Who really values monogamy in a relationship?

By Guest Author Kelly Pullin

What if sexual monogamy wasn’t the only type of monogamy considered?  Who is to say that lack of emotional monogamy isn’t just as detrimental to a relationship as lack of sexual monogamy?

Old picture of two cute dogsSchmookler and Bursi explored the gender perspectives about monogamy, surveying 53 women and 34 men currently in relationships.  Their attitudes were measured on four dimensions: value of emotional monogamy, value of sexual monogamy, perceptions of monogamy as relationship enhancing, and perceptions of monogamy as a sacrifice.  The results of each dimension influenced the satisfaction of one’s relationship. The results indicated that both men and women considered monogamy a relationship enhancer, but only men considered monogamy as some kind of sacrifice. Women were found to value both emotional and sexual monogamy more than men.   In addition, they found that women were more likely to be unfaithful to their partners emotionally while men were more likely to be sexually unfaithful.

The main aspect to take away from this study is the statement that men and women who value both sexual and emotional monogamy in their relationship report to be a lot happier. It would be hypocritical if one was to be angry at the thought of his or her partner committing sexual infidelity while he or she is emotionally involved with someone other than his or her partner. All aspects of monogamy are equal, and all aspects of monogamy work together in a relationship. To have a healthy and successful relationship one must have both the emotional and sexual factors in tact.

Publicly, the emotional disloyalty in a relationship is not talked about or valued near as much as the sexual side of things.  But this emotional side needs to be exposed and cherished.  This study reinforces the understanding of differences between men and women.  Men are drawn to more sexual desires, while women are looking to be in a relationship with a lot of emotional love.  Both men and women should maintain awareness of their natural desires when entering a relationship.  Characteristics that are natural and subconscious can be hard to overcome, but ultimately getting past this barrier in a relationship will make the relationship stronger and satisfying in the end.

Schmookier, T. & Bursik, K. (2007).  The value of monogamy in emerging adulthood: A gendered perspective.  Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24, 819-835

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Michael Rabby, PhD, serves as a consultant, author & professor specializing in social media, relationship building, and statistics-based research. Here, I muse about these things, along with the occasional comment about music, sports, and whatever else strikes my fancy. After all, it is still communication.