Poly Relationships Are As Happy As Monogamous Ones
A new study conducted by the University of Guelph in Canada has looked into just how happy North American people are in their relationships.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, gathered around 340 people. About 200 people were in traditional monogamous relationships while around 140 belonged to non-monogamous relationships (this includes polyamorous relationships, open relationships, and more).
The researchers asked participants a series of questions to gauge satisfaction in each person’s current relationship. These questions included how often a respondent considered breaking up, whether they were comfortable opening up to their partner(s) about secrets and personal issues, and their perspectives on whether they were happy or not.
The results found that not only are there somewhere between three to seven percent of North Americans in non-monogamous relationships, but those people are as happy as their monogamous peers.
“We found people in consensual, non-monogamous relationships experience the same levels of relationship satisfaction, psychological well-being and sexual satisfaction as those in monogamous relationships,” said Jessica Wood, a PhD student in applied social psychology and lead author of the study.
“This debunks societal views of monogamy as being the ideal relationship structure.”
Unfortunately, there’s still a heavy stigma towards non-monogamous relationships of any form. More conservative and traditional people tend to think of people in open or poly relationships as promiscuous or strange.
“It’s assumed that people in these types of relationships are having sex with everyone all the time,” said Wood, “They are villainized and viewed as bad people in bad relationships, but that’s not the case.”
But that would be entirely wrong. The key to a strong non-monagamous relaitosnhip is trust and communication (just like in monogamous ones). Its just that the structure and dynamic is different.
Ultimately, Wood sees the real key to a successful relationship is realizing what you’re looking for in a partner and not attaching impossible requirements onto them.
“We are at a point in social history where we are expecting a lot from our partners,” she said.
“We want to have sexual fulfillment and excitement but also emotional and financial support. Trying to fulfill all these needs can put pressure on relationships.”
The key to any successful relationship is building a bond on trust, communication, and compassion. No matter how that relationship's formed, those pillars are what’s needed to keep it going. Once that’s set, any relationship can be a happy one.
As Wood noted:
“This research shows us that our choice of relationship structure is not an indicator of how happy or satisfied we are in our primary relationships.”
What do you think? Would this kind of relationship dynamic work for you?