For example, in some ancient culture, people don't get married, in China 4000 years ago, people don't get married, they have open sexual relationship with multiple partners. And if the women get pregnant she raise the child herself, but the government tax men extra and use that money as benefit to help mothers raise children.
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Legally, by 3000 years ago, marriage become the norm. But polygamy is legal. It was legal to allow either men or women to have multiple partner, but culturally, it is as you said