08.02.12 Love

Last of the Monogamous Couples

Last of the Monogamous Couples

BY Tiffany Badal

As I lay in bed with my husband, I asked the question. “Are we the last monogamous couple?” He laughs: “It’s starting to seem that way.”

My husband works in a testosterone-polluted environment. He works with all men and they are always doing what we secretly think men do when they are alone. They brag and they talk about the things they’ve done to one up each other. It’s disappointing, but I always got the ‘stories’ brought home to by my husband. We laugh at them. Still, I have to say there is a certain sadness to these stories we laugh at. Most of them have to do with the men flirting with or skirting the lines of fidelity. Some blatantly have sex with other women, others have open marriages and then there are those with multiple girlfriends that they are trying to keep straight.

Is the one-on-one relationship dead and buried? I always wanted one. I already got bad marks in preschool for not sharing well with others, so an open relationship or swinging was not for me. Maybe I watched too many movies, read too many happy endings, but I wanted someone as devoted to me as I was to them. It was important or I was going to stay single. Settling for anything less was not an option, either. I looked around and I saw the act of monogamy less and less conventional as I moved into adulthood. I even had a previous boyfriend ask me about ‘swinging’. There’s still skid marks in his apartment from how fast I high tailed it out of there after that conversation. One of my friends slept with a married man knowingly, another took back her cheating significant other time and time again, my husband has a friend with an open marriage, my neighbors fight on a nightly basis accusing each other of infidelity…. Where did faithfulness go?

I understand that some people’s needs can be met with multiple partners with boundaries clearly set and agreed upon, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Still, am I the last one who wants the ‘you come home to me and only me’ situation? I want marriage vows like ‘forsaking all others’ to mean something. Yet it seems that everywhere I look, there are people bending the promises they made to someone else in favor of something different or more exciting. Meanwhile, I still get excited to see my husband every day after work.

Fortunately, my partner in life is an agreement on this. When you come from a family where infidelity was an issue, you get sick of the separate birthdays and Christmases because someone has an ax to grind or just can’t forgive or forget. He got sick of it early on and I was looking around and finding less and less to relate to with people around me. It culminated when another friend of mine broke off with her fiancee for a ‘break’ to sleep with another guy she was ‘curious’ about, only to get back together with her fiancee two weeks later.

I know I’m probably old fashioned. Still, I must say that I drink, swear and lost my virginity without a thought to a wedding ring – so I can’t be that old fashioned. Is monogamy becoming a lost value? Is it similar to a rare painting from centuries ago that we admire, but its style is too outdated to ever be replicated? My frustration with this is becoming that I have no one to relate to. Still, it shouldn’t matter. I got the relationship I always wanted with devotion, love and only one person’s name to remember. So, I’ll take my values that might make me a bore, a prude or a hundred other words that mean I’m 27 going on 80 and just be satisfied with my life. Not everyone has to agree with me, and I can learn to be perfectly comfortable with being the novelty of the conversation with drinks with my girlfriends when I talk about my one man who has his one woman. I’ll make my old fuddy duddy way straight to the history museum.

Featured image by Kevin N Murphy on Flickr

Tiffany is 27 years old and continuing her education so she can become an elementary school teacher. She's happily married since July 2011. She moves around the country for her husband's job so she finds work as a substitute teacher. Currently she resides in Kansas City, Missouri. She grew up in Michigan, home of the American car, and has a soft spot in her heart for classic cars since she watched them being restored her whole life. She has two dogs that she rescued and they are family at this point. She loves writing and has not stopped keeping a journal since she was ten. As a person living with three Anxiety Disorder, she is constantly trying to advocate for those she knows to be screened for any mental illness and get help. She would like to aid in ending the stigma around mental illness. It is not all that we are. You can follow Tiffany on Twitter @TiffanyBadal.


  • JP

    I’m right there with you. I sincerely gave other romantic arrangements a chance but I know what I want is a monogamous relationship that will stand the test of time. By no means do I ever want to live my life through my partner or spend every waking moment with them but I flourish when someone else is as dedicated to the relationship as I am. I believe it takes time to build intimacy, trust, interdependence, and the sort of transcendent & solid connection so many of us desperately seek. I think a lot of it has to do with people wanting to feel connected and having that need instantly & consistently satisfied. It’s true, we are all infinitely connected to one another. I wish that people would use the opportunity of today’s technology & mobility to explore how what we buy & eat in the U.S. can affect a labor worker in China or understand how powerfully we can influence collective efforts. With knowledge & freedom also comes responsibility. 

  • KC

    Agree 100% with you!  

  • Alikacodispoti

    I have friends in open relationships and friends in monogamous relationships. The open couples are no less devoted to each other than the monogamous couples. I also think it is odd to think that there have not always been non-monogamous couples and individuals. Monogamy is not a universal concept. Many societies have practiced some form of plural relationships. Many still do. And as we become more accepting of homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender individuals, etc. we are more accepting of different types of relationships. And how is that a bad thing? People have been open for a long time, now they feel they can be out as well. I also think infidelity is a separate issue. And the locker room behavior of your husband’s coworkers is definitely different. More power to you for being happy in your monogamous marriage. But don’t think that the open couples you know are any less happy.

    • Never my intention to jude to assume that one kind of relationship is better than the other.  I just find it interesting that monogamy isn’t necessarily the cultural norm anymore and as someone that has found happiness in monogamy it’s hard to relate to my friends who also have other kinds of relationships.

  • Dan

    I’m in a
    fantastic relationship at the moment, one in which i can’t ever see
    ending.(hopefully not anyway). But the forums and discussions i have found on
    the internet have made a whole lot of anxiety build up inside about my
    relationship with my girlfriend.. It’s after seeing and hearing peoples fantasies
    on the internet/forums that has caused this. Caused a fear that my girlfriend
    could cheat on me, want to have sex with other men or even want something more.
    Now I’m only 20 but I think I’ve grew up in a time where it just seems the norm
    and that’s what scares me since I have what could be regarded as old fashion
    believes. That I only want my girlfriend and hopefully all she’s ever wants is
    me. Would kill me if she had some crazy kink and wanted an open relationship.
    (btw I know what I find crazy others might not). Am I just paranoid? or are monogamous
    couples really that rare?

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