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Monogamy: Is it Realistic?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/10/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 495 times Debate No: 79610
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
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When faced with the question of describing todays modern relationships we often fall back on a monogamous theory. As for now-a-days we will call monogamy a closed relationship between two individual human beings: man-woman, woman-woman, man-man. Just so long as the principle underlying the relationship is defined by exclusivity. I would say that not only is this idea completely unrealistic for todays society, but it has always been un-realistic, it is just becoming more apparent. Why is it then so difficult to open our minds to more unconventional situations as being the more acceptable and wise equations to forming and raising families.


I accept

It is my intention to argue that monogamy is entirely realistic. If two people wish to start an exclusive monogamous relationship, it is not unpractical or insensible to believe they can achieve the union and maintain it.

However his previous statement: “Why is it then so difficult to open our minds to more unconventional situations as being the more acceptable and wise equations to forming and raising families.; needs to be pointed out as irrelevant. I don’t find it difficult to open up my mind to alternative ways of forming and raising families, nor do I object to open relationships.

But I do object to the idea that putting forth effort in establishing and maintaining a monogamous relationship is as unpractical and insensible as say believing I can make purple tigers grow out of my pants by meowing all day, which is a true example of something unrealistic.

Is monogamy testing? Without a doubt. Hard? Absolutely. Difficult? You bet!

But not realistic? Hardly.

(realistic meaning, that which is sensible or practical)

So in other words, he intends to argue monogamy is not-sensible, nor practical.

I intended to argue that it is a sensible and practical practice.

Debate Round No. 1


Well said dear opponent. (BTW I am a woman, so if you could refer to me as a she or her. That would be awesome)

I wonder why; if it be totally realistic and even obtainable - to have a monogamous relationship it is so hard, and why it requires so much effort. Shouldn't something that is as you call it "practical" be effortless? Or require less effort? If it truly were a natural realistic phenomenon of the human experience, shouldn't it therefore be easier to maintain?

I agree my last question was rendered irrelevant when pointed out.

Monogamy is not sensible or practical. It renders un natural feelings and creates unnecessary situations, feelings such as jealousy, possession and devotion to another being just aren't practical.

For instance, when I visited The Masai tribe in Eastern Kenya I had the privilege to stay in a remote village that was of polygamist values. When I inquired to the wives of an emotion called jealousy- they laughed when the translator was finally able to describe what I was getting at. There isn't even a word in their language to describe such an emotion. It is something that monogamy alone creates and seems to be HIGHLY unpractical and HIGHLY insensible.

How is it then that we 'Western Society' Has called monogamy realistic. Or even desirable?


My sincerest apologies for presuming your gender, what a truly embarrassing mistake on my part! *facepalm*

Thank you for providing your argument concerning whether or not monogamy is realistic.

I’d like summarize your first point into a single word, and then defend why it will be accurate and effective to address it accordingly: “inconvenience”. May I paraphrase you as such?- “Why, if it’s sensible and practical, is it so hard, requiring of so much effort, and not easier nor seemingly natural to maintain?”

The answer? Because society is making it inconvenient, through the shifting of ethical paradigm and moral values. It’s rare to exist in a time when a culture is undergoing a paradigm shift, which is what’s happening in western society, so in a sense it’s an interesting time to be alive.

I like that you pointed out the difference in paradigm of other cultures that practice polygamy. May I point out another? The tradition of pre-arranged marriages, such as those from India. The parents see it as their duty to find a partner for their son or daughter, which usually happens at what to us would be a young age (14-16), because that is when we come of age and we start looking at the world with sexual and romantic desire.

