Curtis Pritchard, a contestant on the British reality show Love Island 2019, sat down in his seat while his partner Amy Hart scolded him after discovering he had kissed other girls without her knowledge. Hart quietly asked him how he could be in love with two girls at once, how he needed her and how he disappointed her.
Pritchard’s behavior angers Hart because she assumes that a romantic relationship should only be between two people, so Pritchard has broken the rules. However, human relationships throughout history have been far more complex than this common form of monogamy with a life partner, as is the case in many societies today.
Recently a new type of relationship has spread that is not limited to just two people and is called non-monogamous relationships that enable both parties to establish romantic relationships with others with the consent of all parties. This form of open relationship takes many forms, such as multiple emotional relationships with the consent of all parties and the exchange of life partners, and other forms of relationships free from the constraints and obligations imposed by monogamy.
This type of relationship, in its various forms, is characterized by the fact that both parties discuss together and agree on the boundaries of the relationship, such as the degree to which these relationships can be deepened and the place and time at which they can to practice these relationships freely.
Despite the overwhelming spread of monogamy in modern societies, the idea of having multiple sexual relationships and not having fun with one life partner still catches people’s attention.
In his book “Tell Me Your Desires,” psychologist Justin Lemmler asked 4,000 Americans to describe to him their arousing sexual fantasies, where the most common response was two-way intimate relationships.
Amy Mewes, an assistant professor of psychology at York University in Canada, says a 2016 study by researchers found that nearly 21 percent of single Americans in the study had had multiple romantic relationships with the consent of their partner at one point. of their lives.
But Amy Moores, an assistant professor of psychology at Chapman University in California, disputes that percentage and says some people may be cautious in their responses to maintaining their social appearance.
Some scholars usually refer to the plurality of sexual relations with our ancient ancestors, as evidenced by the difference in shape and structure between males and females.
A study published in 2017 concluded that people in hunter-gatherer societies were intertwining with individuals outside their groups to conserve human species. This model shows that these societies were creating short-term marital relationships, as the spouses lived together until they removed their child and then each sought a different life partner, and perhaps this is why men in the modern era want to form multiple relationships. emotional.
Lemmler’s research on sexual fantasies found that men had a greater desire for group sex than women, and that the percentage of men who wanted to go to group sex parties or exchange life partners was 17, compared to only 7 percent. of women.
The percentage of participants in this study who said they attended group sex parties was 12 percent among men, compared to only 6 percent among women.
Despite the spread of monogamy now, 85 percent of human societies worldwide allow the establishment of multiple relationships in one way or another. Polygamy is mentioned many times in the Torah. Studies show that polygamy or having multiple sexual intercourses was more common in the past than it is now.
Moores explains this shift toward monogamy by saying that media, art, and culture have played a major role in shaping our vision of marital relationships since childhood. Most of us have grown up with married parents or trying to be content with a life partner.
According to Moores, the marriage did not spread only after people began to own land, because it was the first step in controlling the property and then passing it on to the family.
Numerous studies have concluded that the satisfaction of sexual desires in a secondary love relationship is associated with an increase in satisfaction in married life in the event that there is an inequality in sexual desires and needs between spouses. Muse says people who fulfill their desires by creating multiple romantic relationships are more satisfied with their married life compared to those who are satisfied with a life partner.
Some studies surveyed the opinions of people who wanted to form romantic relationships with the consent of their partners, and the researchers asked them about the nature of their relationship and their satisfaction with their emotional life before approaching their partners for the possibility of extramarital affairs and after.
Samantha Joel, assistant professor of social psychology at Western University in Canada, says that people who wanted to have multiple romantic relationships with the consent of their partner and were able to fulfill that desire were more satisfied with their romantic and marital relationship. As persons who had a desire and failed to fulfill it, the degree of satisfaction decreased, but to a small percentage, with married life.
Joel attributes this inequality of satisfaction between the two categories to the fact that the fulfillment of sexual desires with a secondary life partner increases satisfaction and satisfaction with the main life partner, because the burden of fulfilling the desires and needs of the life partner is shared by more than one person. .
Joel says the greater the satisfaction with sex life between two life partners, the better the communication between them. And when both parties agree to establish multiple romantic relationships, they talk to each other honestly and clearly and set boundaries that spouses rarely set in traditional relationships.
As emotional satisfaction in traditional marital relationships increases over time, as feelings of security, care, attention and connection, spontaneity and arousal, which are associated with sexual desire, decline.
Rhonda Belzarini, a psychologist at York University, says that relationships are initially full of sexual pleasure and enthusiasm, but soon the monotony creeps into the emotional life and it is difficult to keep these feelings renewed for a long time, and more after the flame of love is extinguished.
Bilzarini gives an example of the traditional marital relationship, when the spouses live together and have children and the responsibilities related to the marital relationship accumulate, the marital relationship becomes lukewarm and boring, while the secondary life partner does not bear these burdens, hence the presence of his. can prevent the entry of apathy into the marital relationship.
Anita Cassidy, for example, agreed from the beginning with her partner that their relationship should be open, that they should have a romantic and sexual relationship with each other, provided that they were open to each other. Cassidy lives with her two children and has romantic relationships with some friends who visit her house all week.
But what about jealousy?
Muse says that when two partners in an open relationship agree to meet their sexual needs with each other with the consent of both parties, each of them makes efforts to make the other happy because each of them wants to satisfy his sexual desires. . partner and has no problem having another person please them on his behalf as long as it will bring him happiness. Psychologists describe these feelings as enjoying the other person’s pleasure, or happiness for his own happiness.
But how do both parties overcome their feelings of jealousy? Physical infidelity is more serious for men than emotional infidelity, says Catherine Omer, a researcher at the University of Hawaii Pacific, and this may be due to the issue of paternity placement.
As for women, they are more likely to feel jealous in the event of emotional betrayal and this may be for evolutionary reasons related to raising a child. Women are more eager to keep their partners close to them for food and protection as they breastfeed their children, and if a man is emotionally preoccupied with another woman, he can save the mother with food or protection and shelter.