- Why do you believe what you believe? What would change your mind?
I believe that monogamy on the whole leads to stabler relationships and healthier people.
Having monogamy as a societal norm gives a baseline expectation for relationships, and societal norms around it. If someone is married (or in a significant relationship) society holds certain expectations of them. If they are seen to be in a different relationship, it’s clear to anyone who knows them that they are in the wrong. This protects members of society that have less social clout from being taken advantage of, or being neglected, and encourages stable relationships.
Childrearing is one of the most important functions of society, and closely tied to monogamous relationships. A monogomous relationship gives the security and permanency needed to the incredibly difficulty time consuming act of raising children by increasing the cost of leaving a relationship and encouraging stability. With only one partner, monogamists have more time to focus on each other and their children. Having stable, healthy, engaged, and permanent relationships is essential for raising healthy and resilient children. I don’t mean that polyamorous relationships can’t raise healthy children – of course they can! – and conversely there are many failed monogamous relationships that had disastrous effects on children – but a societal norm for monogamy provides a bulwark and support to permanency for the purposes of raising children
Lastly, and perhaps counter-intuitively, polyamory is limiting. Polyamory encourages couples struggling with issues to avoid confronting their own problems and instead to seek out others as solutions. The security of a monogamous relationship provides fertile ground for a couple to grow and work together to better themselves, looking inward rather than outward for fulfillment and satisfaction, rather than looking for other people to meet their needs.
To change my mind I would hope to see evidence that polyamory can not only be successful, but can be successful across all strata of society. I would want to see evidence that polyamory doesn’t lead to less stability and poorer outcomes for children, and that i t leads to increased satisfaction in relationships for all partners.
2. A monogamous person has a crush on someone other than their partner. In a healthy relationship, what would happen next?
In a healthy relationship, they should acknowledge their crush. If it is someone unattainable (eg, a celebrity), it can be joked about. If it is someone seen often (eg, a colleague), they should be careful not to put themselves in a position where their partner would have reason to doubt their faithfulness. Likewise, the other partner should be confident in a healthy relationship to not be concerned or jealous.
3. What would happen if 90% of people in a society were polyamorous? (You may assume they all practice one style of polyamory, or different styles.)
I would expect to see a divergence in society – for some polyamory would produce healthy, successful relationships. Others would be left behind. Some of those wanting monogamous relationships would be unable to find partners. Still others would be in less fulfilling relationships and would struggle or be unable to grow. Fatherhood would take on a lesser role; with increased breakups the norm for children to stay with their mothers would also increase (and the knock-on effects that would bring). I would expect a polyamory norm to benefit those with power in society (and in particular, men) at the expense of those without societal clout (and especially women), as the socially powerful would have more say in defining their relationships, and the socially weak to feel an even stronger pressure to yield to others’ desires.