Okay, the idea of polygamy might sound absurd in these modern times, but the truth is, the practice has been around since the beginning of time.
If what comes to mind when you hear polygamy is a marital arrangement of one guy with more than one wife, you are not wrong. That's because it's the most common type of polygamy around.
However, there are also polyandry and group marriages. The former is when a woman marries more than one guy, while the latter is a marital arrangement, where four or more adults are sexually and romantically involved with each other.
Believe it or not, polygamy has its advantages, just as there are tons of disadvantages. What's more, people are still engaging it now as it's still common in many parts of the world.
So, if you are wondering what polygamy feels like, perhaps you are considering the idea of being the new wife to an already married man, or your husband is making new marriage plans with another woman. You might want to know what's in store in terms of the pros and cons of polygamy.
- 1 29 Pros And Cons Of Polygamy
- 1.1 1. It promotes culture
- 1.2 2. Polygamy can save a woman “the wait”
- 1.3 3. Bigger family
- 1.4 4. Lower chances of getting bored
- 1.5 5. Sharing of duties
- 1.6 6. There's less argument over sex
- 1.7 7. The soulmate ideology is flawed anyway
- 1.8 8. Excellent Gene pool expansion
- 1.9 9. Financial security
- 1.10 10. Polygamy can help a population with an unusual imbalance of sexes
- 1.11 11. Polygamy can be a status symbol
- 1.12 12. Lower drive to cheat
- 1.13 13. Polygamy can encourage hard work and healthy competition
- 1.14 14. It can be a win-win
- 1.15 15. Celibacy
- 1.16 16. Polygamy can trample on the rights of women
- 1.17 17. The law may not be friendly to women in polygamous marriages
- 1.18 18. Polygamy is a breeding ground for jealousy
- 1.19 19. Health implications
- 1.20 20. You'll miss “your” guy
- 1.21 21. Polygamy can make the husband take the spouse for granted
- 1.22 22. The man has little or no reason to make compromises
- 1.23 23. Polygamy & gender inequality are “partners in crime”
- 1.24 24. Some spouses may be treated quite poorly
- 1.25 25. Household tension may be relatively higher
- 1.26 26. Children may have a hard time understanding
- 1.27 27. Financial downtime may be harder to manage
- 1.28 28. Legal issues with inheritance
- 1.29 29. Mental issues are common in polygamy
- 2 FAQs
- 3 In Conclusion
29 Pros And Cons Of Polygamy
1. It promotes culture
Yes, if you are from the United States or some other civilized nations of the world, the idea of polygamy may sound strange to you, especially when you've never seen it before. However, it's the culture in many locations such as Africa and the Middle East. There are so many cultural practices that may seem weird elsewhere but are totally seen as a good thing where they are practiced.
In many of these locations, polygamy is not seen as victimization or abuse of the womenfolk. In fact, some women consider it as a good thing as they share the social status their husband has and may even encourage him to take more spouses. Just as many cultural practices, polygamy promotes and exhibits cultures of a location or area.
2. Polygamy can save a woman “the wait”
While the idea of a one-man/one-wife marriage makes better sense, it's not uncommon to find an adult woman without a guy. This situation is not because she chose the path of being single for life or became a widow, but it’s just that she has been unlucky. The fact is, some women never find their Prince Charming to put a ring on it.”
So, instead of waiting for a single guy that may never come, settling to be a man's second or third wife might not be such a bad idea. Not only will such a woman be part of a “family, but” she'll also get the support she needs, especially when the guy is rich.
Yes, women can choose to get pregnant by any “John Doe” or approach a sperm bank if she’s unlucky with finding a man to start a family with. However, these options aren't easy for women in many locations of the world like Africa. Apart from the backlash from parents, the societal stigma is another bummer.
3. Bigger family
The practice of polygamy naturally leads to a larger family compared to monogamous relationships. While a woman can have up to five or even six children, the possibility of having a larger family is even higher with more women in polygamy. A big family has its advantages. Your children will get to grow up in an environment with a greater connection with more children.
In monogamous relationships, an only child may only get to mingle with other kids and learn social skills when they get to school or other external playgroups. With the viral pandemic, keeping safe at home with a large family doesn't sound so bad.
4. Lower chances of getting bored
Whether it's a one-man/multiple women relationship, polyandry, or group marriage, one of the benefits of polygamy (when looking at the pros and cons of the practice), is the low risk of getting bored. Research shows that one of the reasons for cheating in marriages is boredom. Most people search for more excitement outside their marriage since adultery isn't a legal or an open option.
So, with the multiple options available in polygamy, the chances of getting bored are lower. Trust me, the idea of not getting bored is not only for the guy, who technically has the option of having sex with multiple women.
