Monogamy gets a bad rap these days -- people say it's unnatural, impossible, outdated, stifling. And, yes, sometimes it is! Especially if your wedding anniversary now contains two digits. But anything worth fighting for will usually put you through the ringer, and monogamy is no exception. So before your partner's bad habits drive you to the brink of insanity, or you start taking your fantasies about your hot, young mail carrier a little too seriously, let us remind you of 10 good reasons to keep fighting that good fight by staying true to your one and only.
Note: Please also check out our companion article, Top 10 Reasons for Being -- and Staying -- Non-Monogamous, in which we state: "Both monogamy and non-monogamy have their pros and cons; in both posts, we've tried to focus on the pros. Neither is an attempt at telling you how to be, but rather an encouragement of who you are and how you choose to be."
1. Sex can improve with time. Monogamy isn't just about marrying off before everything starts to sag. Age can also mean that you get to know your body better, you become more comfortable in your own skin, you leave youthful insecurities behind, and your partner learns your body so well they could navigate you blindfolded. Given enough time, you and your partner can discover untold routes to your happy place. Why would you want to keep starting from scratch and having to break out the instruction manual all over again?
2. Cuddling comes naturally. There's no awkward pre-sleep shuffle as you try to find the best spooning position that will be comfortable all night. After years together, your bodies just naturally fall into place around each other.
3. Peace of mind about STDs. Assuming both of you are true to your vows of sexual fidelity, then you don't have to worry about contracting any (or any more) sexually transmitted infections.
4. Freedom from relentless beauty rituals. We're not saying that once you make a sexual commitment to someone for the long haul, all thoughts of personal hygiene and grooming should go out the window. In fact, the longer you've been married, the nicer it is to regularly gussy yourself up. However, the ridiculous beauty standards people -- especially women -- are expected to live up to these days are automatically lowered when you spend day after day after day with one partner (thank goodness!).
5. Open relationships are for an elite few. It's the rare, highly evolved person missing the jealousy gene who can successfully navigate the complicated waters of relationships with an open door policy. We're not saying it can't -- or shouldn't -- be done, we're just saying that most of us are mere mortals, ones who thrive with the simple security of the pair bond.
6. Cheating is addictive. It's kind of like breaking the seal: after you've gotten away with it once, it's even harder not to do again. You convince yourself that the affair made you feel more alive than you've felt in years, that it didn't change your feelings for your spouse, and that what they don't know won't hurt them. Lies! First of all, the more often you do it, the more likely you are to get caught, especially as you get cocky about your sneaking-around skills. But more importantly, the more you cheat, the less you will respect your partner (for example, you'll start to look down on them for being so clueless), and the less you'll respect your own marriage. Eventually, you'll start to view all human connections with a cynical eye. And what kind of life is that?
7. Monogamy is good for the world. Being a trusty monogamist is good citizenship as well as good karma: If you're faithful to your partner, then that's one less person that someone else's spouse can cheat with. Monogamists pay it forward!
8. Kink is for couples. Dirty sex -- the kind that might involve role-playing or spanking or a little light bondage -- is best enjoyed with someone you love and trust completely. Letting a first date tie you up? Not such a good idea. Plus, the more domestic and settled your day-to-day life is, the hotter it is to break out the ping-pong paddle at night.
9. Monogamy is meaningful. "Loyalty." "Trust." "Fidelity." "Honor." "Respect." These are all just words, until your actions either give them power and importance or deflate them. Monogamy isn't meaningful because the church or government says so, and it isn't meaningful because you wore a pouffy white dress/crisp tux and said you wanted it to be meaningful. Rather, monogamy's meaning expands with each day that you and your partner commit to it. And that's some pretty powerful stuff.
10. Scrabble. Enough said.
Want the hard sell on open relationships?
Top 10 Reasons for Being -- and Staying -- Non-Monogamous