Rosie Wilby's first book Is Monogamy Dead? is out today and to celebrate, she discusses the possibility that monogamy might be a thing of the past.
Nobody knows what it means
For research for my comedy show and book I conducted a survey asking 'what counts as cheating?' The results revealed that there's no 'one size fits all' monogamy. For some people, emotional forms of infidelity such as 'staying up all night talking to someone' or 'falling in love with someone with no sexual contact' were more important than simply 'having sex with someone' or 'kissing'.
We are all polyamorous
If emotional forms of connection such as deep friendship count as 'relationships' then effectively none of us are being completely exclusive even if we are sexually faithful. There's a grey area here that we don't fully acknowledge.
We live longer
The word originally came from the Greek 'monos famous' and meant 'one marriage for life'. However, we now live so much longer that this is a much bigger ask
We live in an 'upgrade culture'
We've become accustomed to getting new gadgets and iPhones every couple of years so have a mindset geared towards upgrading and novelty. We want the new latest products right now. This impatience spills over into our romantic lives.
We want to be happy
Nowadays, we tend to marry for love and because we think we've met 'the one'. Whereas a couple of generations ago, people married for very practical and pragmatic reasons such as financial security.
Our feelings change
Anthropologist Helen Fisher has written about the different stages of romantic love and has scientifically proven that the effects of the chemical high we experience during the heady, early stages of lust wear off pretty quickly.
Popular culture presents a highly, idealised and unrealistic version of love. Our real relationships can never live up to this. So we become restless and stray, in our minds if not physically. But some of my survey respondents would say that still counts as cheating.
See number 7
We were never any good at sexual exclusivity anyway
Although the word comes from the Greek, prostitution was rife in Ancient Greece.
We are human and, therefore, complex.
The binary idea of simply being monogamous or not doesn't account for the vast spectrum of feelings and connections we actually experience.
Rosie Wilby's first book Is Monogamy Dead? is out on August 3 and can be ordered now from all good bookshops. Follow her on twitter @rosiewilby