The ONLY one, or one of many?

The ONLY one, or one of many?

That’s often the issue that comes up when discussing monogamy or nonmonogamy.

“I want to be the one they choose.”

And to me, it’s where people put the emphasis.

Monogamous people focus on the word “one.”

They want to be the ONLY person who ticks off those checkboxes for their partner.

And that’s fair.

I’m not going to tell you it isn’t.

Because monogamy is valid and choosing monogamy is a valid choice.

Nonmonogamous people, on the other hand, tend to put the emphasis on the last word, “choose.”

Have you heard of Dunbar’s number?

It’s a number that represents the maximum number of relationships (on average) that a human can comfortably maintain.

It’s about 150, but there’s a lot of variation. The range of variation is somewhere between 100 and 250.

Dunbar has been studying numbers for a long time, and has come up with some fascinating results.

For example, a love relationship or partnership for many people takes up two of those slots.

Because they take up the spot of an intimate/lover, and they take the spot of a friend, thanks to all the resources that are required to grow and maintain a relationship like that.

(Source: )

Nonmonogamists have more intimates than many other people (that does NOT necessarily translate into more friends), and therefore, may have to choose how to use their personal resources of time, energy, love, sexual appetite, and so on, on each person they have a relationship with.

In fact, everyone does this, mono and nonmono alike.

It’s just that the nonmono folks’ relationships cross lines into the types of connections that monogamous people save for one person.

And with all those connections and all of those possibilities, we have to CHOOSE.

And all nonmono people know the choice.

It’s a central part of our lives.

Choosing who to share our time with. Choosing what event to attend (or who to stay home in bed with). Choosing who to travel or adventure with.

And so on.

It’s not a default, as many mono people might see it.

We value that choice.

And not just our ability to choose, but also that even though our nonmonogamous partners also have many options to spend their time on, they choose us.

We are not “the default,” “the only,” “the ONE,” but a choice made time and time again, over and over, because we are valuable to them.

We may be one of many.

But we are still ONE. A unique person that those who spend time with us WANT to be with.

I’m NOT saying that nonmonogamy is inherently better than monogamy. Or that monogamous people ALL think this way and non monogamous people all think that way.

I’m talking about generalities and overall behaviors and socializing.

I’m not attacking your choices. I applaud them.

I write to share viewpoints and ideas. To spark thought. Not to convince anyone that they are wrong or that I am right(er).

Well, mostly, LOL!

What are your thoughts?

In the phrase, “I want to be the one they choose,” where do you put the emphasis?

What makes that work for you? Or not?

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One Comment on “The ONLY one, or one of many?

August 6, 2021 at 5:49 am

There’s some evidence that polygamy, in particular, can be harmful, not only to children but to women and men. The anthropologist Joseph Henrich has found that the world’s polygamous societies gradually evolved toward monogamous marriage because doing so resolved many of the problems created when powerful men hoarded all the wives for themselves. Meanwhile, these societies’ mobs of horny, angry, low-status single men would lead to “significantly higher levels rape, kidnapping, murder, assault, robbery and fraud,” as Henrich and fellow researchers wrote in a recent study . By easing the competition to scoop up as many wives as possible, monogamy allows men to instead focus on things like child-rearing, long-term planning, and saving money. It also increases the age at first marriage and lowers fertility rates, Henrich found. He suggests that’s one reason polygamy was outlawed in Japan in 1880, in 1953 in China, and in 1955 in India, for most religious groups. But the welfare of children living in today’s polyamorous households won’t be knowable until there are more long-term studies on that (tiny) cohort.


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