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Married To Options? The Future Of 21st Century Marriages

By Beatrice Porbeni 26 September 2017   |   5:00 pm

There’s really no manual to staying married in the 21st century. In light of the recent Kevin Hart cheating scandal, perhaps we should explore what the deal is with modern day marriages. The old-fashioned boy meets girl, boy takes girl out on a date and then comes love and marriage fantasy has become way more complicated over time. Having a side piece, side chick or baby mama in 2017 can’t be shocking to anyone. We can all agree that dating has become so much more difficult than ever before, particularly with social media being a primary mode of communication, we have endless options when it comes to choosing partners, so why settle for one?

While monogamy is the global norm, which society often enforces, “Who’s to say that it’s right or wrong?” says millennials who dictate their life according to their individualistic rules. So we asked, “What is the future of marriage? Are we redefining the meaning of commitment? What are the millennials saying?”

“Having a side piece is wrong but it doesn’t necessarily dictate how committed you are to your better half because with them you share much more than sexual commitment” – 24-year-old male.

These days, you can actually be fully committed to your partner but “sexually committed to someone else”. While you can love your partner, sex for many is just a pleasurable, fun activity, which can be separated from commitment. Essentially, the idea of infidelity becomes more emotional than physical and ultimately the “side piece” doesn’t come with the emotional baggage of the past and future obligations. There’s extra pleasure you possess when you can have sex with someone who isn’t obligated to have sex with you.

“Having a side piece has always been the norm… it’s just that now women are becoming more outspoken and independent.” – 25-year-old female.

So according to history, men have always been entitled to more than one woman. History suggests that the notion of monogamy particularly in Africa came along with Christianity and modernity as our ancestral men aspired to polygamy. There are quite a few reasons why monogamy became a social norm, most things were constructed for the betterment of society and not natural human instinct. According to Huffington Post, an online publication which talks about the future of marriages, “In the future, couples will have monogamy agreements that are defined early in their relationship and revisited often, in open, honest conversations that include their desires and fantasies, and are renewed with new visions of their relationship on a regular basis.” Essentially, it can be argued that monogamy isn’t as straightforward or as “normal” as we think.

“There are already a lot of open marriages, sometimes one-sided but the expectation for commitment is low and that’s going to increase.” 21-year-old female.

While in the past, women were not accustomed to taking up more than one partner; the “global” idea of feminism, to which most societies are beginning to adapt, promotes female equality in all aspects of life so the likelihood that women won’t be as accepting towards one-sided infidelity in the future is quite high. A recent article by the Telegraph UK is titled, Is feminism ruining the institution of marriage? It expands on a survey, which shows 69% of women are now initiating divorce. Although our culture tends to be more tolerant to male infidelity, many predict that the future suggests a potential increase in divorce rates and an increase in mutually conducive, open marriages.

We naturally crave love, happiness, spontaneity but increasingly we want freedom too. The problem with this freedom is that sometimes it doesn’t quite work with the idea of commitment when it comes to relationships or marriage. Perhaps the institution of marriage can be restructured or customised nuptial contracts might be drawn up that more accurately reflect what individuals want in their relationships.

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