Open Discussion: Are We Really Meant to be Monogamous?

Good Wednesday to all of you!

Well last week’s question turned out to be a real dud. Oh well, that happens sometimes. With all that’s been going on with Linda’s brother lately, we were asking each other over the weekend why all of these affairs are happening these days. Several questions still lingered:

Are we as human beings really wired to be monogamous in the first place? Are we basically born with the predisposition to have more than one mate? Is it too easy to love them and leave them based on how we’re brought up?

Please reply to each other in the comments. Each person leaving a comment is not an isolated incident. Also, don’t forget to utilize the forum!

Thanks again!

Doug & Linda

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15 Responses to Open Discussion: Are We Really Meant to be Monogamous?

  1. Duane June 2, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    My wife recently confessed her 18 month affair in January. She told me this topic frequently came up between her and the OM. It seems another justification to explain away selfish behavior.

    Are we “meant” to be monogamous? The question should really be are we “meant” to be or do anything? What we do in our lives is make choices, that’s all. We choose to survive, procreate, find comfort and love. We make these choices based on needs. Some needs may be intuitive, but they are needs just the same, not preordained absolutes.

    It has been opined that one of the main reasons affairs are on the rise is that we live in a society that demands instant gratification. Since that is an almost infantile need, there is little patience or even courage to work on a marriage, to nurture the love that once existed. Instead it’s a selfish desire to please oneself immediately, with as little work as possible.

    My wife gave me the “I love you but am not in love with you” speech in March (indicative of a mid-life crisis, btw). This is the most immature statement I’ve ever heard. It bespeaks a lack of work-ethic in a relationship, a lack of commitment. It says, “I want to a life with you, but I’m too lazy to actually do my part to make it satisfying.”

    We’ve been together 20 years. Until January I felt the same about her as I did the first time I met her. She has sags and bags, a burn scar across her chest, gray hairs, a flabby stomach, crows feet, and since the confession a hard, tormented, gaunt look about her. Yet I love her tremendously and am excited to be with her, to see her, to share her day. My wife may have questioned (or still questions, perhaps) the idea of monogamy. For me, however, there is no question. I could easily be with her for the rest of my life. It is a choice I make.

    • admin June 2, 2010 at 9:08 am #

      Duane, Thanks for joining in. Sorry you’re going through this. Great comment and I agree. Being a Devil’s advocate here, but some experts would say that physiologically man/woman is not meant to be monogamous. So if you prescribe to that theory, does it make the choice even harder to make?

      • Duane June 2, 2010 at 9:27 am #

        There is a tribe in Africa that is basically as close to hunter/gatherers as exists on earth. Their idea of marriage is that they choose to be with someone and then when they’re done they simply move on to someone else. Is that the “natural” way to be or is it merely a less evolved mode of relationship based on procreation, safety, and lust: a primal urge.

        I agree that marriage as an institution is a relatively new concept, and marriage based on love is even newer. Yet, for me, it is beyond satisfying to be in a loving relationship. But I’m a romantic, and find joy in working on keeping romance alive.

        • admin June 2, 2010 at 10:15 am #

          Good stuff Duane. Thanks.

      • Amy June 2, 2010 at 9:47 am #

        I feel that even if a choice is “harder”, it’s still a choice.

    • Amy June 2, 2010 at 9:41 am #

      I completely agree…you put it ALL my thoughts about this into words.

    • Amy June 2, 2010 at 10:02 am #

      Duane, I found your words SO utterly powerful & TRUE that I had to put it on my Facebook. I have the same thoughts but am unable to put them into words so descriptively.

  2. Amy June 2, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    Of course we are. I feel society has accepted devalueing marriage as being disposable when someone isn’t happy as opposed to what it really is…working on it to keep things going. It’s become too easy to get a divorce because someone feels things aren’t the way they imagined marriage to be therefor they just walk away or seek comfort elsewhere without making a true effort to keep their marriage alive. It ALL boils down to communication.

    • admin June 2, 2010 at 9:01 am #

      Hi Amy, thanks for commenting. I agree that communication is key. I also think that as adolescents we dispose of girlfriends and boyfriends so easily that the mentality carries on into later life to some extent.

    • InTheFog May 26, 2011 at 9:02 am #

      I agree it boils down to communication, completely. Verbal, emotional, and physical. I used to think I wanted romance now I suspect that its respect I think I need and that those feelings of wanting to get closer go hand in hand with that. Romance without meaning means nothing. But the intent to want to try together and show it or say it is massive.
      I wish my partner didn’t run away how ever I might try to broach this subject.

