The Monogamy Myth

Divorce is such an emotionally devastating, financially ruinous event that it might be wise to take a close look at its root cause -- marriage. Is it possible that monogamy is abnormal?
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Divorce is such an emotionally devastating, financially ruinous event that it might be wise to take a close look at its root cause -- marriage. Is it possible that monogamy is abnormal?

Let me begin at the beginning. Mother Nature arranged things so that men and women are sexually attracted to each other. However, no matter how passionate an early relationship may be, after a few years it cools and lovers become friends. Sometime they are good friends and sometimes they are not good friends. A fellow recently told me that he had a wife, two kids and a dog along with an enormous mortgage but all he ever really wanted was a simple roll in the hay. It would, no doubt, surprise him to learn that many of the men around him, making their morning commute and sitting in the same long line of traffic, harbor the same feelings. Perhaps this is why it's been said that, in Western culture, men lead lives of quiet desperation.

Just looking at the numbers, you'll see strong evidence for this with more than half of all marriages ending in divorce. Then too, way more than half the marriages that don't end in court include an affair or two and almost all spouses admit to periods of fanciful infidelity during which a different mate is fanaticized but for one reason or another, never materialized.

So why, you well may ask, did Mother Nature create such a dilemma... why not treat sex casually and eliminate the mental, physical and financial strains of falling in love only to fall out again a few years later? This is because human babies need more in the way of nurture than any other animal. Our brains have gotten so big that unless we're born half done, we couldn't be born at all. The infant's head simply couldn't pass through a birth canal that has slowly diminished in size to better accommodate walking erect and using our hands. So in order to keep our species going, we secrete love potions (hormones such as oxytocin and phenylethylamine) that keep couples together and in love long enough to give the baby a reasonable chance for survival.

What happens next is where the trouble starts. A flood of different chemicals cause mother and baby to bond while dad is pretty much left to his own devices. This continues until the couples' bond -- once so strong -- fades. The man and woman should then be free to seek new partners for the next baby; thus insuring a better mix of the gene pool. Add to this the fact that Mother Nature hates incest. Pairings of close relations allow recessive genes to become dominate and that, in turn, allows for all sorts of abnormalities. This is why kissing your sister is no fun. So not only has the once passion-filled love dissolved, the man and woman now -- because of their long association -- see each other as brother and sister. Sexual relations become, if not something to avoid, something that at the very least is no longer keenly pursued.

So there you have it. For tens of thousands of years, human beings fell in love, made a baby, fell out of love and then did it again with a new partner. Just because somebody decided to change the rules a few hundred years ago -- a mere blink of the eye in terms of evolution -- makes no difference. Unless we can practice the serial monogamy of super stars and celebrities, we are genetically engineered to face lifelong monogamy as a form of incest. I know this will come as a surprise to most of you and a challenge to many of you. The idea that One-Man-One-Woman-Fifty-Years isn't normal flies in the face of all you've been taught and all the Dr. Phils and the Dr. Lauras espouse. And yet, can you come up with a better scenario to fit the facts?

There are many people you love with whom you wouldn't want to have sex and vice versa...people with whom you'd enjoy a one night stand but may not even like all that much. In effect, conventional marriage may justifiably be equated with either eventual infidelity or an inevitable denial of the sex drive. The romantic notion that the two -- love and sex -- must always go together and that the 'till death do us part model should be taken as the gold standard of relationships is just that -- a romantic notion

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