A true believer in monogamy argues against it.
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Infidelity and monogamy — now this is something that we can go on and on about forever. I’m going to try to keep it brief (ha!). I know there are a million theories and opinions on the whole thing, and I know that I have far too much to say about it, often arguing against myself. Personally, I believe in monogamy, or I at least desperately want to. And as much as I will only stay in an exclusive relationship (that whole ‘open relationship’ thing is not my style), the case against monogamy is a good one.
Monogamy is, sadly, increasingly an old-fashioned notion. Although I am all for it, I find myself thinking that maybe it’s not what we humans were meant for. Think about it, are we really meant to be faithful to one person for fifty years? Most mammals are not monogamous, why should humans be? Who said humans were monogamous animals? Perhaps it might actually even be beneficial if we weren’t. For the betterment of our species, shouldn’t men go around planting their seed in as many women as possible? Wait, scratch that. That’s not ‘betterment’; there are plenty of men who probably should keep their seed to themselves. But the more ‘preferable’ men, the intelligent, healthy, strong men, shouldn’t we want as many offspring produced by these men as possible? If that’s the case, from an evolutionary standpoint, we can’t keep these men tied down! But then what about the women? In our case, we want to lock down one of these men to care for our offspring, don’t we? What a conundrum.
Perhaps anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D. has it right when she says that humans are actually built for serial monogamy. We are only meant to stay in monogamous relationships for as long as it takes for the children to be weaned from the mother, which she says is about four years (as it happens, the length of your average marriage of late). And then it’s off to the next man or woman. From an evolutionary standpoint, this works out for both sexes. Except realistically it would be the single working mother who is stuck raising and paying for the child … doesn’t sound so fair to me. And I highly doubt the father wants to pay child support to all the women he would supposedly produce children with!
Or maybe it’s all about a certain type of monogamy. It is ridiculous to think that two people can stay faithful to each other for half a century (more or less). Men and women equally stray from their partners. For some this is a deal breaker, for others it’s an expensive therapy session that they somehow pull through. Maybe the solution is indeed open relationships where partners are allowed to sexually stray but do not carry out relationships with other people. Human beings seek new experiences, and this means several sexual partners too; but it doesn’t mean they don’t also want a committed, loving relationship. Can we have both? The open relationship requires a lot of understanding from both parties and a whole set of guidelines so that there are no nasty surprises. Personally, this is something I don’t think I could ever do, but theoretically it makes sense and could save a lot of heartbreak. If only more people could wrap their minds around it, including me.
11/05/2012 - 12:13