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Is Monogamy the Enemy of a Healthy Marriage?

Sleeping with other people will strengthen your relationship. Riiiiggght.

So this recent NYT profile about "America's leading sex columnist" Dan Savage talks about Savage's view on monogamy -- namely, that it doesn't work (at least not for all couples). And in Savage's opinion, that's okay. Now hold up -- wait to judge until you hear more. Savage, who is in a "monogamish" relationship ("allowing occasional infidelities, which they are honest about"), doesn't knock monogamy, and he isn't telling couples to go out and cheat (he's actually against promiscuity). But he does support what I'd call sexual realism. In other words, he acknowledges that different things work for different couples, and he believes saving the relationship is more important than staying faithful. From the article: "Rather, he says that a more realistic sexual ethic would prize honesty, a little flexibility and, when necessary, forgiveness over absolute monogamy."

I don't know if I could ever be open to the idea of an open marriage, and after several years of marriage, I can honestly still say I wouldn't want to sleep with anyone other than Jack (like I said, he's smokin' hot and I love him -- awww, I know). But I do think what Savage is saying makes sense (bring on the angry comments). But seriously, hear me out on this one. It's obvious that staying faithful is a real issue for a lot of couples (ahhh-choo, Schwarzenweiner), and marriage isn't easy, and I do think part of the problem is that we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves and marriage in general. I have lots of friends who were dying to get married and thought it'd somehow turn their relationships and/or lives into this romantic fairy tale...and were terribly disappointed when marriage turned out to be anything but (like this documentary of 30-something divorcees discovered). So I think Savage is right to say that before you make the commitment to a lifelong monogamous relationship, you should make sure it's something you both want. "...have a conversation about what it'll mean if one or the other partner should cheat. And agree, at the very least, to getting through it, to place a higher value on the relationship itself than on one component of it, sexual exclusivity." Maybe monogamy is for you guys (I still think it's for Jack and I), but even if it isn't, that doesn't mean marriage isn't or that your marriage has to end, says Savage. While I can't imagine what it'd be like if I found out Jack cheated and how I'd be able to move on from it, I think Savage is talking more about avoiding that hurt and pain by being realistic about your expectations and what will make you happy from the start, which I think is smart whether you're talking about monogamy or money or getting a dog.

Okay, your turn: What do you think about Savage's ideas on marriage and monogamy? Here's what some commenters had to say already. Let the brawling begin.

-- Holly

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