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Are Humans Meant to Be Monogamous

Updated on May 31, 2014

Many individuals in today's society wonder whether humans are truly meant to be in monogamous relationships or not. It seems like today, it's so hard to find a significant other that will truly be loyal to just one person for their entire lifetime. Everywhere you turn there are stories about one person cheating on the other, or someone getting caught cheating. All you have to do is turn on the evening television and watch the latest "Maury Show" and the newest "Who's your Daddy?" episode will be on, followed by the DNA tests.

Even couples that have been together for years are suddenly ripped apart by the knowledge of infidelity. What happens in relationships to make people stray? Why do people get married if they have no intention of being faithful? What makes a person choose to be monogamous?

Some people believe in open relationships, others believe in one true love, and yet others believe in having as many partners as you want. Which person is right? Are any of them right?

Are we meant to be monogamous?
Are we meant to be monogamous? | Source

Humans vs. Other Mammals

If you look at the human species as a mammal, then it would be very rare to find a mammal that is in a monogamous relationship. Most mammals are not in a monogamous relationship. In fact only 3% - 5% of roughly the 5,000 mammals in the world are known to create monogamous relationships. This percentage includes humans. So only a very select few mammals maintain monogamous relationships that are lifelong monogamous bonds with their mate. The majority of mammals are NOT in a monogamous relationship. The monogamous mammals which join humans in their unique monogamous relationships are the beavers, wolves, and some species of bats.

Monogamy vs. non-Monogamy
Monogamy vs. non-Monogamy | Source

Is Monogamy Better for Females?

Some evolutionary scientists have said men are more likely to cheat because of their urge to spread their seed. Men also have less invested in relationships, when thinking in terms of creating a new life, a man only needs to spend mere minutes when creating a new life, but a female is invested for 9 months of her life. The difference in the investment needed for creating a new life leans towards the needs of a female for creating monogamous relationshipsin the first place. This need seems to evolved into a committed partnership between man and woman for the children's sake and for the pregnant females sake. So monogamous relationships may have evolved due to the needs of the female during the nine months of pregnancy, and the needs of her offspring after giving birth. Females thousands of years ago, would have taken the time to find a good mate that would be able to provide for her and her offspring when she was pregnant and after the child's birth, because men at this time were usually the sole providers. So it seems that monogamy may have evolved for the benefit of the female and her offspring thousands of years ago.

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Males Now and Then

However, now societal norms make it more difficult for fathers to just walk away from their children and now fathers are beginning to invest more in the raising of their offspring. In the past when humans were scavengers and nomads everything was shared with everyone. Males and females did not have particular mates. The home was with the entire group and women would breastfeed their children and the children of their nomad/scavenger families. Nothing belonged to just one person, it was a group effort. However, as humans started settling into one place and setting down "roots" it became more important to know who owned what. Property became more important, homes, property lines etc... People wanted to know what was theirs and what was not. So soon monogamous relationships could have grown from this need. Males wanted to know which female was theirs and which family was theirs. So this could be why we evolved into a monogamous species.


Some say that we have the choice to be monogamous or not, and that we are NOT biologically supposed to be monogamous, except for just a few years. It seems when it comes down to just science and nothing else, our species is best described as a monogamous species to a point. Our species may have been meant to stay together for a few years and raise the children to a more independent age where they could begin to contribute to the family and then the male was to move on from the family unit and begin another. However, through time our species has made the decision to stay in monogamous relationships. So it may be that we are biologically driven to be unfaithful but WE HAVE THE CHOICE NOT TO BE UNFAITHFUL because we have the ability to love, but our most basic instinct is to pass on our genes. So what wins biology or mind/love?

30 % of both men and women in committed long term relationships have admitted to cheating on their significant others. So does this mean those who have cheated have let their biological urges steer their lives instead of their mind? So could one say that individuals who are unable to control mind over matter are more likely to cheat? Are weaker minded individuals more likely to cheat and the more strong willed and highly driven minded individuals are more likely to stay faithful??

No matter how you look at... People have minds and a conscious. If you are unable to be in a monogamous relationship you owe it to your partner to be honest and to let your partner know that you are unable to be monogamous. Cheating is not okay even if we are meant to be with more than one person because of our biology. Humans also have emotions and it's not okay to lie, and to deceive your mate.


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    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 3 years ago from Southern Clime

      I agree with your conclusion. Modern man is stepping down to the level with animals. Out-of-control STD's, illegitimacy, divorces, unclean relationships, and the problems they cause are enough to make us realize who and what we ought to be.