. He wanted to have multiple partners, he still does to this day and we have been divorced for 5 years. Even if he had stopped openly sleeping with multiple women, I would still have known he would want to be doing that. It would have been asking him to sacrifice what HE really wanted for me. And there was just no way in hell I was ever going to be happy with being in a poly marriage. I was not going to sacrifice what I really wanted for him. One of us would always be miserable.

    Maybe I’m an old swamp hag but I think the best “way” is to find someone who’s values match yours where you can both exist in the relationship being fulfilled and loved.

    “People who are into non-monogamy especially polyamorous folks don’t seem to see anything good with monogamy.”

    So they can not engage in monogamous relationships. Simple as that. I don’t see anything good with poly relationships, thus, I do not engage in them.

    “Asking for a monogamous relationship for them is like putting the person you love in a cage.”

    So don’t ask a poly person for a monogamous relationship. To me, asking a monogamous person to be poly is like asking me if I want to fill my glove box with banana slugs. I prefer my glove box slug-free, thanks.

    “You are not evolved enough to pass through fear and jealousy and insecurity.”

    This is also a shame/guilt trip. And I can also tell you, poly people deal with all of these things too. If a poly person says they never feel fear, jealousy, or even insecurity, they are lying. Or they’re shoving these emotions down and pretending they don’t exist. Or both. But regardless, fear and insecurity shouldn’t be things you have to worry about in any relationship. Monogamous or not. And letting your partner sleep with multiple people isn’t a cure-all for those things.

    “Do you think that they are right?”


    “As someone in her 20s I don’t know what to do.”

    You are very young still, and at an age where it is vital to learn healthy relationship boundaries. Do not, not, not NOT let ANYONE pressure, push, guilt, or manipulate you into participating in a relationship that makes you uncomfortable.

    “Should I give my partner(when I will have one) an open relationship?”

    Not if that isn’t something you want. I’ll keep repeating it so it sinks in: Do NOT let ANYONE push you into a relationship that makes you uncomfortable. If you don’t want an open relationship, you do NOT have to agree to one.

    “So that they can be truly themselves? Even if I know I will not be comfortable in this relationship?”

    I (and many, many other people on CL) don’t need to sleep with multiple partners to truly be ourselves. Personally, I don’t think anyone really *needs* continuous rotating partners to truly be themselves. But, if someone says “I am polyamorous, this is me, this is how I want my relationships to be” you have every right to say NO. That person is not for you. You do not have to sacrifice your needs to allow them to “be themselves.” They absolutely can go “be themselves” elsewhere. My ex husband can go ahead and be himself with all his other girlfriends and (…I’m not kidding) three wives ELSEWHERE.

    But you, too, can go be yourself. Saying no to an open relationship means you are also free to be with someone who wants an exclusive relationship. They exist. You are allowed to say “I’m monogamous, this is me, this is how I want my relationships to be.” Once more with feeling: Never let someone else push or pressure you into a relationship that makes you uncomfortable.

    • Quite a lot of people equate ‘having boundaries’ with ‘being controlling’. Ironically, poly people ha be quite a lot of rules and might appear very controlling to monogamous people. For example, poly people must know and agree with the new partner. Seems very controlling to me but what do I know. I do me and other people should do them.

      • Right? Having boundaries or deal breakers doesn’t make you controlling, and allowing your partner to do whatever they want regardless of how you actually feel isn’t evolved.

        Toxic people don’t want poly/open relationships, they want no rules, no boundaries, and no responsibility or accountability, and they’ll tell you you’re toxic for wanting even one modicum of respect.

        When I was *trying* to make the poly setup in my marriage work, I never felt more controlling or rule-bound in my life. I never felt more like I was playing marriage police. Where was my husband this time? Who was he with tonight? Who is this new woman in my house? Who is this woman showing up on his facebook? HOW many people are you out with? Where’s your wedding ring? And on and on…it was so much.

        I feel so much less controlling and complicated in a monogamous relationship.

