Poly relationships can end like their monogamous counterparts, but the outcome may be more comples. “some poly relationships appear to last more durably than many monogamous relationships because they can flex to meet different needs over time in a way that monogamous relationships – with their abundant norms and requirements of sexual fidelity — find more challenging”. This research piece shows different ways poly relationships end.
This is a chapter forthcoming in Selves, Symbols and Sexualities: Contemporary Readings, edited by Staci Newmahr and Thomas Weinberg. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Relationships in the United States at the beginning of the 21st century exist in a uniquely schizophrenic state in which couples routinely promise to stay together “until death do we part” in their marriage vows, even though most people are painfully aware that roughly half of all marriages end in divorce (Cherlin 2010, 405). Although most families have divorced members in their kinship networks, conventional wisdom still defines a marriage or long-term relationship that ends in any other outcome besides death as a failure. Children of divorce are said to come from “broken homes” (Fagan 1999) and their parents have “failed marriages” which mark them as personal, relational, and often financial failures (Madow and Hardy 2010). These cultural norms define “successful”…
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