You must be aware of the fact that not everyone likes the “standard” type of a relationship whereby the partners are monogamous. It is common for one partner to engage in sexual activities in alternative relationships without letting the other one know about it.
In other instances, both partners can agree to have a threesome kind of a relationship as an extramarital affair. Couples in an open relationship are free to engage sexually with other partners on the condition that they are still in love with only one.
The polyamory type of a relationship allows both partners to engage in sexual or romantic activities with multiple partners with all the involved parties aware of and consenting to the relationship.
But do you think in an ‘all in love is fair” can determine if people are ok with these types of relationships regardless of the arrangement?
2017 Quebec Study
There is a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Quebec in Montreal to find out the satisfaction of couples staying in various relationships with differing agreements.
They came to realize that despite the fact that the monogamous kind of a relationship is the healthiest in terms of quality, the alternative types of relationships are not largely influenced by factors like trust, jealousy, and overall satisfaction.
This was different from what other previous studies suggested about the non-monogamous types of relationships.
According to Lea J. Seguin and colleagues, such discrepancies can be accounted for by various features of sample personalities and the specific measures of satisfaction they deployed.
Perhaps, it is from the fact that the previous studies also focused on gay men, whereby polyamory appeared to be the most prevalent.
Seguin and her team weighed against different types of relationships, including the monogamous, open, and polyamorous sets in an attempt to resolve such issues.
Seguin and her team engaged 3,463 adults from all the Canadian provinces who they had recruited through social media. They researchers managed to capture sufficient numbers across three types of relationships to make comparisons about their health.
Apart from being large enough, the sample also considered other factors like age, sex, sexual orientation, length of relationship, cohabitation status, and other combined factors.
To date, this happens to be the largest investigation ever conducted whereby it was easy to rule out numerous important qualities that could have altered the comparison of different kinds of relationships.
The Challenging Part
Seguin et al. had a tricky feature during their study whereby they had to examine the multiple relationships of a particular partner. The participants had to select one of the several possible partners so that they could be used on the rating basis.
This implies that the researchers had to instruct the respondent to select the most significant partner amongst the others. The team used a 17-item questionnaire to measure satisfaction using 4 aspects of a relationship which included:
- Sexual satisfaction
In addition, the respondents answered other questions about whether they felt what they were giving in their relationships was being reciprocated.
The participants also gave an explanation about their monogamous (involving one only a single romantic partner and monogamous agreement), open (sexual agreement with multiple partners allowed), and polyamorous (relationship rules upheld with more than one romantic partner permissible).
The Easy Part of the Study
The best thing about this study was that the online format of the questions allowed the respondents to openly express their views about their relationships without necessarily tending to be too lenient to the researchers.
The participants were first required to fill a consent form and informed that their responses in the 20-45 minutes survey were to be recorded anonymously. Try to figure yourself participating in such a study.
Would you not feel so relaxed to share everything without the fear of hiding anything about your sex life? Participants who were not ready to complete the study were entirely allowed to participate voluntarily.
The other easy part of the study was that the participants were sourced from multiple groups rather than support groups for polyamorous sets, just like it was the case in previous studies.
Close to 80% of the respondents were monogamous, 14% were in open relationships, and 7% were in polyamorous relationships. 62% of the respondents were women with students being the majority. Their average age was 29 years.
With all factors in mind, these findings did not find anything unusual in being in an open or polyamorous relationship in comparison to the monogamous type.
Participants in the monogamous relationship were more likely to be heterosexual while those in open relationship were homosexual. Polyamorous individuals tended to be bisexual.
However, there were more heterosexual individuals in both the non-monogamous types of relationships.
All the participants in all the three types said they were quite content with their relationships. Some biases could not have been exempted because some participants who were not happy with their relationships would not have agreed to participate.
The researchers gave the usual caution that more studies need to be conducted.
Bearing in mind that all the three types of relationships gave the same results in satisfied partners, and other factors like trust were not significantly different, the study suggests that people can stay in any kind of romantic and sexual relationship as long as all the parties are in agreement.
According to these findings, and as stated by the researchers, honesty is crucial in any type of relationship. As quoted by the Seguin and her team, romantic secrecy lowers the quality of relationships.
Social factors that affect an individual can directly impact the health of a relationship. In short, being content with your relationship is determined by the rules you set with your partner.
Though it may seem unfair in love, relationship satisfaction requires that you play by the rule.
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