  • Wonderalot- you bring up one of the issues that I find most frustrating in today’s world and that is the role the mainstream media has in fostering cheaters and denigrating chumps. You are absolutely right in your observation and it can be hard to take CL’s wise words to heart when you are made to feel that you are wrong for wanting a monogamous relationship. It’s true that it’s been something that has been a mainstream fad in the past, as CL points out, but I do feel it has hit a peak like I have never before seen in the 21st century. As someone who searched for years for monogamy and found someone I thought was my soulmate, with the perfect American dream and two beautiful children, only to have it ripped to shreds by a double life, I have seen both sides of this story. It seems to me that what may once have been a speed bump in a marriage is now a society-sanctioned excuse to bail. The message that sex is the most important thing in a relationship and that it is a manifestation of intimacy and love clashes with the message that “it’s just sex” when someone cheats. The priority placed on sexual identity over all else has met with this contradictory messaging and somehow polyamorous becomes a protected group and monogamous is lumped in with the list of “privileged oppressors”. I think it’s shameful to hide unwillingness to commit (something that many young people have always had) under the umbrella of sexual orientation. I think it’s shameful for society to create a narrative that makes the desire to have sex with many people at the same time, or any other less than traditional sex, such an important and defining characteristic of a person that it supersedes all other commitments a person may have made. Well…you can’t expect them to stay in a marriage if they really identify as polyamorous and they don’t want to hide their need for a constant stream of wannabe porn-stars. It’s BS. Stay strong and ignore them. You can’t learn to like polyamory if you don’t. You want monogamy and you deserve it. You can find that person, but my experience tells me they’re not on dating apps–you’re young and once the world opens up and you can go out and be with people, you’ll find that person who thinks you are enough.

  • I can think of many other things that are worth it, but not always glamorous fun or exciting.
    How about raisin children? Should 20 somethings decide it’s not natural to give up our desires for free time, self expression, more money, a calm existence, freedom etc.
    So very glad I dedicated myself to my children; especially now in covid times with a cheater Ex.
    I’m sure people who commit to their marriages reap the benefits in the long run and are happy that they sacrificed some simple momentary pleasures for the bigger picture of deep love, financial stability, support, family, a life long best friend with sexual benefits and true connection.

  • “Polyamorists can be cheated on. All it takes is to have an agreed upon set of rules. And one person to unilaterally break them. There are polyamorist chumps.”

    Raising hand. Anyone else in this camp?

    • Not personally but I have friends who are. My “open marriage” friends broke up because there was lack of honesty so often. In a nutshell, he had a long term girlfriend, but over time, that girlfriend wanted to be monogamous with him because she didn’t like him “cheating” on her with his wife (and others). It eventually blew up and his left his wife for the girlfriend at her insistence.

      Other friends, a married lesbian couple, both “dated” a woman together. After about a year, my friend paired off with the other woman and they excluded her wife. So, they essentially “cheated” by cutting her out of the triangle. Devastating as she had a baby and now she’s the one alone.

      • Not me as well, but a poly friend experienced something on the other end. She was seeing a guy she really liked, was head over heels for him. He had another long term partner (I’ll say LTP for simplicity.) The long term partner did know about my friend. My friend tried multiple times to be communicative to her, reached out, offered to get to know her, even opened up to discuss concerns or issues that the LTP had, all of it was to no avail. LTP decided she didn’t want to be poly anymore and issued an ultimatum which resulted in the man leaving my friend and moving several states to go be with LTP exclusively and that was it.

        Ultimately I think what it comes down to is eventually, there reaches a point where someone expects a long term commitment. Be it a side partner, a spouse, long term partner, whatever. The juggling of multiple people reaches a boiling point. I’ve seen numerous poly marriages end in divorce. Poly relationships, if you’re going to live that lifestyle, here to come with short term expectations. Otherwise you’re going to find yourself in a tough spot between partners who want something more solid.

  • I love CL’s comment that it seems as if the polyamorous crowd focuses on sex alone, as if that defines relationships, and not on the bulk of what’s involved in a relationship (like getting kids to the orthodontist).

