It’s hard to see “happy” or “satisfaction” and “non-monogamous” in the same sentence, but as they say, “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
According to the study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, people in non-monogamous relationships are just as satisfied with the relationship they have with their main partner as those in monogamous ones
The new University of Guelph study found that if you are fulfilling your psychological needs and are satisfied sexually, you are more likely to be happy in your partnership no matter the relationship structure.
“This debunks societal views of monogamy as being the ideal relationship structure,” said Jessica Wood, a PhD student in applied social psychology and lead author of the study.
Between three and seven per cent of people in North America are currently in a consensual, non-monogamous relationship.
“It’s more common than most people think,” said Wood. “We are at a point in social history where we are expecting a lot from our partners. We want to have sexual fulfillment and excitement but also emotional and financial support. Trying to fulfill all these needs can put pressure on relationships.
To deal with this pressure, we are seeing some people look to consensually non-monogamous relationships.”
However, consensually non-monogamous relationships still attract stigma, she added.
“They are perceived as immoral and less satisfying. It’s assumed that people in these types of relationships are having sex with everyone all the time.
They are villainized and viewed as bad people in bad relationships, but that’s not the case.”
Participants were asked about their satisfaction with their current relationships. For non-monogamous situations, the questions pertained to the respondent’s main partner. Among the questions, the researchers asked how often respondents considered separating, whether they confided in their partner and what was their general level of happiness.
Wood’s analysis found that one important predictor of relationship satisfaction is not relationship structure but rather sexual motivation.
“In both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships, people who engage in sex to be close to a partner and to fulfill their sexual needs have a more satisfying relationship than those who have sex for less intrinsic reasons, such as to avoid conflict,” she said.”