As a woman/wife in a polygamy arrangement, you can interact with co-wives, their children, and so on. The bottom line is, maintaining the marriage no longer rests on two persons only since there are more people in the polygamy marriage setting. More could be the merrier, right?
5. Sharing of duties
Looking through these pros and cons, you'll undoubtedly find many undesirable cons, but you can't ignore this upside as a woman. You'd probably agree that men are guilty when it comes to leaving most of the house chores to their wives.
Even in this modern age, where gender inequality is being frowned upon, many domestic chores are still classified as feminine things. Being in a polygamous marriage can help ease the pressure of doing all the chores alone.
In a setting where there's an equal contribution of effort, the wives can alternate handling the house chores. It can become so convenient that one wife can rest from all chores in a particular week and resume subsequent weeks.
6. There's less argument over sex
Sex keeps relationships together. In fact, many couples in therapy revealed that sex was the only glue that held their marriage for many years when there was no longer time to engage in other things that strengthen relationships. Therefore, it's not uncommon for arguments to erupt when a man isn't getting enough intimate time with his wife.
Sometimes, this situation may even push the partner away into the web of infidelity if it gets too much. However, there will probably be less argument in polygamy when a wife says no to her husband's sexual move because she's tired or not in the mood. After all, there's another wife under the same roof to satisfy his urges.
7. The soulmate ideology is flawed anyway
Now, I'm not trying to use this point to justify adultery or promote polygamy, but let's face it, the alarming rate of divorce proves that the soulmate ideology is laughable. It shows that marriages that work only do so because of a conscious effort to stay together from both parties.
Naturally, humans are a variety-loving species, which makes cheating on our spouses an easy option as continuous monotony is a problem for us. With polygamy, there's technically an acceptance of human nature by the parties involved, which may slightly reduce jealousy and the need for divorce.
8. Excellent Gene pool expansion
As a woman, you naturally have a limited number of children you can give birth to in one lifetime. On the other hand, a guy can father as many children as possible as long as there's a willing female. With monogamy, a man with an excellent gene, for example, a genius gene, may never pass that gene to his progeny since the number of children in monogamous settings is usually few.
Even if he can, only a few children will likely get the genes since a monogamous family setting usually has few children. However, having multiple wives will increase the chances of many children, which will also increase the possibility of passing special genes to many progenies.
9. Financial security
People marry for companionship, start a family, financial support, pressure from parents, etc. In Africa, many men who willfully engage in polygamy are usually financially stable. For a woman who cares more about taking care of her needs above other factors, a polygamy arrangement can be beneficial if the guy is wealthy.
Again, in Africa, many women with children from a previous marriage or relationship often consider polygamy as it does not only offer them financial support, but it also gives them a sense of being part of a family instead of being alone as getting married can be a little challenging with extra “baggage.”
Furthermore, even if the husband isn't extremely wealthy, just as two is better than one, three or more financially stable people in a marriage setting will undoubtedly translate to financial security for the entire family.
10. Polygamy can help a population with an unusual imbalance of sexes
If you are looking at polygamy's pros and cons from the angle of a guy enjoying multiple sex partners only, you'll be blinded to this advantage. Naturally, there are more women in the world than women than men.
What's more, there are places where the number of marriage-eligible women is significantly higher than their male counterparts. In such scenarios, polygamy can be a lifesaver. The men enjoy having multiple options, and the wives enjoy financial support and a family relationship that comes from being married.
11. Polygamy can be a status symbol
Believe it or not, polygamy symbolizes the alpha male status in many ancient cultures. It's common among ancient kings and royal officials, but non-royal, rich men also emulate this practice. Like I said earlier, having many spouses is technically a symbol of being rich as such a man must have attained a level of financial stability.
These men may or may not be billionaires but are usually what you could call “capable.” This may not be the case every time as some men only find themselves in polygamy due to being serial adulterers.
What's interesting is that the wives of such alpha males are also placed on the same pedestal society places their husbands, so both husbands and wives sometimes enjoy the praise that comes from polygamy.
12. Lower drive to cheat
While this point may not be true at all times, there are chances a guy free to have many spouses will have no reason to sneak around outside relationships. Apart from serial cheats and highly undisciplined men, a guy that has multiple wives or spouses technically has more excitement going on under one roof.
If he wants more, he'll just marry more wives without technically hurting anyone's feelings since the wives know the type of relationship they signed up for. The bottom line is, men sneak around because they are not permitted to have multiple wives. In polygamy, they don't have to.
