Serial monogamy is a pattern of engaging in a series of monogamous relationships, one after the other, rather than remaining in a single monogamous relationship for a long period of time. It is a form of non-monogamy, where a person may have several monogamous relationships over the course of their lifetime, with each relationship ending and a new one beginning. It can be a way for people to experience different types of relationships, gain different types of personal growth and learning, or meet different needs in their life.
It is important to note that there is a difference between serial monogamy and infidelity, in that serial monogamy is entered into with the full knowledge and consent of all parties involved, while infidelity involves one person betraying the trust of their partner by engaging in a sexual or romantic relationship outside of the existing relationship.
Possible Benefits to Serial Monogamy The following non-exhaustive list provides possible benefits when choosing serial monogamy:
- If both partners remain faithful, there is little risk of experiencing jealousy over outside partners or romantic interests.
Choosing monogamy allows compliance with ideals set forth by various systems of belief (i.e. religion or cultural norms).
- When both partners remain faithful, STI risk is greatly reduced* or eliminated.
- The experience of being with someone for a long period of time provides unique insight into love and partnership.
- Learning creative ways to negotiate and fulfill romantic/sexual needs over the course of the partnership.
- The ability to leave a partnership when it is no longer functional, healthy, or fulfilling.
Possible Challenges to Serial Monogamy The following non-exhaustive list provides possible challenges when choosing serial monogamy:
- If monogamy is a part of a value system, one may feel pressured to choose monogamy even if it doesn’t fit their personal sexual/relational style.
- Keeping the romantic/sexual relationship engaging throughout the course of the relationship.
- Managing romantic or sexual feelings for people outside of the monogamous unit.
- Misunderstanding over monogamy by those outside of the relationship or those choosing other relationship styles.
- Having sexual/romantic needs that remain unfulfilled due to differences in romantic/sexual preferences.
- Fear or anxiety that a partner will leave and/or find a new partner.
- Making life decisions that involve another person.
*Some STIs can be transmitted through non-sexual means.
How many people engage in serial monogamy?
It is difficult to estimate the exact number of people who engage in serial monogamy, as the practice is not widely studied and not always openly acknowledged. However, some studies suggest that a significant portion of the population engages in serial monogamy at some point in their lives. A study conducted in 2010, for instance, found that around 75% of participants had engaged in serial monogamy at some point in their lives. Serial monogamy is a form of non-monogamy, and it may be more common than other forms of non-monogamy like polyamory or open relationships. People may engage in serial monogamy for a variety of reasons, such as not being ready for a long-term commitment, wanting to experience different types of relationships, or wanting to meet different needs in their life.
How many people engage in non monogamy?
It is difficult to estimate the exact number of people who engage in non-monogamous relationships, as the practice is not widely studied and not always openly acknowledged. However, some studies suggest that around 4-5% of adults in the United States identify as being in some form of consensual non-monogamous relationship. This number may be higher or lower depending on the location, culture and population being studied. Non-monogamy can take many forms, including polyamory, open relationships, swinging, and others, and it is a personal choice that can vary widely between individuals and couples.