Serial Monogamy: Advantages and Disadvantages

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Serial monogamy is characterised as several successive relationships during the course of a lifetime. These relationships can last any amount of time from weeks to years. Serial monogamy is often confused with serial dating. However, there is a clear difference. Monogamists look to spend their time with one person alone for as long as the relationship lasts. Whereas serial daters openly date multiple people simultaneously.

In this blog post we explore the advantages and disadvantages of serial monogamy.

happy couple

Advantages of Serial Monogamy

Serial monogamists have a mature approach to intimacy

There are four types of intimacy in a relationship – physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental. According to Helene Brenner, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of I Know I’m In There Somewhere, A+ intimacy boils down to connection and attention. “Intimacy is a one-on-one connection that involves a synchrony between two people,” she says. When you’re dating someone you may only experience physical intimacy. But a serial monogamist who dates to find love will typically experience all four forms of intimacy (emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual) in any one relationship.

Serial monogamists understand the importance of good communication

When one serial monogamist dates another serial monogamist it’s highly likely that there will be very few issues with communication. Both partners will understand how important it is to communicate because communication is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. Years of experience and prior relationships can help cement this realisation and ensure all future relationships are built upon this.

Serial monogamists are usually sexually experienced

Just because serial monogamists may have had sex with fewer people than ‘normal’, it doesn’t mean that they’ve had less sex. A serial monogamist may enjoy using a variety of sex toys in the bedroom, or may have developed unique fetishes. It’s often easier to be open about any less ‘vanilla’ desires with a partner instead of a complete stranger.

happy gay couple

A serial monogamist will stick around during tough times

Serial monogamists understand that relationships aren’t always rosy. Once the honeymoon phase ends relationships can be rocky. From money worries and pregnancies, to affairs and job relocations, anything can happen during the course of a relationship. Having been through tough times already, a serial monogamist won’t necessarily run a mile at the first sign of trouble. They will be willing to stick around during tough times as they know that there will be a light at the end of a tunnel.

Serial monogamists can be hopeless romantics

Many serial monogamists are monogamists because they are hopeless romantics. They believe in the ‘one’ and feel that their current partner will be the ‘one’ for them. The only thing that makes a monogamist a serial monogamist is the number of relationships that they end up falling into in their pursuit of finding the ‘one’. This belief in finding the one, and desire to be with one partner for life can make serial monogamists hopeless romantics. They will be more likely to woo their partner with romantic gestures.


Disadvantages of serial monogamy

Misconceptions about the risk of STIs

Many men and women assume that in a monogamous relationship there is zero risk of transmitting STIs. Whilst serial monogamy is not as risky as engaging in concurrent sexual relationships, there is still an element of risk involved. After one relationship ends, a serial monogamist may have sex without protection and not get tested before the new relationship begins. 

Monogamous relationships may not be as robust as other forms of relationship

Despite monogamous relationships being the most common form of relationship, research published by Dr Elisabeth Sheff indicates that polyamorous relationships may be more resilient. A polyamorous relationship, is a relationship whereby both individuals agree to have multiple romantic relationships with others, during the course of their own relationship. This is also called consensual non-monogamy.

According to Dr Sheff, polyamorous relationships tend to last longer because they allow more options for sustaining an enduring connection and ongoing friendship even if the sex and romance is no longer part of that relationship. Furthermore, as we are now living longer than any other generation, it’s worth questioning whether lifelong monogamy is realistic any more.

polyamorous relationship

Serial monogamists can become codependent

Some people become serial monogamists because they do not know how to exist alone. They enjoy being with somebody else and exhibit signs of a severe degree of clinginess. Codependents voluntarily give up their autonomy in a relationship. According to Scott Wetzler, PhD, psychology division chief at Albert Einstein College of Medicine – “some research suggests that people who have parents who emotionally abused or neglected them in their teens are more likely to enter codependent relationships.”. However anyone can find themselves in a codependent relationship.

Serial monogamists often love being in love

Everybody loves the idea of being in love. But for some serial monogamists, the idea of being in love far exceeds the reality. When this happens the individual is craving the intimacy, affection, and attention that a relationship can provide, but necessarily the individual that they are in a relationship with.


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