Are We Really Meant To Be Monogamous?

are we meant to be monogamous

Are we really meant to be Monogamous?


Monogamy is a huge part of modern civilisation; it is the benchmark to which adults are supposed to measure up to. Relationships are ordered by it and children are brought into the world based on what it promises. But are we really meant to be monogamous?


The idea of a free loving society, unburdened by the constraints of tradition or “acceptable behaviour” is not a new one. The 1960s were well known as a time of experimental open relationships and as an era where “free love” and it’s so called joys were expounded as the new way of thinking which could release a tired old post war society into the future. People dreamed of communities in which men and women could take lovers at will and without jealousy…children could be born and the responsibility of bringing them up could be shared by the community at large.


The realities for many of the 1960’s free-loving Flower Children were slightly less pretty though. Experimental communities were set up where the residents indulged in non-monogamous relationships and what happened was pretty uniformly a disaster. Women were literally left holding the baby…with no assistance and both men and women experienced the pangs of jealousy and unhappiness which are bound to result from seeing their loved-ones with other people in an intimate fashion.


Why then, do some people feel the urge to live a free and easy, open life in which committed relationships do not feature? Why do some people feel the urge to settle down and remain faithful to one person only?


The answers to these questions lie in expectation and also in forethought. For some people, the idea of growing old with another person…the same person…is their ideal situation. They want the security which comes from the constant support of a partner and they want a family with all of the shared responsibilities that brings. Other people are not so interested in these things. They cannot or do not envision themselves as elderly and needing some support and friendship at that time and they may not ever want children. So monogamy isn’t high up on their list of priorities.


However, the vast majority of people feel an instinctive and primal urge to settle down and remain faithful to one person and one person only. This is partly nature and partly nurture. They may want these things because society has educated them to believe that having them constitutes the only sensible way to live…and they may want them also, because an ancient urge is driving them to settle with a partner in order to up their survival chances.


When long ago we were still dwelling in caves and life was a lot more dangerous than it currently is, it made a lot of sense to team up with a member of the opposite sex. This was partly due to mating tactics and partly down to survival instincts. If you have a mate, then you also have a protector…someone who can care for you when you are sick and watch your back when you are hunting, someone to feed your children and someone to bring home the bacon.


Mating and remaining with one partner makes sense even today; we may not hunt in the same fashion but we certainly have to work and pay the bills as well as to care for our children. A committed partnership makes sense for practical as well as emotional reasons; this is why humans are meant to be monogamous and this is why the urge to stay in pairs, still affects our daily choices.


Monogamy isn’t only down to fashion or to society’s expectation…it’s down to common sense!

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