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  #11  
Old 06-05-2012, 02:35 PM
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What I always heard was that essentially monogamy was divided into two subgroups:
  • having only one partner ever, for life;
  • having more than one partner in one lifetime, but only one partner at a time.
Anything falling under the second category could technically be called serial monogamy. It seems safe to say that most monogamists are "serial monogamists," but not all.

The main negative usage I've heard is when some monogamous person trash talks polyamory, and some polyamorist reacts by pointing out that most monogamists are "serial monogamists" (that is, they do have more than one partner over the course of one lifetime).

I prefer not to get involved in that kind of argument. If some monogamous person wants to look down on polyamory, that's their choice, and arguing with them isn't likely to change their mind. Worse, the "serial monogamy argument" is just switching the shoe to the other foot, so that now polyamorists are looking down on monogamy. That's not a good solution to the argument, IMO.

A classic example of serial monogamy (especially the negative kind) would be someone who married and divorced many times. But from my understanding, anything that involves more than one partner over one lifetime (but still always one partner at a time) could technically be classified as serial monogamy.

Since the word is often used in a negative or argumentative context, I usually just don't use the word. But the above paragraphs tell something about what definitions I've heard for it.
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  #12  
Old 06-05-2012, 02:50 PM
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I don't think "serial monogamy" applies in short term relationships. Short term relationships are short term because they fail to develop into a viable, compatible relationship. It doesn't take years, or even one year to know someone is not right for you. This is usually obvious early on. So as far as serial monogamy applying to short term relationships, I don't agree.
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  #13  
Old 06-05-2012, 04:46 PM
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I've always thought of serial monogamists as those people who fall in love with someone, stay with them for x number of years, then accidentally fall in love with someone else and leave for the other person. Repeat pattern. They believe they can't love two people at the same time so obviously the first partner has to go.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Worse, the "serial monogamy argument" is just switching the shoe to the other foot, so that now polyamorists are looking down on monogamy.
I don't agree that making the "serial monogamy argument", as you call it, means the poly person is necessarily looking down on monogamy.

If, when I tell her in a couple years, my mom has a negative reaction to me being poly, one of the things that I plan on pointing out to her is the hypocrisy of being okay with my dad being married, divorced, and married again (to her), my sister being married, divorced, and now having a serious boyfriend, my aunt (her sister) being married, divorced, and married again, etc. but thinking that my lifestyle is somehow wrong or damaging. My husband and I are staying married, NOT getting divorced and putting our kids through the trauma of their family splitting up, but I also have another serious relationship that my husband is aware of and okay with.

My point to her will not be that poly is somehow better, because it's not. The point will be that monogamy is fine for some people (including, for now, my husband) and poly is fine for others, and that at the fundamental level they aren't THAT different. Having one partner at a time versus having multiple partners at a time should only matter to the people involved in the relationship, not those looking on from the outside.
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  #15  
Old 06-08-2012, 09:02 PM
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Well, I think the key here would just be communicating clearly, and making sure the other person knew you weren't "putting them down." Serial monogamy isn't far removed from polyamory; I can see that. Even to the point that it gets a little hypocritical for some serial monogamists to pass judgment on polyamory.
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  #16  
Old 06-08-2012, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post
Also, both definitions of "serial monogamy" have negative connotations, right? Do you think that's fair? I'm sure almost everyone has been a serial monogamist at some point in their life.

I could see either "type" of serial monogamists discovering polyamory and feeling that it might work better than the way they've been doing things.
No, I don't think it's fair at all. Especially being aware that a lot of people who are poly now were previously monogamous and thought that was the only way to have a valid relationship. I'm still very inexperienced polywise and I find it very off-putting and rude when I see "serial monogamy" being used as a slight from other polyfolk to those who are mono.
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  #17  
Old 06-08-2012, 11:04 PM
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I can see the bad connotation being "fair" when it means "dumps current partner when someone else comes along", because it doesn't seem very respectful of your partners. In other cases though, I don't think it's inherently bad.
I also don't think the "leave a partner when another one comes along" is limited to monogamy. I've certainly seen people have a primary partner, and deal with secondaries in a similar way, being, I guess, serial polyamorists of some sort?
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