13. Polygamy can encourage hard work and healthy competition
The wives in a polygamy setting are almost always in competition, which can be a good thing as long as it's healthy. Apart from competing for their husband’s attention, no wife will want to be seen as useless, ugly, fat, lazy, or nonchalant.
So, polygamy can sometimes cause the wives to be the best version of themselves. Even if a woman is working hard and being the best she can be for her husband, she may end up helping herself in a way.
14. It can be a win-win
If a woman doesn't want children at all and doesn't want to force her decision on her spouse, the pros and cons of polygamy can present a win-win situation to the marriage. Instead of divorcing each other, the guy can have another spouse who wants children.
Bear in mind that not all polygamy arrangement translates to the spouses living under one roof with the guy. In some cases, the guy acquires or rents multiple houses for his spouses, where he can visit and spend time with them separately.
While polygamy has many pros and cons, the cons can come in handy for a woman who suddenly takes up the decision to be celibate. Celibacy doesn't necessarily have to mean being alone, miserable, and without any male companion.
With effective communication, agreement, and zero jealousy, a man and woman can remain married while the celibate partner allows her husband to take another wife he can be sexually active with. As mentioned earlier, the new spouse can be at another location or under one roof as it is practiced in many African countries.
16. Polygamy can trample on the rights of women
Polygamy undoubtedly has many pros, but the cons aren't pretty. One of the first cons we'll be looking at in this article is that the practice of a guy having more than one partner contravenes the right of women to be equal with their male counterparts in families.
Research from the United Nations shows that women in such marriages/families are prone to serious emotional abuse. Furthermore, it could mean negative financial consequences for her and her children, especially in cases of separation. The United Nations recommends that the union be completely prohibited or discouraged.
17. The law may not be friendly to women in polygamous marriages
In places where polygamy is technically legal or allowed, there are usually no laws that accommodate the splitting of properties when divorce scenarios come up.
Since the guy has other spouses, the idea of splitting half of what he owns with one of the spouses that wish to leave cannot even be on the table. This condition will translate to a serious financial disadvantage for the woman and her kids. In fact, the spouse who chooses to leave may end up with almost nothing.
18. Polygamy is a breeding ground for jealousy
There's no subtle way to put it in this pros and cons article; most women in polygamous relationships or families are only doing a great job hiding how they truly feel. We humans might be a variety-loving species, but that doesn't change the fact that we are territorial.
No lady loves the idea of another female coming to invade her space or share her lover. Polygamy promotes jealousy within families. Besides, you don't need me to tell you how jealous can escalate into a much sinister feeling that could lead to hurting someone or even murder.
19. Health implications
Research shows that humans are polygamous in nature, and that includes men and women. Religious doctrines, modern laws over the years contributed to the shift from polygamy to monogamy. But make no mistake, humans are still driven with the desire to enjoy multiple partners even outside their marriage.
Therefore, a case of one or more spouses engaging in sex outside a polygamy arrangement can infect everyone in the marriage with STDs. Not that this scenario can't happen in monogamy. The chances are relatively higher in polygamy since more people that can engage in indiscriminate sex are present.
20. You'll miss “your” guy
If you consider going into a polygamy arrangement, you might want to get ready for many lonely nights. I mean, he's literally not yours only, so there'll be times where you'll need him, but you can't have him because he's with his other wife. It gets worse if you all live under one roof. I mean, what could be more heartbreaking than wanting to be intimate with “your partner,” but you can't.
Not because he's sick or tired but because he's with someone else. The sad part is, it's not going to be a one-time scenario, especially when the other wife or wives are better than you sexually. Your husband may naturally want to be with the wife that excites him more even if there's a structured sex arrangement, like a timetable. Guess what, you can't complain since you signed up for it.
21. Polygamy can make the husband take the spouse for granted
Polygamy undoubtedly favors men over women in many areas. As a woman, you need to know that it's a win-win situation for a man that has many wives at his disposal. Because there will be competition among the wives to please him, he probably won't care that much if any of his wives threaten to leave or throw tantrums for attention.
22. The man has little or no reason to make compromises
It still doesn't get better at all for ladies in polygamy. Well, that's the essence of a pros and cons article, to expose the good and ugly side. If you are the type that wants a man that'll go out of his way to please you, then think again. Being many may cause the man to have little or no reason to compromise.
The fact that you are not the only wife may naturally make him less sensitive since his other wives aren't throwing so many tantrums. Guess what? If you want to leave, he has a “backup.”
23. Polygamy & gender inequality are “partners in crime”
In many regions where polygamy is practiced, men with multiple wives often deny their wives equal rights. In many cases, the women are not in the position to work, school, or improve themselves as their improvement may make them feel they no longer need someone.