    But about that idea that you need to push yourself through discomfort to become “more evolved.” In the late 1970s I worked at Boulder Bookstore, in Boulder, CO, which at the time was owned by a couple involved in the Boulder Tibetan Buddhist community. Many of the people I worked with there at the bookstore were members of this community. Many of the people I worked with saw the purpose of Buddhism as creating a stable center at the center of a chaotic universe, and they seemingly cultivated chaotic lives of high drama precisely so they could “evolve.” Working with them was a nightmare. Far from rising above the “noise” of the world, they were overcome by it. Many of them were miserable and involved in petty disputes in the Buddhist community (and I mean petty, like who would help “Lady Diana,” the partner of the “Rinpoche,” into bed at night). I finally decided that far from seeking serenity and living a life by Buddhist principles, what they wanted was to convey the idea they were superior people living a superior life. I am now wary of anyone who wants to claim the high ground of “more evolved.”

    If someone tries to pressure you into a situation in which you are uncomfortable (that goes against your instincts/values), or wants to make you feel lesser than because such a situation makes you uncomfortable, the most self-protective and healthy thing you can do is to put as much distance between that person and you as you can.

    • Haha, been there, seen it more than a few times. There are a lot of flaky people out there with a strong desire to attach themselves to the latest “cool thing,” only to become so disallusioned when it doesn’t magically shape them into the superior, eniligtened, sophisticated person they thought it would. The homily “wherever you go, there you are” comes to mind.

    • UXWorld mentioned the HBO series “The Vow” above, about NXIVM (multilevel marketing scheme self-help org) with its embedded sex cult sorority DOS. The episode that came out last night, entitled “The Wound” really delved into how NXIVM and its leader Keith Raniere drove home the message that we need to work through discomfort in order to evolve. Guess which members were made most uncomfortable? The women, of course, many of whom were being groomed to join Raniere’s harem – but even if they weren’t being groomed, he just got off on watching them squirm. He admits, quite freely, in various taped segments, to having developed misogyny as a young boy.

      Anyway, it just reminded me that anytime anybody tries to tell you to just work through your discomfort or else you’re not being sophisticated enough or whatever, it’s time to walk away. My STBX tried to do the polyamory mindfuck on me after D-Day #2 – we’re both women, and polyamory is more prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community. STBX called me “judgey” at one point, and claimed that she is poly as a matter of innate sexual orientation. I’m sure STBX did indeed feel very judged by me, when I was showing signs of trauma after D-Day #2. But I don’t need to set my boundaries based on what she thinks – she happens to be disordered, rather than innately poly (in my view), but it doesn’t matter either way. I was not okay with her cheating, and I certainly wasn’t okay with the blameshifting and minimizing afterward. Time to walk away!

  • Let me go in another direction here.

    Wonder A Lot writes: “Right now in mainstream media monogamy is being called outdated and regressive.”

    Right now, in mainstream media people are arguing about playing NFL football in a pandemic, over whether a Supreme Court nomination should go forward, whether we should be wearing perfume in 2020 or whether bread makes you fat. There were mainstream media reviewers who gave bad reviews to Jaws, The Godfather, Shawkshank Redemption and the Wizard of Oz. There was a reporter who wrote this about the Beatles in 1964: “They’re a strange looking lot, I thought. What with those funny-looking mod suits and pudding bowl haircuts, they could have been aliens from another planet.” And if you watch HGTV, you might feel your granite countertops are fairly regressive in the age of quartz (not to mention old-school laminate) or that you are hopelessly out of touch if you don’t have that open concept or a double sink vanity. If I had a double-sink vanity, the toilet would be in the hall.

    I spend a good bit of time smacking actual “mainstream media” people around for poor framing, for “both siding,” for covering elections like horse races, for bad faith, for tiptoeing around racism or Nazism. So I have my own critique of the “mainstream media, which is like every other cultural institution–subject to market forces, cultural bias, and idiocy. But while a smart and well-written analysis or excellent reporting may influence my thinking, I don’t lose my mind or question my values every time some media jackass expresses a stupid opinion.

    One of the keys to happiness is to become more inner-directed, less inclined to care too much about the opinions of others, whether your X’s mother or “mainstream media.” That’s not to say that we shouldn’t read, listen to, and learn from others; that’s not to say that even what seems like a bedrock identity can’t change when we learn something new. For example, after years of using good-smelling body wash, I recalled what the college nurse told me years ago and went back to Dial soap. When a friend made a good critique of room-sweeping robots, I decided to do more research before I get one.

