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Should We Consider Non Monogamy? Essay

1753 words - 7 pages

Have you ever considered cheating on your partner? Studies show that there is a 76% chance of either partner in a marriage committing infidelity (Ferrer 55). In light of the common occurrence of infidelity within monogamous relationships in our society, would it not be logical to consider the possibility that non-monogamous relationship dynamics might be appropriate for some individuals? The idea seems to be on people’s minds, since it has also been coming up in popular culture lately, in shows like “Big Love” and “Sister-Wives”, both of which focus on polygamy, the practice of being married to more than one person at a time. Additionally, there have been many articles written about polyamory, the practice of having more than one intimate relationship at one time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved, and non-monogamy recently. One such article is “Beyond Monogamy and Polyamory,” written by Jorge Ferrer, Ph.D., who is the Chair of the Dept. of East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and was published in ReVision Journal. Ferrer’s goal in writing this article is to expose readers, mainly other scholars, to the possibility of non-monogamous relationships, and the concept of sympathetic joy. While I agree with much of what Ferrer is saying in his article, particularly his points about sympathetic joy, jealousy, genetics, and his responses to the arguments against polyamory, the fact that he overlooks the religions that do not support his theory, while using others to support his theory, weakens his argument.
Ferrer first discusses the concepts of sympathetic joy, jealousy, and genetics as they relate to intimate relationships. He then goes on to discuss the common arguments against polyamory and religious views on the subject. According to Ferrer, sympathetic joy is the ability to feel happy for others when they are happy. It is often felt in an intimate relationship when one partner is the source of the other partner’s joy, but when the source of a person’s sexual or emotional joy is not their partner, their partner will usually feel jealous. Jealousy is considered by Ferrer to be a hindrance to sympathetic joy in an intimate relationship. Ferrer explores the evolution of jealousy, saying that it is believed to have developed about 3.5 million years ago, and was intended to provide for the dissemination of one’s DNA. Jealousy is a “living fossil”, since it is still felt regardless of the desire or ability to reproduce, people become jealous in relationships where there is no prospect of children all the time. Ferrer argues that if we transform jealousy, the way we love may change, opening the possibility for multiple intimate connections.
In reply to the common argument that polyamory does not work in practice, Ferrer says that monogamy is not working out that well either. Additionally, early attempts at a new idea, such as polyamory, being unsuccessful does not mean the idea should be abandoned....

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