Monday, August 01, 2011

Serial Monogamy

I have a middle-aged woman friend who has recently found the 'love of her life'. Well, at least for the moment, he is the love of her life. She and Her previous partner separated about a year ago. In the interim, she struggled to insinuate herself into the 'dating scene' via various Internet 'meet-up' sites. It has been a challenging circumstance for her as well as for other friends who have also recently split form partners of many years.

During this same period, a third middle-aged (well, 70ish) friend has also found a particularly salubrious circumstance with a partner she also met on a dating web site.

The three women live in different western cultures.

Since my husband and I met on an Internet dating site in 2000, I am particularly aware of the ritual that goes with this process. At the time we met, successful Internet sites were few and far between. The big money had not yet discovered the pot of gold at the end of a common electronic 'hook up'.

But all of this background is precisely that – background. The real issue of today's blog entry is serial monogamy, which seems to be an increasingly common practice in many cultures. There are data about the length of time men and women are spending in marriages or partnerships. A significant number of couples choose several long term partnerships in their lifetime and fewer couples are remaining monogamous with the same partner for their entire married life. I do not here discriminate between homosexual partnerships and heterosexual partnerships.

Both of the articles whose web addresses are included below treat 'serial monogamy'' as a negative process. Even as late as 2009 the prejudice against divorce or separation and remarriage or re-partnering seems to be seen as a negative influence in society.

It may be interesting to investigate further the positive and negative impact of serial monogamy on modern culture. To be sure the statistics suggest that western cultures once were more willing to embrace 'serial monogamy.' However, by 2009, Korea had the third highest rate of divorce or separation and serial monogamy as part of its social fabric. And China is not so very far behind.

I see the process as a positive aspect of cultures in which humans are living longer. Although one British article suggests that serial monogamy more often serves as a positive force for the mental health of males, it also suggests serial monogamy works to create a negative mental health pattern for females.

The more serial relationships a woman has, the more negative her mental health. There is in the article no indicator of what parameters of mental health are used to make such a finding. Men, according to the article are happiest after or in their third relationship as part of their participation in serial monogamy.

Thought provoking to say the least and not the topic on which I came to write today. Tomorrow, I'll get to the point with an article about my theory (not factual, of course) on why we choose particular partners with whom to practice serial monogamy.

(click on the title to today's blog entry to go to the first article. Here is the second.)