By Lucy Wise-Chalker for The Newsroom, August 13, 2015
The beauty of a monogamous marriage
Life’s short. Have an affair… If you have heard this slogan chances are you’ve heard of the multi-million dollar company, Ashley Madison.
Just as there are websites for online shopping and gaming groups, AshleyMadison.com is the go-to site if you want to have an affair. A staggering 37 million people (which is more than the Australian population), are signed up to the website in hope of committing adultery.
The successful website was recently hacked, leaving every member vulnerable to exposure. With this many subscribers, is monogamy a realistic expectation for Western society to adhere to? Is the idea of finding our soulmate just an idea implanted into our minds from watching romantic movies such as The Notebook and A Walk to Remember?
Relationship specialist Lauren Sokolski told The Newsroom that for some people, it’s about the thrill of the hunt and trying to imitate the feeling of infatuation you get at the start of a new relationship. She said, “Of course, this doesn’t last and so they may have numerous infidelities trying to replicate this state of limerence.”
The phrase “the honeymoon’s over” actually has evidential truth behind it, with most breakups occurring between the first 3 to 5 months of a relationship. After surpassing the initial boyfriend/girlfriend phase and moving towards engagement and marriage, unfortunately it doesn’t get much better. Up to 70 per cent of marriages feature an affair at some point, resulting in separation or divorce for some cases. Approximately 1 in 3 Australian marriages end in divorce.
Angela Hazeldene is a beautician who previously worked as a chauffeur for an escort service in regional NSW. She found her previous work “eye opening”, in particular the amount of married men who are clients of the establishment. “It’s surprising to see how many men are willing to risk their marriage for a few hours with a girl, especially in a small town,” she told The Newsroom.
Research suggests that monogamy is an unnatural behaviour adapted by humans as a means for order and structure within society.
It’s believed that committed relationships have evolved over time for the primary reason of protecting offspring. Disagreeing but not completely dismissing this viewpoint, Ms Sokolski acknowledges that monogamy can be challenging at times, however she believes it to be more successful and rewarding than an open marriage or relationship.
“I think it is possible that open marriages could work, but I don’t feel highly optimistic about it,” she said. Ms Sokolski questioned how an open marriage can be special if there is physical intimacy occurring with other people.”
Deanna and Gavin Fletcher have been together for 32 years. The Fletchers are unanimous in agreeing that a relationship consists of two people who love and respect each other and want to build a life together.
Mrs Fletcher values the love that is provided in an exclusive relationship and the security of being able to rely on someone in any situation.
“A marriage is a partnership. It’s always about putting the other person first. I don’t understand why anyone would want to be in an open relationship when it can leave your partner feeling hurt and insecure,” she said.
With hundreds of cultures around the world and a broad range of ideas in regards to love and partnerships, it’s not surprising that over time open relationships are becoming increasingly accepted by Western culture.
The growing number of countries legalising gay marriage is a modern demonstration of how marriage still has the ability to change and adapt. Living in a progressive society forces traditions and values to advance in ways that cannot be predicted; perhaps monogamy is the next to transform in society.