    What I mean is that someone writing that monogamy is “insecure, controlling, unloving” is going to crash and burn on the altar of common sense and core values. It’s no “insecure” to expect people to keep their promises, or “controlling” to enter into a mutual agreement, or “unloving” to want to have only one baby daddy. People spend tens of thousands on weddings. TV is full of shows about finding love, finding a wedding dress, judging which wedding is better, and whether newly released inmates and their pen pals are soul mates. Love songs, romantic comedies, Nicholas Sparks movies, The Bachelor…it doesn’t take long to see that the majority opinion is in favor of love and commitment, even if it seems elusive.

    It’s fine for the Esther Perels (and certain other wannabe sexperts) to express their ideas on love, marriage, infidelity or whatever. The hopeful young people I saw get married on Saturday are putting their bet on monogamy. The minister they had was a last minute substitute, but he gave a rousing endorsement of what it means to sign up to be someone else’s rock in chaotic, uncertain world and how essential it is to keep your word. He said that. Keep your word, even when it’s difficult.

    There’s nothing wrong with thinking about alternative views. That keeps us from holding on to received opinions or ending up in a cult. But fix your picker for what you take in, whether it’s from some Switzerland friend or a writer in the NY Times. Consider the source.

    • LAJ, I love your wisdom. Thank you so much for every one of your posts. “Keep your word, even when it is difficult.” That really resonated with me. And chumps are someone else’s rock. Too bad that cheaters refuse to reciprocate.

  • I always considered monogamy to be a gift. I still believe that, and won’t be changing because that is the ‘trend’.

    My ex actually cited my dedication to the marriage as the reason why he wanted us to become swingers, and tried to make it out to be a compliment to me. He said I made him feel secure enough in our marriage and my dedication to him, that he knew I wouldn’t stray outside of the club environment. It also appealed to him that I’d be screwing other men just because my husband asked me to, and that I wouldn’t enjoy it. He seriously expected that I would be complimented and empowered by my him pimping me out to other men.

    • Controlling you, in other words. And people who get off on controlling are not people to associate with. That he both wanted to control you and got off on the idea you’d hate it makes him a sadist, too. Glad you got away.

  • X certainly wasn’t about monogamy, I just didn’t know it. Until later. Now I am free of it and reflecting back, monogamy was right for me. Getting used by a user abuser cheater fraud was less ideal. It took me a long time to learn what is what. Some people learn sooner; some never learn. My life needs my attention now especially after all the years of catering to and placating a cheating lying “nice guy” asshole. He never intended to be monogamic, nor was he, from the beginning to the end. Schmoopie (I call her Number 19) gets to have that learning experience now. Or maybe not. X is older now and more miserable, so his options are narrowing. I’m glad he found someone else to sponge off of instead of the kids.

    I really don’t care about X. He’s not a part of my pod or my world.

  • I find that kids tend to be a good litmus test. My STBXH’s cousin was in a swinger marriage. She, of course, saw more action the he did (ouch). From a very young age, neither of their daughters approved of her lifestyle and openly told her how embarrassing her actions were. Both daughters grew up to have traditional, monogamous marriages.

  • I’m annoyed at the idea that non-monogamous people want to get married. Why? By definition it means you don’t want to be committed to someone if you want to fuck around. It’s like putting a square peg in a round hole. If you don’t want to commit to someone and what that entails, then don’t. But don’t marry a poor, unsuspecting person that gives you their whole heart, sacrifices their own desires (or as people have said here, being attracted is okay just not acting on it), and does all the adulting for you. I’m fucking angry that my husband did this to me – he married me and faked it for 25 years while he was out screwing whoever he wanted to screw, spent our money on his other women, which took away time and resources from our marriage. Why did he get married to me? Instead, he should have set himself up as a bachelor and hired a live-in housekeeper who cooks, cleans, gardens, does laundry and is a general personal assistant. That way, the assistant would be paid and she wouldn’t get hurt. I think getting married to someone when you don’t want to be monogamous is abuse, not the other way round. Every single person on here has been the recipient of that. If you want to fuck randoms your whole life – great! Just don’t get married and don’t couple up with an unsuspecting soul who you have every intention of hurting because of your selfish desires.

