“Polygamy: An endeavor to get more out of life than there is in it.”
Elbert Hubbard, Writer
Pros and Cons of Polygamy
Polygamy is the concept that people can be married to more than one partner. If a man has more than one wife at the same time, it is called Polygyny. If a woman has more than one husband at the same time, it is called Polyandry. If a family consists of multiple husbands and multiple wives, it is called group marriage.
Polygamy is quite popular in some countries while it is considered as rather dodgy in others. While there are some advantages to the concept of polygamy, there are also some problems related to it. In this article, the pros and cons of polygamy are discussed.
Advantages of Polygamy
- Polygamy has been present in history for a long time
- Humans are polygamist by nature
- Bigger selection of partners
- Lower risk that people get bored in a marriage
- Bigger families imply more connections
- Concept of one soulmate for everyone is flawed anyway
- Can expand your gene pool
- Makes sense if there is no balance between males and females in a region
- Polygamy as sort of status symbol
- Lower incentive to cheat in a marriage
- Fear of losing your partner may be lower with polygamy
- You don’t have to make compromises
Polygamy has been present in history for a long time
Polygamy is not a new concept at all. In fact, we as humans lived in a polygamous state throughout the history of mankind. Only in recent centuries, the concept of monogamy became more popular. However, from a historical perspective, polygamy makes quite a lot of sense and what had been good for many thousands of years may also be considered to be good in our current state of the world.
Hence, from a historical perspective, practicing polygamy can make quite a lot of sense and monogamy is a rather recent invention that needs to prove itself yet.
Humans are polygamist by nature
In fact, humans are polygamist by nature. For many thousands of years, people really struggled to survive and had to search for food and shelter. Quite often, polygamous families formed since it was just the only way to survive for many people.
Consequently, humans evolved with a polygamist nature and it is deep inside our DNA that we need more than one partner to be happy in the long run.
Therefore, polygamy also makes quite a lot of sense and may be superior over monogamy also from a gene development perspective.
Bigger selection of partners
Another advantage of polygamy is that there will be a variety of different partners available to you. In fact, if you live in a polygamous relationship, you can have multiple partners at the same time without being accused of cheating. Depending on your preferences, this can mean that you only have two spouses or even numerous different spouses at the same time.
The exact number is up to you and to your individual preferences. In general, polygamy allows you to have a bigger selection of partners at the same time and in case one partner annoys you quite a lot, you can simply spend your time with your other spouses and neglect the annoying spouse for a while.
Thus, a bigger variety of different partners can make your life easier in the sense that you can choose with whom you want to spend your time with.
Lower risk that people get bored in a marriage
Another benefit of polygamy is that there will be lower risk that people get bored in their marriage. Let’s be honest. In our current state of the world, most marriages are just maintained since people are too lazy to divorce. Some people also fear the financial consequences of divorce and therefore stay married to their partners.
However, most people in a marriage get bored over time and urgently want to experience something new. Yet, they will not be allowed to do so since they are only allowed to have one spouse in a conventional monogamous partnership.
Consequently, in order to give people the option to explore new partners and to make life more interesting in general, polygamy can also make quite a lot of sense in this regard.
Bigger families imply more connections
If you live in a polygamous relationship, your family will be bigger than the family of people who live in monogamous relationships on average. In turn, this also implies that you will have more connections and a stronger social network. Networks and connections to different people are quite important to succeed in various parts of life.
For instance, if you want to get a demanding corporate job that pays quite a lot of money, your chances will increase significantly if you have connections inside the company. The same is true for many other parts of life and therefore, polygamy can also increase your overall chances in life in general.
Concept of one soulmate for everyone is flawed anyway
Many people still believe in the soulmate myth. This means that people believe that there is only one partner for every person on earth with whom they should spend their lives together in a monogamous relationship. However, if we have a look at statistics and marriage data, we realize that this concept is laughable.
Around half of all marriages will result in a divorce and after the divorce happened, many people will search for a new partner. Hence, the soulmate myth is actually based on a flawed argumentation and the related need for monogamy can be rejected pretty easily when we have a closer look at how the world really works.
Can expand your gene pool
Another upside of polygamy is that it can also help you to expand your gene pool. In fact, many studies have shown that a variety of different genes is best for humanity since it lowers the vulnerability for diseases.
By sleeping with more than one partner and by having children with your different spouses, you can expand your gene pool quite a lot and you can make sure that your genes will be passed forward from many different children.
Thus, having multiple children with multiple partners can not only make sense on the individual level, it can also make sense from a global human gene perspective.
