Are Non-Monogamous Couples Happier?

They've got more traditional couples beat in one key area.
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Ali Drucker
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They've got more traditional couples beat in one key area.
Photo: Tom Merton / Getty Images

Photo: Tom Merton / Getty Images

Bob Dylan had it right when he said "The times they are a changing." While a few decades ago the idea of a polyamorous relationship may have been largely unheard of, more Americans than ever are accepting of the practice (although a majority still oppose it) and psychologists estimate that up to 5% of Americans are in consensual, poly relationships. 

This is potentially for good reason. A recent study published in The Archives of Sexual Behavior is perhaps providing further proof that less traditional configurations of love and sexuality may have some benefits we hadn't yet considered. 

The study, which compared "mate retention behaviors" between monogamous and consensually non-monogamous (CNM) couples discovered that when it came to satisfaction with the primary partner, both types of relationships reported equal levels of happiness. 

But non-monogamous couples did express a notable difference in one key area: communication. According to the study, "...Monogamous participants reported less satisfaction with the amount of communication and openness they had with their partner compared to CNM participants’ reports of their primary partner." Despite the idea of "sharing everything" with your partner, polyamorous couples tend to be more open and sharing than their monogamous counterparts. I guess communication really is that important.

While the married, monogamous relationship was once thought of as the pinnacle of domestic bliss, this is just part of a slew of research that suggests there's more than one way to achieve relationship satisfaction. Another study this year, from The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, shows that casual sex relationships, or friends with benefits, reported equal (if not greater) satisfaction with their relationship than married couples.

Hey, we're not saying you and your partner should consider hooking up with other people...but it might not hurt.