    I gave my husband permission to experiment a little bit, thinking he was having a “midlife crisis” and needed to get it out of his system. Turns out he had been cheating on me for years anyway, and this was his manipulative way of bringing me in on it. He got a girlfriend, abandoned me, and said it was my fault because I gave him permission.

    • Me too, FMA — except I don’t have any evidence or suspicion that mine was cheating on me for very long before she asked for an agreement to experiment.

      For her, it was supposedly part of some kind of “great awakening” that she decided she had to act on. She even called it “sort of midlife crisis, I guess . . .”

      But, as with you, it was no more/no less than an act of manipulation, so that she could throw up her hands and say “Hey, you agreed . . .” when her behavior became particularly egregious (and deceptive).

      So why get married in the first place? Because we’re nothing but objects/appliances in their world — merely a way of getting something they want (children, income, status, validation that he/she is a good person, etc.) in a way the world will accept. When we don’t provide that benefit anymore (at least not in the way they want, once they’ve tired of us), they give themselves permission to get it elsewhere.

      • I felt like I was just the placeholder until something better came along. Threw me away like yesterday’s trash. That’s abuse! Sorry you had this shit too.

  • To WonderALot,

    I’m happy for you that you are asking these questions now before it’s too late. I second (third, fourth whatever) what everyone else has said here. Of course monogamy is not abuse. I especially like Velvet Hammer’s idea to substitute “keeping agreements” for “monogamy.” That’s spot on!

    This particular topic couldn’t not have come at a better time for me. You see, in an effort to gain a life and avoid curling up in a fetal position, I’ve been trying to do new things, pandemic permitting.

    Besides getting more involved in politics, I joined a local hiking group. And I’m not a joiner, so this is a big deal for me.

    On the last two hikes, two different men gave me that same monogamy-is-so-unnatural BS. I was also warned about being “so bitter.” In response to my saying that my ex cheated on me, one said, “Who doesn’t?” I answered, “Me. I don’t. I didn’t. Did you?” I actually didn’t listen for a response. At the end of the hike, he asked me out. Hard no!

    This morning I was about to look up what CL has said about monogamy, so I’d be armed next time. I was ready to look through the archive when this post popped up. Great timing! Thanks again to CL and for the collective wisdom of CN! Thanks to WonderALot for asking these question.

    • “I was also warned about being “so bitter.” In response to my saying that my ex cheated on me, one said, “Who doesn’t?” I answered, “Me. I don’t. I didn’t. Did you?” I actually didn’t listen for a response. At the end of the hike, he asked me out. Hard no!”

      lol, yeah sure that’s a way to get someone to date you, by implying that everyone cheats. I mean at least he’s honest that he would, but it’s definitely the sort of person to stay away from.

  • If the question is “is monogamy abuse?’ my answer would be a hard no. Abuse happens when your own will and choice is taken away. If a person decides they are monogamous or polyamorous, that is their choice. They have a right to choose without undue influence. If marriage is an act of free will coupling, the two who enter the marriage are making vows to each other. If they promise to be faithful only to each other, that is the deal between two consenting adults. The abuse happens when one of the two is lying. If there is a change of heart, later, the abuse happens when the change is not revealed. If you choose to cheat, you are a cheater. It is not your decision to remain monogamous, or your decision to become polyamorous that is abuse. It is the lying and the cheating that is abuse.

    There are cultural and historical norms, and some religious beliefs, which take away the free will of one of the partners. If you are forced to “marry” someone due to these circumstances, you never had a meeting of the mind, or an agreement. If there comes a time that the unwilling partner seeks to escape the enslavement of that situation, and exercise their own free will, that is a totally different subject than what we are talking about here.

    Blatant abuse takes place when you cannot choose. If someone is kidnapped, raped, tortured, murdered — they did not choose. The more subtle version of abuse is when we allow outside social forces to convince us to do things we do not want to do, or those forces tell us we are wrong for not choosing to behave the way they do.