To them, just as it’s their duty to provide adequate clothing when their child is without it sufficiently to bear the coming cold weather, just as its their duty to provide adequate food when they are without it sufficiently to bear with coming hunger, in the same manner, to them, it’s their duty to find, assign, and provide a partner for them when they are without it sufficiently to bear with the coming lonesomeness and desire which stems from the sexual coming of age (puberty) of male and female offspring. In other words, parents who do not partake in the practice of pre-arranged marriages can be looked at as parents who’ve abandoned their child in their time of need, when puberty and sexual coming of age comes and the youth wants to be with someone, and not be alone. Thus, to those who partake in the practice of pre-arranged marriages look at people such as you and I as “adults who were abandoned by their parents". In the sense that we were left to fend for ourselves in finding a partner in the midst of dealing with puberty and sexual coming of age, alone. Now sometimes you can see a tendancy in people to gravitate towards that mentality, a good example is the stereotype of the daughter-mother relationship where they are constantly on the phone with each other and the daughter is very informative of her love life to her mother- an old severed connection trying to be remade between child and parent.

My friend from college who moved from India was excited to be free from his parents and loved seeing all the girls at frat parties, bars, clubs, etc.. and dated gf after gf after gf, but after time realized he was becoming more and more lonely, he eventually called his parents in India, said he finally understood what they were trying to do, and said he changed his mind and wants his parents to find him a wife to marry.

His parents knew another family in India, adequate in status, which had a daughter around the same age going to the same school (western Michigan in Kalamazoo). Both pairs of parents talked to each other, their own child, and eventually the other parent’s child. Then finally, the two themselves , after talking with both their own parents and the parents of their spouse to be, finally met on Kalamazoo Western Michigan campus. Few months later they were married, have been since, taking on the world together hand in hand. And that was 6 years ago. In our society in-laws are a pain, in theirs- a blessing.

That is how, to them, pre-arranged marriages are an honest and well intended effort, to provide for their child. Pre-arranged marriages have a surprisingly higher success rate statistically than typical marriages in the United States.

I have two other friends who married their highschool gf’s, both divorced, and just last year my friends ex-wife shot herself. Now you can bet, when my friends initially talked to their gfs when they got together in high school they never talked about monogamy or marriage in earnest, they just started dating saying “I am yours and you are mine” without really giving it the thought it deserves, hence they failed.

Now here is where I solidify my main point:
am I saying pre-arranged marriages are better? No. I certainly don’t want one. I am simply saying they work for those who share the same values and goals in the paradigm of which the practice was born out of.

I am not saying agree with monogamy, nor agree with polygamy, I am simply saying to see and understand that they are practices born within particular paradigms. And those who share the same values and goals of which the paradigm was born out of, can succeed in the practices under said paradigm, whether its monogamy or polygamy- the case is the same, finding common ground on moral and ethical values regarding relationships.

I hope this starts to make sense of your question on why is it so hard and challenging and not easy, because our culture is shifting, personally I blame pop culture and urban youth culture, but that’s another debate altogether. Marriages are failing in western society, without a doubt, it’s not even a debate- that’s because the values which make marriages work are disintegrating, some conspiracy theorists argue it’s on purpose, that’s a whole other debate though.

Now is it realistic to try and make a monogamous relationship work with someone who doesn’t share those values? No, not at all. But that doesn’t make monogamy unrealistic in and of itself.

Now, I don’t know where you live, but I am a late 20’s born American and never been anywhere else. I realized about two years ago that if I wanted a wife, a true life partner, it would be easier if I sought her out somewhere else in a country where those values and goals are shared, cause she would have been raised with those values, as opposed to the girls my age or younger who grew up in a society where they got used to MTV blaring “shake that booty for me girl” or sexual exploitation on television and movies, sexual objectification in music, the normalization of pornography exposure to the everyday 12 year old – these elements of western society do not instill values which make monogamy conventional. It’s not that hard to make sense of why so, once you see it.

Again it comes down to common ground on moral and ethical values regarding relationships. And in western society there is hardly common ground on anything, again some say it’s on purpose, but I don’t want this debate to go in that direction.