  3. michael June 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    Ok so my thoughts on this.

    I don’t believe that we are Wired to find multiple partners. Of coarse we are equipped with and have the predetermined desire to procreate. But our cultural society and need for gratification drives us to what we see as “normal”.
    As said earlier a society that has always moved on from partner to partner sees that behavior as normal. To really test a theory like this you would have to study a completely isolated group from infancy and that would be all but impossible.
    With information about affairs so readily available and widespread culturally speaking, it has become more “accepted” in our electronically connected society. It is one less barrier when considering committing an affair. “Well if so and so can do it and find a new happiness why shouldn’t I.” So it comes down to what’s keeping you from gratification.

    So then we get back to selfishness and gratification. What one person needs and desires is not the same as the people around him/her. So to find someone completely and honestly a match for you is the tough thing to do.
    You may only need sex once a month because you know that that’s how much your wife wants because you know she isn’t going to seek it elsewhere.
    You may be ok with sex twice a day because your husband is so much happier and takes great care of you when you do. Even if that’s too much for you.
    You maybe unhappy that you wife never cleans the house but everyday she makes you breakfast and has dinner ready when you get home.
    The key to knowing if you really a good match is telling the truth of what you want. Not changing what you are to match what the person you are interested in likes. And understanding that the other person may, or may not, do something the way you like it. But that person has so much to give in other ways. You might just get most of the things you need from that person.

    When rereading this it sounds like a lot of rambling but its just what popped in my head.
    I really does come down to the choices we make. We make a choice every day to stay with our spouse because of what it brings to our lives.

    • admin June 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

      Great thoughts Michael. I agree that it comes down to finding the person who is your perfect match.

    • Duane June 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

      As much as I hate to quote ER, there is a line that really hit home.

      “Twenty years ago I made a choice to love my husband. I make that choice again every day.”

  4. InTheFog May 26, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    It says, “I want to a life with you, but I’m too lazy to actually do my part to make it satisfying.”

    I think this quote defines how come I ended up in a situation where my EA started. I got sick of being the one trying with my partner. Where do you go when that person doesn’t want to talk any more. I suspect if he’d have matched my trying we wouldn’t be where we are now- living out a lifeless existence.

  5. IManonymous April 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    well I used to think that people were supposed to be monogamous but now I’m not so sure. I love my husband but I always feel I need something more. I’ve tried to get that “thing” from him (and I don’t just mean sexual or being “sweet”) but he’s also not perfect.. how can I expect him to be everything I need. I feel it’s a lot of pressure on him. I’ve tried a lot of talking in the past and that has helped in certain areas and caused tension in others. I’m quite diplomatic and I never put blame or say things in a criticizing way…I’ve tried to make changes and decrease expectations for myself as well. The thing is, is there is only so much that one person can be… myself included…. Maybe I’m selfish for wanting more.. but I always have this lingering/nagging feeling that I must experience and fill my life with everything I can because I will not get a re-do on my life… I never felt this way when I was a teenager or in my early to mid 20’s…. I was probably the most pro-monagamy person you’d ever meet, but things have happened in my life and I changed.. and we all change and evolve… and if we don’t.. I’d go as far as to say we aren’t really living… so as we change and our needs change.. what are we supposed to do? I used to think that if my boyfriend/fiance/husband ever cheated on me I’d feel so betrayed and worthless and have decreased self esteem, but now I think that it wouldn’t bother me much at all.. but I suppose my self esteem is much better now and I wouldn’t base it on something that someone else decided to do. I would think it is about them.. not about me. Their needs or desires or something to that effect. Maybe these thoughts will change in the future, I don’t know. Another thought I had is that maybe the structure of our society.. particularly our financial / legal obligations/ children make the act of being monogamous (sexually speaking) more pressured. Fear of jealousy which could lead to divorce which could lead to one partner taking all/most of the financial property.. custody issues with kids.. sometimes one parent not letting the other parent see their kids.. If all those pressures were gone.. if people didn’t leave their significant other over a sexual encounter with another person and none of those other things transpired.. would people be more likely to admit they they have had, or want to have sex with someone else other than their significant other? I say yes. And I think one could say there is a difference between monogamy related to a romance and family system and being polygamous sexually. .. my 2 cents. Please don’t rip me apart here. These are just thoughts/opinions

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