    I see subtle abuse all the time. It makes me a bit crazy, and discouraged. I usually see it with young women, but it can happen to young men, too. It is a social pressure to behave in a manner that is not comfortable for the young person in an effort to “fit in”, or be isolated as punishment. Usually drugs and/or alcohol are used to dissolve inhibitions, or the ability to choose. If you will not be invited to a party where “all the kids” will be, unless you allow a fellow you do not know to take a picture of your breasts as an entrance fee, you are being abused. If you are told to “drink up” or take unknown pills when you arrive at the party, you are being abused. If you wake up the next morning and discover you had several sexual partners, perhaps were filmed, and have a raging hangover or a blackout experience, you were abused. This “party” culture is not about fun, or exuberance. It is exploitation. It is playing on fear of social isolation. It is putting young people in dangerous situations where they are incapable of making an informed decision. It is clearly predatory abuse.

    If you are a fully formed adult, and another adult tells you that your sexual preferences or norms are abusive to him because he does not want to be monogamous, that is a crock. He is being abusive. You, and he, have the right to choose whether or not you want to be sexual partners. If he lies to you in order to have the sexual relationship he wants, that is abuse. As an adult, you have the right to choose. Other people are entitled to their opinions about what is right or wrong for them. They do not get to choose what is right or wrong for you.

    It takes character to choose to be alone, or enjoy privacy. It is not he same thing to be forced into isolation. We may instinctively be “pack” animals, used to living in our tribe. But if the tribe rules are not your rules, it is time to leave and find your own tribe of like minded people. You may be alone for awhile, but there is no comfort in being a lemming when you are falling over the edge of a cliff. Tribe rules have always used shunning to keep free thinkers in line. Shunning is powerful, and it is abuse. The hard part is deciding what you believe, and choosing to act on your belief, even if you might be shunned, or deemed “unpopular” for doing so.

    I personally do not care what the media, or polyamorous folks, or any other group of people decide to “think” about me. I only care when they try to control my actions or ability to live as I choose. As long as I am clear about believing monogamy is best for me, I am not abusing anyone. It is only when I deceive another about my beliefs, and actions, that I become abusive. Others are free to congregate and practice their beliefs, as long as they don’t lie to me, or keep me from practicing mine. Abuse is taking away your free will to live your life according to your own beliefs.

  • Love this article, Tracy!

    Anyone who is interested in polyamory really needs to understand the health risks. Not all STD’s can be controlled, especially not cancerous forms of HPV.
    Gardasil is supposed to solve this issue, but it’s not effective for most people over 30 and it’s also proving not as effective even in younger populations. Some forms of HPV bring with them cervical cancer, anal cancer, penile cancer, vaginas cancer, and throat cancer.
    Condoms do not prevent HPV from spreading. And dental dams also don’t prevent cancerous HPV from infecting others and spreading. Anyone over 30, is SOL.

    Now let’s get into bacterial biomes. Each of us have our own unique bacterial biomes on our skin, mouths, and private parts. When a person engages in oral sex or other types of sex, a new bacterial biome comes along for the ride.

    In the end, if I am going to be swapping things that grow in Petri dishes, it will be with one person, in a long term, monogamous relationship. Otherwise, I will stay single. The thought of being exposed to thousands of different bacterial biomes makes me want to run away in horror.

    Just my opinion.

    Everyone else can do as they please, just do not involve me.

    My ex gave me cervical cancer due to his affair. The treatment involved compromising both my life and my ability to have children. This is simply NOT okay. If someone wants to have an affair, please warn the other partner so they can decide if a straying partner is worth risking one’s life over. It’s not worth risking ones life over. But, since he was a liar, I had no opportunity to decide what was right for me. If I had known, I would have gladly “freed him” from the monogamy cage. He was NOT worth it; he was not so magnanimous or wonderful that I would have risked my life for him.

    I wish he just would have been honest so that I could decide what worked for me. Instead, he lied and cheated and I could have died. NOT WORTH IT.

    • Sarah P, that is fascinating and frightening. The Bible says that when you lay with someone, your flesh becomes one with theirs, it is a warning against promiscuity. You join in their body, in a bad way, Wow.

