Monogamy. According to my Merriam Webster Dictionary, monogamy has a few different meanings, although they are similar. The first definition (classified by the lexicographer as "archaic") is the practice of marrying once.
The second definition is; the state or custom of being married to one person at a time. This is the monogamy we are familliar with. We like to throw this term around here in the United States, and we tell the world that we are a people who care about the welfare of our nation's families, but all that talk can be hushed when we look at marriage and infidelity statistics.
The third definition is; the condition of having a single mate during a period of time <~ common among birds>.
Beyond the dictionary meanings, I think monogamy (and lack thereof) in a relationship has significance in many other ways. When two people enter into a monogamous relationship, or MR, they are essentially making promises to each other.
They promise to not introduce drama by forsaking all others- this drama can come in many forms. There can be a distraction from the relationship which will cause a rift. If he's getting it form Suzy Saucybottom, then there's usually less and less of a need to get things at home. This can cause resentment and frustration. There can be the introduction of a disease/infection, which reeks of drama. And the biggest blow to a victim, it can introduce a baby to the equation. Of course it wouldn't be so dramatic if it were "your baby" instead of "her baby."
They promise to overcome their DNA- I read so many articles where men wanting to spread their seed is a natural thing that has been introduced by nature to help ensure that the human species continues on. OK. I can accept this as true. I can also accept that nature instilled in women the desire to have her children father by different men in order to ensure that the human gene pool doesn't get too shallow. However, we're humans, and the thing we do best is te;ling nature to screw off. Here are my examples (gathered from everyday like and the discovery channel): When an animal has to go potty, it does. It goes right where it is in most cases. Humans refrain from doing this as urinating during your conference is considered a bad career move. When an animal has an itch, consider it scratched. With people it will depend on where the itch is and what the social setting is as we've learned that public isn't the best place for us to relieve an itch that is underneath underwear. See, we humans have been metering our obedience to natural desires in many ways, mostly as a product of civilization. So, if we can resist the urge to bite into live cows and soil the living room floor (no matter how tempting it may become, sick-o) why then are we not held to the same standards for sexual activity? We can all admit, it's very difficult to control ourselves and our libidos, but then, if you can't do that, you shouldn't be in a monogamous relationship.
They promise to keep things fresh- How bad do we all feel for men who get suckered into marriage with women who eventually put the brakes on sex and hinder any and all imagination in the bedroom? I feel horrible for them. Sad that they can be coerced into making huge decisions, and sad that they get let down sexually. You can't really expect anyone to stay faithful in a boring, grey flannel sleep by 10:30 existance. It is expected that both partners will find ways to continue to explore sexual boundaries within the relationship. Otherwise, you can't really be that surprised when he's swinging from Suzy Saucybottom's ceiling fan and having the time of his life. You have a ceiling fan too, you know.
They promise to care about how you feel... every single day- suppose it's easy to let our concern for each other slip after a period of time in a MR, but this is as bad as not showering. You may not notice on day two, but EVERYONE else does. And by the time you realize the horrid stench you've created by neglect, you've probably already changed the way some people look at you, and you might not be able to go back. MR require good, daily maintenance. If you live with someone, and you haven't asked then how their day was, it's usually because you are more concerned with how YOUR day went. Well, that's not gonna work for an extended period of time. Eventually, Suzy Saucybottom is gonna ask your man how his day was. She's going to listen intently as he talks about things that could cause a weak mind to spontaneously slip into a coma. She's going to at least pretend that she cares about what he is going through in his daily struggles. That's why he'll keep going back to her. This is a pretty lame reason for him to step out, especially since all you have to do is ask him how his day went, how his life is, or who is winning the game.
They promise to be honest- this one must the one of the most difficult things to do. Sometimes, honesty with others forces us to be honest with ourselves, and many people aren't good at this. Dishonesty also helps people in thier quest to have their cake and eat it too. A man is very well aware that he can be attracted to multiple women at one time. He is also aware that there is a 50% chance that if he cheats he'll get caught. So, for many (if not most) men, that is enough incentive to cheat. He could just tell his current lover that he is ready to get some action from elsewhere, but chances are she would leave... then who would take care of his daily needs? Unwilling to lose what he has and unwilling to say no to what he wants empowers him for the moment, but it also shows his character.
That's the most important thing about monogamy is it shows who you really are. When you step outside of your MR, be assured you have shown that you can not be trusted. Too far? Not really. Here in Las Vegas, if you have been fired over a substancial money issue or have been convicted of a monetary crime you can expect to not work around money again. Sure, it was only one bad decision made in the heat of the moment, but you still stole the money and it will follow you forever. In a MR, if the other person ever trusts you again after cheating, it's because they are a saint. It shows you don't respect the boundaries of your relationship. Too far? Nope! If you work for a large corporation and are seen cavorting with a rival in a way that might compromise company information bestowed upon you, you'll probably get fired. Cheating shows that you can willingly hurt the person closest to you without shame. Chances are, if you had shame, you would have thought about your partner before thinking about yourself.
It's not wrong in my book to sleep with multiple people. The wrong happens when you refuse to be honest with all the people you are sleeping with. It's wrong to lead someone in a relationship that they think is "special" and then to go off and do your own thing because you think you won't be found out. There are plenty of people in the world who want to have free, fun, casual sex. They're usually open about it and willing to admit that they don't want to be tied down.
Hopefully, in the future we will be able to be more honest with each other, that way we can build lasting relationships that actually mean what we say they mean.