Is monogamy a reality?

As children, many of us grew up watching the storybook worlds of Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty, being told that one day we would find our prince charming and live happily ever after.

That theme seems to continue into the romantic comedies and dramas that we watch as adults. The message is clear — we are to find that one special person, and then all of our problems will go away.

But what if we find love and things don’t work out as easily as we thought they would? What if that one special person we find has five other special people in his or her life?

According to an article by biological anthropologist Helen Fisher from January this year, 20 to 40 percent of heterosexual married men, and 20 to 25 percent of heterosexual married women in the United States will cheat on their spouse during their lifetime.

Dr. Jose Abara psychology professor at Santa Monica College, says that cheating may be caused by a lack of some dimensions in the relationship.

“One of the three important components of a relationship, which are passion, connection and commitment, might be lacking,” says Abara. “So a person might then go outside to fulfill that component.”

When 19-year-old SMC student Isabella Pruna moved to Santa Monica, she started to suspect that her boyfriend back home was seeing other people behind her back.

Pruna's intuition and suspicions soon turned out to be accurate.

Pruna thinks that her boyfriend at the time wasn’t capable of being alone and needed love and attention from others besides her. She says that if she were to move back home and reconcile with him, trusting him to be faithful would prove difficult.

Perhaps some people aren’t suited for monogamy. Certain people may not be able to find everything they need in just one person.

20-year-old SMC student Yunuen Tapia and her most recent partner decided, when they started dating, that they would not be monogamous. Their relationship ended up lasting longer and being more successful than any of Tapia’s former ones.

“I honestly think that it strengthened our relationship,” Tapia says. “Jealousy arrived of course, but we worked through it because we love each other.”

Fearing judgment and ridicule Tapia didn’t dare to tell others about her open relationship.

While Pruna's story is more consistent with the everyday morals of what a healthy relationship really is, Tapia’s story shows that real, long-lastin, love can exist under conditions different from what tradition and the media tells us.

Although many might feel that monogamy is the right choice for them, others might be happier under different circumstances.

Whether it’s temptation, pressure, jealousy or something else that makes monogamy unappealing, people should be allowed to make the rules in their own relationships.

Perhaps if we are allowed to be honest about who we are, what we want, and what we can handle, less people will get hurt and relationships will be healthier. As our society becomes more modern, we should open our minds to new lifestyle choices, embrace new values that go beyond tradition and religion, and focus more on the well-being and freedom of choice for each unique individual.