Is monogamy unrealistic?

<p>I am asking sincerely, not in a sarcastic way. Every time I hear of a new scandal (Arnold and Maria being the latest) I wonder about this. Is monogamy just impossible for some people?
If so, why get married, pledge to forsake all others and bring children into a family if you don't really mean or can't fulfill your vow?</p>

<p>Fourteen years ago my spouse had an affair. Even though we reconciled and have moved on with our lives, I think there is a part of me that will never get over what happened. No one knows (except our marriage counselors) and my children have no idea. I deeply love my spouse and am grateful for all the hard work we both have done to reconcile and forgive.
I am married to an amazing person. But my heart will always have a hole I can't heal. I've prayed and prayed to be able to completely release this pain, but it never totally goes away.
And from what is in the news, I am sadly in good company.</p>

<p>
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I've prayed and prayed to be able to completely release this pain, but it never totally goes away.

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I wonder if people would have affairs if they knew someone they loved would feel like that.</p>

<p>I think monogamy IS realistic.</p>

<p>Monogamy is realistic. However, it requires a maturity many people lack. It requires respect for the partner, as well as self-control. With billions of people on this planet, it is certainly possible to be tempted by the fruit of another ... but that doesn't mean one needs to act on one's impulses.</p>

<p>And yes, you are in good company. I have known many, many people who strayed. A good number of them claimed to love their spouses. I never could understand how they could do that to someone they loved.</p>

<p>Damaris, I don't know you, so I am only guessing as to the cause of the hole in your heart. I suspect, though, that you may need to learn to love yourself before that hole will heal. Have you received counseling for yourself ... not for your relationship, but for YOU?</p>

<p>I do enjoy looking at fruits of another from time to time. But I never touch that fruit. :)</p>

<p>In the U.S., serial monogamy is the norm. In other places, various forms of polygamy. I've seen them both work reasonably "realistically".</p>

<p>biologically, it is unnatural (isn't it?).</p>

<p>At least, I always thought it was. Perhaps that is not accurate though.</p>

<p>Man has the unique ability to reason, rather than to be ruled by biology. </p>

<p>I can't get that dumb song out of my mind now ...</p>

<p>Hi, just hijacked my son's pseudonym to post this...My wife and I just celebrated 21 years of monogamy. We were both virgins when we married (even though all the world was saying it was impossible,even back then!): she, 24; me, 28. Thanks to abiding by the principles of love through Jesus Christ. My wife said she wanted to give herself as a pure gift to her husband to be. I simply wanted to honor woman by treating them as a chivalrous man. And of course, we were committed to honoring God with the body He gave us. And we are so pleased to not have other bodies by whom we might compare. Sorry if this sounds proud. It is only a celebration!</p>

<p>Christian polygamy is quite common in East Africa.</p>

<p>IBWarrior, my sincere congratulations to you and your wife. I must tell you though, fourteen years ago I could have written an almost identical post about my own marriage of seventeen years. I never thought something like this would ever happen in our relationship. And as much pain as it has caused me, my husband feels enormous guilt and has probably not forgiven himself. There are no words to describe how humbling this has been for both of us.</p>

<p>I don't think we can say that monogamy is impossible for everyone; as we all know, some people have more trouble with it than others. However, I think there are some people who enter into monogamous relationship fully intending to commit to it and later on end up straying, as well as some people who enter into those relationships realizing that they won't be able to commit but deciding to pretend anyway for reasons of their own (family pressure, pressure from the other partner, general callousness, short-sightedness).</p>

<p>EDIT: I guess I think of it like dieting. There are a lot of people who can commit to fitness and make it their way of life for the rest of their lives. There are others who stick to it for months or years but end up straying for whatever reason. and then you have those people who hop from fad diet to fad diet, swearing each time that this time they'll do whatever Jenny Craig or South Beach or whoever else tells them, all while eyeballing that sexy hunk of fried cheesecake.</p>

<p>While the numbers are relatively hard to come by, in the U.S. roughly 40-43% of first heterosexual marriages, 60% of second marriages, and 70% of third marriages end in divorce. If you add people who had long-term relationships but didn't do the marriage thingey, the rates of serial monogamy are even higher. (This puts aside those who have a little on the side, and stay together for whatever reason; it also ignores non-hetero couples). So monogamy may be realistic, but what is somewhat less realistic is "monogamy" with one person.</p>

<p>(Full disclosure: I'm married to the same person four times, with four different anniversary dates, without a single divorce. You don't want to know...)</p>

<p>My husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary week after next. We went through a rough patch, but I'm so glad we worked it out! Our relationship is better than it's ever been. Monogamy is definitely realistic. We took our vows very seriously. We promised each other that we would never use the word "divorce," even in the heat of battle.</p>

<p>There have been times when I wondered if this was the right guy, but I could never see myself jumping into bed with someone else (my electrician? my sports trainer? my doctor?). Unlike IBWarrier, I had relationships when I was younger and don't have any need to go back to those days. We just celebrated, hmmmm, at least 26 years together.</p>

<p>Doesn't it all come down to your personal morals and self-respect when confronted with temptation? (and respect for your spouse and other family members)</p>

<p>I don't think it's unrealistic, but unfortunately, one can only control the behavior of one half of the couple. I am as postive as one can be that neither my husband, nor I have ever cheated in a marriage of over 30 years and if we haven't by now, there's a good chance we never will. But stranger things have happened.</p>

<p>On the other hand, I do know for a fact that if he were to cheat, it would be over. That "hole" in the relationship that others have spoken of would never heal. It's not lack of self esteem that would make me hang on to the hurt, it is good self esteem that makes me think I don't deserve to be treated that way.</p>

<p>I just think given the handful of species that are naturally monogamous, it's highly unlikely homo sapiens is one of them. Was it Margaret Mead who came up with the idea of a 20-year contract? That couples should get together for ~20 years, raise their families, then re-consider and renew the option or separate.</p>

<p>Well, in that case, my husband and I would re-up. We are at 29 years and still very strong. Yes, I realize that something could change but I strongly doubt it. We both thank God and our lucky stars every day that we have each other.</p>