Thursday, July 5, 2007

Commitment Vs. Monogamy: Choose Your Adventure

In keeping with the theme of relationships and infidelity for the week, I have recruited another writer to share his perspective of maintaining lasting relationships. Today's guest posting comes from apoetik over at The Year of the Pig. In it he discusses the differences between commitment and monogamy. Which would you choose?

You can check out his blog at



Commitment - a pledge or promise; obligation

Monogamy - The practice or condition of having a single sexual partner during a period of time

I recently read a discussion that poses the following question:

If you could only have a promise of commitment or monogamy in your relationship, which would you choose?

For example, would you choose a partner who pledges never to leave you regardless of infidelities (yours or theirs) or would you choose a partner who would never take any others during the time of your relationship, with no pledges of long term commitment?

I’ve asked quite a few people for their opinion and the first question had almost universally been “Well, aren’t they the same thing”?

No, they are not. With the divorce rate sitting around 55%, commitment is no longer an implied aspect of marriage. People are changing partners quicker than an award show host changes outfits. Of the 45% of people who do remain married, would you bet your life that their partner has never had an infidelity? If so, that would probably solve the problem of global overpopulation…

Most of the men have responded with monogamy, while most of the women have responded with commitment. That being said, it is of little wonder that we have such problems with staying married as a society.

In fact, my first response was monogamy. Cheating is an affront to your pride first, then your trust. The feelings of resentment for someone who so callously disregarded your feelings is acute, as anyone who has been cheated on can tell you. Once bitten, it is hard to return to that happy place in which you see your significant other as your one true champion upon this mortal coil.

However, after having listened to dozens of responses, it became apparent to me that commitment possibly carries more weight. It is accepting the fact that the person you are with is a human being, fully capable of making mistakes but learning from them. It is saying that you are strong enough to look at your relationship in complete honesty and not rejecting the negative portion of your vows (for better or worse – for richer or poorer, not just for better and richer). Without commitment, you can never make plans, because you have no guarantees that this person will be around. The slightest whiff of stagnancy and they are gone, as opposed to doing whatever it takes to make it work. A person who is not committed just flat out will not try anything and everything to make your relationship permanent. If not, then really what are they giving you for giving up so much?

Being cheated on hurts. A lot. It is definitely not something you would wish upon yourself or your worse enemy. I would imagine I would be sick to my stomach if the first thing I had to look at every day is a person who I have pictures of in my mind being with someone else.

True commitment may actually be another plane of thinking. It is being given the confidence to accept life as it comes and know that you have a teammate.

Losing your legs in an accident is rough. It is much rougher to imagine that happening and you having to go it alone. Or is it harder to forgive and forget the ultimate betrayal?

Which would you choose?


Andrew The Asshole said...

Its not surprising that women would prefer committment!!! but whats even more suprising is that those same women would not be open to "open relationship" as I state in the alternative lifestyle article.

Gene said...

Monogamy without true commitment is just being trapped.

JustMeWriting said...

This was a very interesting post...I was actually just talking about this with my best friend. I'd actually go for Monogamy.

Sometimes people maintain the "union" because of the prior commitment...then end up being with someone they REALLY don't want to be with and making that person a "settlement". I've always had a problem with seeing myself as such, so I'd like the freedom for us both to move when we see fit.

bloghog247 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I beleive that God wants all of us to be in a committed relationship that is Christ centered. The man is the head of the household like God is the head of the Church.

Ivy said...

While the writer may be correct in the technical sense that committment and monogamy are different, that does not make them mutually exclusive. You can't have true monogamy without committment. Human beings being what we are, we have to make a promise to uphold an obligation to stay monogamous - because we are human and we do falter. That is what marriage (speaking on those terms, because I am married) is about - committing every day to making a relationship work, regardless of the problems you may face. If one commits daily, there is a high probability that daily monogamy will follow.

tAnYeTTa said...

you said: People are changing partners quicker than an award show host changes outfits.


Lola Gets said...

Ivy makes a damned good point. Unless one is practicing "monogamy by default", one has to make a conscious choice - a committment - to monogamy.

Id go with committment: I think I could deal with a little "infidelity." But, then again, I am a swinger, lol.


wynsters the tigress said...

i would choose commitment because i have trouble with what "monogamy" implies: that there is just one person for everybody. that just cannot be. maybe for now it feels like you're with the love of your life, but what about later? later when you meet that guy/girl who completely fits you as the person that you are in the moment. just because we are "committed" to one person at the moment, are we supposed to ignore any connection we may have with someone else?