Published on November 18, 2013 | by Holly Gilbert


Honesty and the modern romantic

Couple at Sunset

Dating in the modern world can be difficult, especially in a fast moving city [Garry Knight]

The modern dating world can be a minefield in a fast moving city where we conduct and present ourselves in a continuous stream of online activity.

In the urban hub that is London, how are we actually expected to stop and meet someone?

Many people feel that Internet dating is a contrived way of meeting potential partners, and finding a candid connection is no mean feat.

The first question you must ask yourself as a potential dater is, are you looking for a hook-up or love?

If it is sex you are after, it is everywhere. With apps such as Tinder and Grindr you can find someone for a quick hook up within 130 yards of where you are.

If it is love you are seeking, it proves to be a little harder.


Gone are the days of the lonely-hearts pages at the back of papers; we now have to navigate our way through countless online sites to project the very best versions of ourselves for everyone to see.

God forbid we actually look up from our smart phones for more than a minute, bite the bullet and actually talk to someone we find attractive.

It is now socially accepted that sexuality has fluidity while we try and figure out what it is we want.

Within the turmoil of finding someone to spend time with, what are the personal and moral ramifications of having more than one partner? How honest should you be? What is the difference between sleeping around and polygamy? Is monogamy beneficial in a fast-paced dynamic world?

We have begun to see the argument of monogamy versus polygamy presented more often. The existence between these two states of being is certainly a grey area and the defined parameters of each can be skewed.

Open and honest

There is a difference in choosing to be open and honest with multiple partners and being in a seemingly monogamous relationship whilst seeing other people.

But a shocking 57 per cent of men and 54 per cent of women admit to having cheated while in a relationship. But when it comes to relationships, what is the fascination with wanting what we can’t have?

Some people describe polygamy as having cake and eating it. What is not to like about the basic principle of having multiple sexual partners in an open and free space to love and enjoy without judgment or jealousy?

Others may believe this lifestyle choice is unrealistic and absurd in the realm of human emotion.

It has previously been argued that polygamy has the potential to be a social problem that would see your average ‘Joe’ find it hard to find a partner, therefore shifting the ratio of available  potential partners to a much lower number, if (for example) splendid Eric had managed to bed and wed eight women.


The concept of polygamy is loaded with assumptions, in that it is for the over-sexed and a dominant patriarchal dynamic. While those who live in successful polygamous situations argue that it actually promotes honesty, communication and care for all partners.

We are taught from a young age that monogamy is the correct way of leading our romantic lives. Two people love each other. Two people become parents. Two halves of one whole. But do the staggering amount of infidelities in monogamous relationships make us dishonest polygamists?

The benefits of a monogamous relationship are both physical and psychological: reducing jealousy, avoiding stigma, attachment, love and trust. What if these benefits seem pale in comparison to the excitement and devil-may-care attitude to sexuality with a number of people?

Social Scientist Catherine Hakim warns that deceptively engaging in polygamous behaviours without honesty and openness with a partner can be catastrophic.

She says it is important to remember that “tourism is not the same as immigration”; indulging in the desires of a roving eye may not be as exciting as you may like to believe. Hakim believes the thrill of the chase and excitement of secrecy in a concealed rendezvous is what drives people to strive to enjoy more than one person’s company.

Drawing board

However, for a humble student looking for love it is back to the drawing board to assess whether a short trip to sexual tourist paradise is indeed as enticing as it may appear.

The tedious nature of online dating and submitting your erotic currency (as described by Hakim in her book Honey Money) to the online dating ‘stock market’ appears contrived and forced, although 13 per cent of under 25s say they have an online dating profile.

Whether you are looking for the love of one person or a little polyamory (multiple loves) the good old-fashioned form of talking seems a little out of date but still frighteningly successful.

It is good to be bold and talk to that stranger on the tube who you think is gorgeous, the worst that can be said to you is ‘no’. If nothing else, you can say that you have tried.

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