Where I can see this debate going from here however (unless you don’t agree with what I’ve said so far and attack some points on it, which Id be fine with) is whether or not there is enough evidence and information to say that the line has actually been crossed where monogamy is not just difficult, but completely unrealistic in western society as a whole altogether. Which makes me realize I should do some research on this more before it comes time for me to post in the next round, but right now I'll close with these points to sum up my round:

1. It is reasonable to aspire to find someone who shares common values and morals regarding relationships, which makes monogamy a realistic possibility, because there are some people who truly want it, just weren't raised with the wisdom to find it.

2. It is indeed becoming less conventional in western society (which is a relatively recent phenomena) compared to other places in the world, but I argue not entirely unconventional (yet? this is where the bebate might lead to), let alone unrealistic.

Back to you Con!

Debate Round No. 2


It's no problem I realize the name "Nic" could be either. =)

I am an American woman in my very early 30's- I am a studying Psychologist aiming to specialize in Sexuality. It is my duty to understand all aspects of any romantic pursuit. I am simply digging to see how people feel. I love that there is still hope for a monogamous thought. I love encountering those that wish to chase the magic. I like that energy.

However, I want to address some things you said:

I understand fully the absolutely stunning philosophical values behind the "Arranged marriages" found in India, Nepal, Northern Vietnam etc... Not only does the arranged marriage tradition ring beautifully for the parent child relationship it is a tradition that has statistically proven itself more effective and long lasting then that of the western tradition of "dating" leading to monogamous marriage.

To directly quote an article with out citing is dangerous, so I will paraphrase something I read in an anthropology journal...When a woman from India was being interviewed on the subject of Dating vs. Arranged marriages she said..I don't understand why American women would want to date. You rush to get to know somebody before you marry them, and then they turn out to be somebody else. Where as in the arranged marriage you spend the rest of your life getting to know this person- that's what marriage is for us. So not only is your point absolutely spot on but it then deepens, and we find that there is true happiness from the participants in these arrangements.

However, it is also a wide spread tradition for the husband to have concubines and mistresses. India is all about celebrating the human sensuality. So Even with in the beautiful side of arranged marriages we find that some high percent of the time monogamy is not found within the confines of arranged marriages.

Why? simply because to be faithful to one woman whether you like her or not, men and women have options and when in a situation that you did not choose it is easier to have more than one.

I spent some time in Vietnam as well, and when inquiring about the marital and sexual behavior (of men specifically) I found that there were designated hotels (large cat houses if you will) that were widely known amongst the citizens as places that the husbands went so that they could go home to their wives happy. It's crazy! The women were so on board- they wanted a provider, good father and a husband- if he needed to have an alter outlet he should have a safe place to find it and not on the streets.

Again, culture context. The western style of dating is ludicrous. It began almost as a business arrangement and only as early as the 1950's had we really broke out of our shells and decided to marry for "love". Well since then marriage (monogamous marriage) has declined ~70%. When people are free to choose with the end result being an exclusive commitment it fails ~83% of the time. Yet we continue to celebrate this idea and tradition.

I get that it is not unrealistic to want to find the someone you are supposed to be with. But if I had to guess 1-7% of people on EARTH will find their true "should-mate" it is such a rare thing, everyone is doing it. I think there are instances, rare rare instances where one finds another. But now a days it's a show everyone wants to be a character in. and it's messy and hurtful for our families and the children growing up in divorced homes...etc....

My heart goes out to your friend who lost his ex-wife. There are no arguments from me there. Loneliness mixed with confusion is definitely a dangerous mix. Truly I am sorry to hear that.

I agree the best relationships are the ones where similar goals are shared. My only problem with that logic is that- Goals change, they have to. Or evolution would not be so. So to base a permanent arrangement on unstable terrain again, is unpractical.


Goals often change, but they don't have to, I will proceed in arguing why. I am pleased to say that I feel we are zeroing in on the fundamental questions concerning the topic at hand.