Makes sense if there is no balance between males and females in a region
Polygamous relationships can also make quite a lot of sense in regions where there is a significant imbalance between men and women. In fact, if there are far more women than men in the respective region, it can make sense that a man has multiple women. This can not only be beneficial for the man, but also for his wives since those wives will be provided with shelter and food.
Hence, polygamous relationships are especially senseful in poor regions where people struggle to survive without a partner and where there is a significant gender imbalance.
Polygamy as sort of status symbol
In some cultures, having multiple spouses at the same time is also considered as kind of a status symbol. This is especially true for men. In fact, the more wives a man has, the higher his social status will be in society. In turn, other men often want to be like this guy and the men that have multiple wives will often be the most respected men in those societies.
Thus, depending on the respective region, it can also make quite a lot of sense to live a polygamous lifestyle in order to increase social status and the overall level of acceptance in society.
Lower incentive to cheat in a marriage
People who have multiple partners will also have a lower incentive to cheat on their partners. In fact, if you have a big selection of different partners, you will not feel too much urge to go out and to cheat on your partners. Instead, you can stay at home and choose the wife you want to spend time with according to your preferences.
In fact, many people in a monogamous relationship cheat on their partners since they are just quite fed up with him or her and want to experience new things.
Therefore, polygamy can also make quite a lot of sense since cheating would no longer be necessary and feelings would not be hurt as often as in monogamous relationships.
Fear of losing your partner may be lower with polygamy
Another benefit of polygamy is that the fear of losing your partner may be much lower compared to monogamous relationships. If you have multiple spouses, you will not fear too much to lose one of them since there will be many others left. In fact, if one spouse wants to leave you, you will still have many other spouses around you and you can even replace him or her with another partner.
In turn, the fear of losing your partner will be quite limited due to this fact, which in turn also implies a higher overall quality of life since you don’t have to worry about losing your partner too much.
You don’t have to make compromises
When you are in a polygamous relationship, you also don’t have to make any compromises. In fact, if you provide for all of your spouses, you will also be the one in charge and can lead the relationship. This also implies that you can basically do whatever you want and don’t have to comply with the preferences of your spouses.
If one spouse is not fine with your decisions, he or she could leave the relationship and you will still have enough spouses left who are fine with your decisions and views on the world.
Disadvantages of Polygamy
- Polygamy can be problematic from a legal perspective
- Religious concerns related to polygamy
- Polygamy may lead to jealousy
- Having more than one partner can be expensive
- You need a bigger home if you have multiple spouses
- Polygamy may promote gender inequality
- Some spouses may be treated quite poorly
- Tensions in the household will be quite common
- Spouses may not accept children from other spouses
- Spouses may be stuck in unhappy marriages
- Children may get neglected
- Mental issues related to polygamy
- Polygamy is considered as dodgy in many regions
- Spread of diseases inside the polygamous marriage
- Inheritance issues are rather common
Polygamy can be problematic from a legal perspective
While there are many advantages of polygamy, this concept also implies some problems. For instance, one disadvantage of polygamy is that it can be problematic from a legal perspective. In fact, in many countries all over the world, polygamy is not permitted by law and marrying multiple partners is simply not allowed.
Hence, in case you aspire to such a lifestyle, you may have to keep it secret and discrete instead of bragging about it in front of your friends.
Religious concerns related to polygamy
Another problem of polygamy is that it can also be problematic from a religious perspective. In fact, many religious people think that monogamy is the way to go and that everything else will not be in line with religious beliefs.
Consequently, people who live in regions where religious beliefs are quite important may also have a quite hard time living a polygamous lifestyle since they may get socially excluded by the local population due to that.
Polygamy may lead to jealousy
Polygamy can also lead to serious levels of jealousy. In fact, while many partners claim that they are satisfied with polygamous relationships, they are actually not and they know it deep inside. In turn, spouses may become quite jealous over time and jealousy is problematic for every kind of relationship.
In the long run, jealousy may translate into fear, desperation and also into a state where some spouses feel neglected, which in turn greatly lowers the overall quality of life of those partners.
Having more than one partner can be expensive
In case you have multiple partners and you have to provide for all of them, this can also be quite problematic from a financial standpoint. In fact, many people underestimate the costs related to polygamy and are surprised of how expensive it can be to have multiple partners. In fact, you will often have to pay for the shopping trips of multiple partners and also have to buy presents for your spouses from time to time.
The more spouses you have, the more expensive your lifestyle tends to be. Therefore, if you are currently on a budget and try to save money, polygamy will likely not be the way to go for you.
