Polygamy Vs Monogamy
Polygamy Vs. Monogamy
Love is a beautiful emotion; it is composed of a strong bond between two people who decide to overlook the imperfections of each other and come together to spend their lives together. Love usually leads to marriage between a couple, where both the partners vow to stay loyal to each other till the end of their lives. However, in some cases, this does not prove to be true. In multiple cases, people keep more than one partners or keep a relationship with more than one person at the same time (Bagchi). This act of being in a romantic and sexual relationship with more than one person at the same time is known as polygamy and the former is known as monogamy.
The following pieces of writing will highlight which relationship style is better- Polygamy or Monogamy. The essay will also look into the details of the arguments presented by both the sides and will decide in the light of these arguments, what kind or way of relationship is better.
The question has been in circles since a long time. Experts, scholars, scientists, psychologists, and sociologists have debated over the topic for a long time and expressed their opinion on the topic.
Monogamy refers to being married to or being in a relationship with a single person. Usually, the time span in this kind of relationship is whole life. The practice of being in a sexual and romantic relationship for the entire life is known as monogamy. There are two types of monogamy; in the first type, the time span of the relationship is the entire life and the person stays loyal to a single person for their whole life, while in another type of monogamy, the person stays loyal to a specific partner during a particular period of time, which is known as serial monogamy (Wickler).
On the other hand, polygamy is the act of marrying multiple partners or multiple people in a single frame of time or a specific time period. Polygamy has largely been considered as “polygyny”. The concept of polygyny states that a man can marry as many women he wants, but a woman should marry and stay loyal to a single man for her complete life (Strassberg). Most of the people including sociologists and psychologists agree that this behavior is unfair, as relationships should be based on equality and fairness.
No doubt humans are biologically predisposed towards having multiple partners; this natural inclination has some serious consequences. Evolutionary biologist David P Barash in his book “Out of Eden” exquisitely puts forth arguments for the existence of monogamy and worrisome impact of polygamy on society at large. Here are some of the arguments that represent a case for why Monogamy exists despite our polygynous inclinations:
Human Infants Need Bi-parental Care
It is a fact that human infants are helpless and need care and nourishing for a long period of time. Both the parents need to invest in upbringing the child in order to make him successful. But under polygamy, this is not the case. Men tend to invest less in an infant’s upbringing as his efforts get divided between offsprings from multiple partners. Furthermore, men under polygamy also need to invest serious efforts in creating an opportunity to have access to other females (Rambukkana). This additionally leads to lesser investment in child-rearing on the part of men. Thus, polygamy deeply impacts child’s upbringing, which can have serious consequences not only for the parents and child but also the society. After all, these infants are the ones who would define the future generation.
Men Are at the Losing End in Polygamy
Many would say that it should be the other way round. Of course, women also lose under polygamy. Being a co-wife certainly means inequality for women and it is bound to breed sexual jealousy. But, at least they get to mate when it comes to a polygamous setup. This is not the case for men. Under polygamy, it is only a few wealthy, powerful and top of the pyramid men who get access to multiple female partners. This leaves large number of men at the bottom of the pyramid disappointed for they do not get partners to mate with (Bennion). Thus, men at the lower end are left frustrated which further makes them violent. Now, these unmated violent men eventually resort to killing men and raping women in the wake of being successful. Thus, violence is an inevitable outcome of polygamy which can further be devastating for human society.
Polygamy Means Inequality for Women
Needless to say, this too is a probable outcome of polygamy. Women would be reduced to mere objects from whom men can meet their sexual needs and become reproductively successful. Thus, polygamy can lead to outcomes that are troublesome economically, socially and ethically. Quite contrary to the normal perception, it brings serious consequences for both men and women, but men are the ones who tend to lose more. Therefore, it is for us to see what mating system we want to practice. For it is not mandatory that something that occurs naturally to us is good.
Monogamy Vs Polygamy
The debate of monogamy vs polygamy has been a long one but many scholars, experts, scientists, sociologists, and psychologists agree on one common point. There is a third school of thought among the researchers that agrees on a neutral point that states that whether monogamy or polygamy, it should be left upon the dissent of the couple or the partners ina relationship (Witte). The society is nobody to decide whether a person or couple should be monogamous or polygamous; it completely depends upon the mutual understanding of both (or all) the partners in a relationship.
The decision for being in a relationship with a single person or multiple people at the same time should be left upon the individual themselves and then their partner. If a person is comfortable in being a polygamous relationship but their partner does not like this and wants a monogamous relationship, the couple should be allowed to decide the type of this relationship, instead of the society judging and deciding the nature of their relationship.
Hence, in a nutshell, it can be concluded, that there is no specific style of relationship that can be declared perfect. Whether monogamy or polygamy, both have their own perks and benefits and both provide a certain amount of advantages and disadvantages to people. Despite all these realities, it all boils down to the fact that the style of relationship is the personal choice of both the people involved in the relationship. It should be left to the personal dissent of the couple or the partners in a relationship whether they want to follow polygamy or monogamy. The couple should decide whether they want to keep their relationship open and allow their partner to indulge in multiple relationships or not. It will allow cohesion between the couple and increase understanding among the partners in a relationship. Otherwise, it is a never-ending debate.
Bagchi, Shrobona, and Arun Kumar Pati. "Monogamy, polygamy, and other properties of entanglement of purification." Physical Review A 91.4 (2015): 042323.
Bennion, Janet, and Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, eds. The polygamy question. University Press of Colorado, 2016.
Rambukkana, Nathan. Fraught intimacies: Non/monogamy in the public sphere. UBC Press, 2015.
Strassberg, Maura I. "Distinctions of form or substance: Monogamy, polygamy and same-sex marriage." NCL Rev. 75 (2016): 1501.
Wickler, Wolfgang, and Uta Seibt. "Monogamy: an ambiguous concept." Mate choice 33 (2013): 33-50.
Witte, John. The western case for monogamy over polygamy. Cambridge University Press, 2015.
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