Being with one woman is complicated enough, but imagine being with two or three. Well, actually, maybe you have… And that’s not such a bad thing. According to a new study, which will be published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, polyamorous relationships function just as successfully as monogamous relationships, and a deeply rooted societal bias is at fault for leading people to believe the opposite.
Lead researcher Terri Conley says that “scientists can’t break free of a certain worldview gripping their field.”
Being in a relationship with only one person has become so prioritized in Western society that “it’s not even that we think about it being right—we just see it as the only way,” Conley says. “The premise that monogamy is superior to other types of non-monogamous relational arrangements continues to permeate the way in which researchers construct and test theories of love and intimacy.”
According to the recent findings, this prejudice has laid the grounds for false claims that monogamy is the best route for relationships.
The researchers draw attention to the fact that in most relationship surveys, the questions asked and the terms used are not neutral and lead the participant to answer in favor of monogamy. For example, when asking about “infidelity” and “cheating,” or when calling one side the “offended party” or the “betrayed partner,” people are skewed to perceive polyamory poorly.
The study took a group of over 2,000 people over the age of 25—of these participants, 617 were in consensually non-monogamous relationships. The researchers evaluated a number of factors including jealousy, passion, trust and general satisfaction in the relationship and concluded that there was no notable differences between the two groups. Polyamorous relationships operate just as ordinarily as monogamous relationships.
In other words, we won’t have a sound conclusion about the best kind of relationship until scientists acknowledge their bias towards monogamy. So our own conclusion: Don’t knock it till you try it.