You need a bigger home if you have multiple spouses
Another problem with polygamy is that you will also need a bigger home in order to accommodate all of your spouses. This also implies that you have to pay a much higher rent compared to a state where you were in a monogamous relationship.
In turn, this will imply an additional financial burden on you and you should make sure that you can afford having multiple partners in order to protect yourself from any financial difficulties related to your polygamous lifestyle.
Polygamy may promote gender inequality
Opponents of polygamy also often claim that this concept promotes gender inequality. In fact, in regions where men have multiple wives, those wives often only have quite confined rights. In turn, those wives often don’t have the opportunity to educate themselves and to work in the job they want to.
Instead, they often have to stay at home and have to cook and do the household. Consequently, polygamy can also be considered as problematic from a gender inequality perspective.
Some spouses may be treated quite poorly
In general, spouses in polygamous partnerships are often treated quite poorly. In fact, the incentive to treat your partners with respect decreases with polygamy since you will have a bigger selection of spouses and will not care too much whether a partner leaves you or not. Thus, polygamy may also decrease the level of respect for each other in the long run.
Tensions in the household will be quite common
Another downside of polygamy is that tensions in such relationships will be quite common. Although your partners may claim that they are fine with you having multiple spouses, they will often not be fine with it at all. In fact, your spouses will likely try to manipulate each other in order to get your attention and to turn you into a monogamous creature.
In turn, those manipulation attempts can lead to serious tensions inside your family and to many unpleasant outcomes in the long run.
Spouses may not accept children from other spouses
Children will often also have a hard time in polygamous households. In fact, women will always prefer their own children over the children from the other wives and this can lead to a state where one wife will not accept the children of another wife. In turn, this can lead to a state where children are treated quite poorly in the long run.
Spouses may be stuck in unhappy marriages
Polygamous relationships can also lead to a state where spouses get stuck in unhappy marriages. In fact, in many polygamous relationships, spouses will be treated rather poorly and will also not be allowed to earn their own money.
In turn, the level of dependence on their partner is enormous and those spouses will often not be able to leave the marriage due to financial reasons, even though they might not be happy in their marriage at all.
Children may get neglected
Polygamous households also tend to have many children. However, if there are too many children in a household, chances are that some of those children will suffer from serious neglect. In turn, those children may not get enough food or also not have the opportunity to get proper education.
Mental issues related to polygamy
Many partners in polygamous relationships also suffer from mental problems. While spouses are often fine with polygamous relationships at the beginning, they often realize after a while that they rather want to spend their lives in a monogamous relationship instead.
However, in many cases, this will no longer be possible. In turn, those people will often suffer from serious mental issues since they will lose all their hope for a better future.
Polygamy is considered as dodgy in many regions
In general, the overall level of acceptance towards polygamous relationships is often rather limited. In fact, in many regions all over the world, polygamy is considered to be rather dodgy and not in line with cultural and social norms.
In turn, if you want to practice polygamy in those regions, chances are that you will get socially isolated and may not be considered as a valuable member of society anymore.
Spread of diseases inside the polygamous marriage
Polygamous relationships also imply the problem that the risk for the spread of diseases increases significantly. In fact, if you are intimate with many different partners, chances are that you will transmit certain diseases from one partner to the other.
Inheritance issues are rather common
In many polygamous relationships, it is also rather unclear who has the right to inherit the assets in the household. In fact, since there will be many different spouses and children in polygamous households, it will be quite hard to figure out who gets what and disputes are rather common in this regard.
Top 10 Polygamy Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Polygamy Pros||Polygamy Cons|
|Polygamy can give you more options||Polygamy can be stressful|
|Polygamy makes sense from a historical context||Polygamy can lead to tensions|
|Humans are just polygamist by nature||It can be expensive|
|Your life will be more interesting||Polygamy may lead to neglect of children|
|Can help you to expand your gene pool||Spouses may not feel comfortable|
|Polygamy can be a status symbol||May be problematic from a legal perspective|
|You don’t have to compromise||Children may be treated differently|
|You can replace your partners||Inheritance problems|
|Lower incentive to cheat||Polygamy may lead to mental problems|
|No unhealthy attachment to a single person||May lead to unhappiness in the long run|
Polygamy vs. Monogamy – Which One Is Better?
As we can conclude from the discussion above, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages of polygamy. In the end, everyone should decide for themselves whether a polygamous lifestyle is suitable for them or if they rather want to spend their lives with only one partner instead.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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