Everything you know about monogamy might be wrong

Jessica Brown@Jessica_E_Brown
Saturday 25 March 2017 14:00
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Picture:( Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

While we're sometimes unfaithful in relationships, monogamy is the baseline for many people, it’s what many expect and strive for.

Polygamy and open relationships are of course perfect as well, but the majority of adults in the west are, or would prefer to be in, a monogamous relationship.

However, the jury is still out on whether monogamy is the model best suited to us as human beings, with researchers from the University of Michigan suggesting that it might not be.

There’s a lot of research on the benefits of monogamy, but in a new study, due to be published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, the researchers argue that this science is biased, and that attitudes to monogamy are “so ingrained as to be invisible”.

They reviewed literature, and found examples where researchers could have made it more likely that results of their studies found monogamy to be the more favourable style of relationship.

The researchers argue that using words such as “infidelity” or “cheating,” which they found some studies to be guilty of, also favours monogamy.

They also did their own research, and surveyed more than 2,000 people, 617 of whom were in non-monogamous relationships, and found no differences in trust, jealousy, passion and relationship satisfaction.

Terri Conley, the study’s lead author, said scientists respond emotionally to the issue, and once heard a reviewer refer to gay relationships that “deteriorate” into non-monogamy.

She said:

The fact that we can allow our discussion to be so emotionally led probably doesn’t allow us to really think in a logical manner

HT Quartz

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