Furthermore, their role is often limited to the kitchen, handling house chores, and birthing children. This is not only a problem for the wives, but the idea may also be naturally passed to the children raised in such families.
24. Some spouses may be treated quite poorly
In Arab counties, polygamy is allowed on the condition that the man can treat and love his wives equally. Let's face it; chances are, a guy will have a favorite among his spouses, perhaps because she cooks well, pleases him more, hardly says no to sex, etc.
If this scenario exists, the least favorite wife may receive poor treatment or less attention. Altogether, these can promote jealousy among wives and even children, thereby creating enemies and unnecessary commotion in families.
25. Household tension may be relatively higher
Domestic tension and fights are common in all marriages. However, one of the cons of polygamy is that there'll be more tension. Fight between a man and his wife is almost inevitable in monogamy. Now, a setting with more than one wife, and perhaps, many children will naturally be prone to more arguments or discords.
The presence of a rival alone is enough reason for a fight. Now add cases of manipulation to get the guy's attention and other misunderstandings, then what you'll have is a recipe for regular “royal rumble.”
26. Children may have a hard time understanding
Yes, the idea of large families can be beneficial to kids in certain ways; however, it can also be confusing. If you are looking at the pros and cons of polygamy for yourself or a friend, remember kids are fragile, and polygamy isn't as common as monogamy anymore.
Your kids might have a hard time understanding why his or her family is different from other families. It's best to avoid confusing kids as you don't know what outcomes it could lead to in the future. For example, your kid’s friends could bully them, make fun of them, which may affect them negatively.
27. Financial downtime may be harder to manage
Another con of polygamy is the high maintenance cost. Keeping more than one wife and having more than one child will naturally increase such a home's budget. To make matters worse, if a man is running a polygamy arrangement where the wives are living separately in order to avoid frequent domestic flights, that adds more to the overall domestic expense.
What's more, when there are scenarios of financial challenges, the polygamy-established home may be relatively harder to manage since there's more financial obligation.
28. Legal issues with inheritance
The cons of polygamy go beyond when the marriage is still alive. In the event that the husband dies, the legal battle is always messy and long. There are some polygamy settings where the first wife married the husband legally. However, cultural or religious traditions made him bring in subsequent wives in a non-formal or non-legal way.
In such a scenario, the legally married wife usually wants to claim the lion's share for her and her children while the other wives will want an equal split. Altogether, it's an easy situation to avoid by not going into polygamy in the first place.
29. Mental issues are common in polygamy
People go into polygamous marriages for different reasons: pressure from parents to get married, forced/arranged marriages, desperation to leave spinsterhood, etc. At first, it may seem fine. But as I mentioned earlier, we are jealous and territorial creatures and will, at the end of the day, prefer being with someone we can call our own.
When this reality sets in, it can make someone feel miserable, unhappy, and depressed, which may affect one's mental health. What's more, women will naturally feel powerless in a relationship where nearly all the cards are stacked against them. This may further lead to mental health breakdown.
By nature, polygamy encourages gender inequality, which often leads to trampling upon the rights of the women in the marriage. Furthermore, because cheating is common to both men and women, the presence of one or more members engaging in sex outside the arrangement can lead to infecting everyone.
The pros and cons of polygamy are numerous. While the pros can make it initially attractive for men and women alike, the disadvantages and the nature of humans will likely make it unsustainable. Jealousy is almost unavoidable, which can lead to a more sinister desire that could lead to dangerous consequences.
Polygamy can save a mature lady endless waiting for a man that'll take her to the altar. It can even offer financial security, especially when the man is rich. However, the cons make monogamy better. While many monogamous relationships can end in divorce due to infidelity or, it offers a platform of equality, fairness and has legal protection for involved parties under the law of virtually all countries.
Many African nations, such as Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, etc., permit polygamy. While the practice may not be legal according to the African countries' official marriage laws, since bigamy is totally punishable, polygamy is also not frowned upon. It's a cultural/ traditional practice that is widely accepted. Also, India and most nations governed by Islamic laws are also polygamy-friendly.
Going through the pros and cons, the benefits are undeniable. They include saving a female who's desperate to marry the unnecessary waiting for “her man.” Furthermore, polygamy helps in the expansion of man's gene pool, the reduction of boredom, and offers the excitement that comes with being sexually active with multiple women yet, technically, not hurt their feelings.
Polygamy clearly has its pros and cons. While both men and women can enjoy some benefits in a polygamy marriage, the one-man-multiple wives type marriage favors men more. It promotes gender equality and may psychologically affect women in those marriages in the long run. It might be best not to go into it since you can go the monogamous way.
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As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.