a form of monogamy existing in the primitive clan system.
Paired marriage differed from later true monogamy in that the family based on it was not a distinct economic unit. Thus, paired marriage was unstable and easily dissolved. According to the most widely held theory, paired marriage replaced group marriage and hence retained such vestiges of group marriage as the supplementing of wives and husbands with additional spouses and tolerance toward premarital and extramarital relationships. According to another theory, paired marriage, combined with elements of group relationships between the sexes, was the oldest form of marriage.