    • Sarah P. That is absolutely disgusting and I’m sorry he did that to you. What a complete POS. I’m so horrified of what these cheaters do. My ex told me that he got a girlfriend so that it’s safer for me – the hookers and the casual S&M fucks at clubs he was having was too risky. So, the girlfriend was his solution so that it was both less health risk and less reputational risk. Funny as he was explaining this to me that it never occurred to him that he could just STOP fucking other people besides his loyal wife. Alas, that was not an option. They are truly without morals. I’m so sorry about your story.

      • And how many men was your husband’s “girlfriend” spreading her legs for ?
        Such selfish and destructive stupidity

  • Sure, let’s throw away OUR own preferences and values in hopes of keeping another person happy.

    Or gee, maybe we could find a person who shares our values.

  • Your question interests me, WonderALot, because I work with young adults (late teens to twenties), and I see some new patterns in their concerns about relationships. One issue is the value of monogamy.

    Currently, it is easy to talk about sexual experimentation in terms of multiple partners and kinds of attraction. Some people find this liberating, but others feel judged because they don’t have a desire to experiment. They don’t want to “hook up” with anyone. They don’t want to explore their attraction to men/women.

    Women who feel this way say they get labeled as prudes or close minded. Young men feel like their masculinity is questioned if they express a preference for having a single partner. But what is striking is how many of these people I see. They probably are not the ones at the bars and big parties ordering shots (well, assuming anyone could go to a bar anymore).

    The best thing you can do for your own case is to be clear and direct about your desire for monogamy. The guy suggesting you have a one-night stand with him may sneer, but the two or three other guys within earshot will probably be relieved to hear you share their preferences. Ignore the loud ones whining about cages. Pay attention to the ones who aren’t talking about how they need their space and how women who expect monogamy are oppressive–there are more people quietly looking for like-minded monogamists than you might think.

  • When went through this analysis I read a book that was a very well thought out perspective of people going through this process. I highly recommend it for anyone who is questioning monogamy.

    The Truth, Neil Strauss takes on his greatest challenge yet: Relationships. And in this wild and highly entertaining ride, he explores the questions that men and women are asking themselves every day:

    Is it natural to be faithful to one person for life? Do alternatives to monogamy lead to better relationships and greater happiness? What draws us to the partners we choose? Can we keep passion and romance from fading over time?

  • Monogamy is fine, as well as being poly. The problem occurs when one party didn’t sign up for something, and if you’re hiding it and doing it behind a partner’s back you know you’re breaking their trust, otherwise you’d be open about it.

    I think hook up culture nowadays made it easier for people not to commit. If they don’t want to, that’s their choice and it’s fine. But it’s about mutuality, consent and respect. You both have to agree to be poly, and you both have to agree to be monogamous. I think it’s impossible to force someone to be either of these things if they don’t want to, so it is indeed not abuse.

  • Dating in the modern age…for guys. If a woman believes you want monogamy with her…your value will diminish in her eyes. She’ll be thinking there is something with higher value out there. If she wants monogamy with you as well, then it might work out as long as she believes you can let her go. It’s a power game.

  • Funny how that an agreement of exclusivity is seen as controlling by the non-monogamy brigade, but not any of the other thousands of agreements that any kind of realtionship can have. Why this one thing?

    Also, implying that someone is insecure for not wanting an non-monogamous relationship is the equivalent of calling them chicken.

  • Monogamous people (or people who end up in monogamous relationships) make up 98+ percent of Western society, and are roughly 100% of people in power claim to be monogamous.

    All the laws are you monogamy’s favour. We have to beg and scheme to see our partners in the hospital, or to get visas for our loved ones when a pandemic sends us all to different corners of the world. Every one of our systems holds up monogamy.

    You are not the oppressed people here. The mainstream media is not demonising monogamy. Stop trying to be a victim.

  • “What I wonder about with polyamory is the escapist nature of it. I’ve joked about it, how come the only thing people want to share is sex? Doesn’t anyone want to drive my son to his orthodontist appointment or check in on my mother’s knee surgery?”

    But we do! We are there for our partners all the time, whenever we can be! Where does this weird notion that we only share sex come from? It isn’t true of literally any polycule I’ve ever seen. Most of polyamory is talking and acts of service, just like with mono couples.

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