The answer to the question at hand "is monogamy realistic" , to me, seems to be directly correlated to a philosophical standpoint concerning the following- I will start with the general concept and then break it down into its parts separated by a "well then...":

Is it realistic to have a goal, and never waver from it?
Well then...
Is it realistic to discipline oneself, day by day, accordingly so that it can become gradually easier to acheieve the goal, and gradually become harder to waver from it?
Well then...
Is it realistic to put effort into concentration, day by day, so you can attain, retain, and develop mindfulness of your core values so that you don't become distracted and forget them?

When we forget and become distracted of core values through lack of mindfulness and concentration, discipline weakens and it becomes gradually harder to achieve the goal, and gradually easier to waver from it, thus rendering it unrealistic.

When concentration and mindfulness of core values can be established, discipline can be kept firm, and when discipline can be kept firm, it gradually becomes easier to achieve the goal, and gradually becomes harder to waver from it, rendering it realistic.

The goal of monogamy is unbetrayed devotion. The values behind unbetrayed devotion is reliability, aimed direction, firmness, dependability, and shelter. It doesn't even have to be devotion to a person, but in this case that is what we're talking about- meaning it takes two to pull it off and I admit that increases chance of failure, but increases the reward if there's success.

Core values is the centerpiece, the keynote, the nucleus. A lot of people have them and don't realize what they are until they lose something precious, or do something they strongly regret.

Not everyone has them, I understand that. And not everyone who does have them can stick to them. People of integrity are rare, but not unreal - and they do at times find each other.
Debate Round No. 3


Well then... (I like that I'm gunna steal it)

I agree. If one is disciplined goals are easily obtained and to stray from them would feel odd.

However, it is not merely core goals that keep us together. There are surface goals which are changing in a daily basis at worst. Money, family troubles, sexual desire (which as I'm sure you know being in your 20's drastically change over the course of ones life) the goal at first is to have great sex! By 40 you just want to have sex period. Some people even begin to bat for the opposing team.

These changes require wiggle room that monagamy just doesn't allow for. But these changes are so realistic we can count on the fact that change is inevitable. We can know for sure that the only constant is inconsistency.

Monagamy demands you be devoted to an unchanging scenario- but we know that is entirely un realistic.


Anatta forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


In conclusion- I want to say you had some excellent points which have enabled me to further think about my argument and to really solidify my points as well, you have been awesome to banter with. I appreciate the effort you set forth in defining your terms and keeping me on topic.

I would like to sum it up by saying- Monogamy: an exclusive marriage between two people is unrealistic, not only is it unrealistic in todays society it has always been unrealistic.

Is it a possibility? Absolutely! Can it be found? Absolutely!

But for it to be a standard model of how society should couple up and begin to reproduce is unnecessary. Trying to fit 90% of the population into a box that may only truly hold 7% of the population is cruel, unfair and furthermore unjustified.

There is a reason every fairytale ever told ends in a monogamous glittery cloud of happiness, rainbows and unicorns with half donkey half dragon babies. (Shrek) Because it's just that, a fairytale.

I wish they would continue the story and show prince charming galavanting with the kingdom peasants in the local brothel while snow white is getting her nails done because she's rich now.

Or show Ariel returning to the seamen because she misses who she was before she changed her entire being for Eric-

But they don't, they just end it on a blissful note: and rightfully so- I wouldn't want my kids asking "WTF" questions before they even had to think about relationships.

I end with my original point, shared goals, or not- the one constant is inconsistency and for the majority of life inconsistency knock us down and lift us up continuously, all I am saying is there should be a more realistic model of partnership than monogamy for humanity.


Anatta forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Anatta 1 year ago
Regarding my post in round 3, I should have used "rendering more realistic, rendering less realistic" rather than "rendering realistic, rendering unrealistic"

And when I mentioned "shelter" it was in a more abstract sense than a concrete one.
Posted by kasmic 1 year ago
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