“You’re the one” are the words many of us long to hear from our lover, but over the last few years, it seems like we’re more likely to be told, “You’re one … of many.”
There’s no question the dating landscape has changed. Everywhere you look, from dating apps to reality TV to social media, it seems like all the dudes have moved away from seeking monogamy and onto seeking multiple connections with the blessing (or at least acceptance) of their partner. Whether it’s called ENM (ethical non-monogamy), polyamory, or open, what’s the real deal with the rise in popularity of these alternative relationships?
Dr. Jess Carbino, a sociologist who has previously worked for Tinder and Bumble, says that this explosion of non-monogamy mentions is more of a perception than a reality. “Based upon my research, mentions of non-monogamy have not necessarily increased,” she states. “Rather, when mentions of an issue or topic that is perceived to be surprising or striking appear, we are more likely to assimilate that information and believe it is happening on a more frequent basis.”
She adds that the most recent data indicates that only four to five percent of Americans engage in non-monogamous relationships. And, ofc, it’s not only men who desire this kind of relationship.
Dr. Jess’s research finds that for those who do participate, honesty is the best policy. “Non-monogamy is more likely to be less stigmatized. Therefore, individuals are more open about it rather than being more desirous of it,” she says. So, it’s not necessarily that more men are hopping on the non-monogamy train, but the ones who already wanted it have become more vocal.
As to the reasons why a man would pursue a non-monogamous relationship and lifestyle, according to Dr. Jess, it’s straightforward.
“The benefits of non-monogamy for men are that they don’t have to commit to being in an exclusive relationship,” she explains.
Though it may seem like non-monogamy is the new norm, Dr. Jess assures us that while some things progress and change, others stay the same for most of us. “Marriage and committed relationships remain the gold standard,” she insists.
When faced with a partner who desires a non-monogamous relationship, Dr. Jess advises women to proceed with caution and take ample time for consideration before making their decision. “I would strongly advise that women be honest with themselves about their long-term relationship goals. I would also encourage them to consider why they are potentially interested in the non-monogamous individual and the degree to which they will feel comfortable with non-monogamy,” she says.
“More specifically, I would encourage them to consider how non-monogamy may influence potential power dynamics.”
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