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Monogamy put to the test of double love lives: Sociological Analysis of clandestine non-monogamy in France. (Marie-Carmen Garcia)


This paper is based on sociological research whose purpose is the analysis of social processes (social settings, contexts, psychological economies, interpersonal relationships) through which individuals, although in long- term monogamous relationships, develop and maintain a long-term clandestine amorous and sexual relationship alongside their official union. This is the analysis of a specific form of non-monogamy because it transgresses the socially accepted role of monogamy as the legitimate norm, by the occultation of emotional and sexual exclusivity that are the standards that underpin the dominant model of contemporary Western couples. 
The analyses are mainly based on approximately fifty life stories about men and women married or cohabiting or who have or have had a long term relationship, clandestinely alongside their official couple. The research was conducted in France. Those interviewed are heterosexual, aged 34-90 years and belong to the middle and upper classes. 

The analysis will be presented in three ways: 

1) Adultery as an integral part of monogamous marriage (socio-historical approach) 
2) How did a love duality develop in individuals valuing monogamy: 
3) The clandestine non-monogamy put to the test : long term adulterous relationships as a privileged space in the construction of masculine virility versus female resistance.










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 The question I am asking is why nonmonogamous marriage is still illegal.  There are many arguments for why, but many fail to address greater looming questions, such as why other forms of "unorthodox" marriage have become legal, or why "cheating" isn't against the law even though marriage is a legal arrangement which the state legal system is supposedly sworn to defend and protect. Using a close reading of various older and more recent literary sources, I am going to be arguing an orientalist view that claims nonmonogamous marriage is still illegal because it creates a distinction from the western "civilized" world and the eastern orient.  Essentially I am claiming this distinction is a form of xenophobia, racism, and otherization. Whatever the historical economic, ecological, or pragmatic considerations may have once given rise to monogamy, it has now become an internalized part of Western identity that serves to differentiate and distance Westerner people from non-Western, and (supposedly) "lesser."