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The Misconceptions Of Monogamy

Updated on December 10, 2014

Why Monogamy Is Abnormally Normal

Before I enter into this debate, there are some clarifications and caveats I have to make before I proceed. To define the issue of monogamy as an either/or scenario is relatively impossible. To say that monogamy is a contrived concept and that philandering is a man's “natural” state is to oversimplify the issue and opens up a never ending debate about nature vs. nurture. For the sake of this argument, I have to differentiate between the image of man as a pious entity and the overall concept that we are nothing more than Neanderthals with better hygiene (usually). By way of example, a caveman's primary goal in everyday life was eating, sleeping, defecating and fornicating, hopefully with no two being attempted at the same time. During those primordial wonder years, the competition would have been fierce, not only for territory, food and materials, but also with an innate need to procreate to progress ones lineage. This was our natural state.

No...no it will not
No...no it will not

Evolutionary Cheating

In our modern society, however, there is very little about us that can be defined as “natural.” We control our environment and have skewed our own physiological development by altering the processes of natural selection. We have, for the most part, radically changed the very definition of evolution, creating laws that prohibit our “natural” responses. We can no longer club Grog unconscious, take his Brontosaurus Burger and then forcefully fornicate with his mate à la Quest for Fire. We are, as a society, the most unnatural little creatures on this planet, so the argument of whether or not infidelity is “naturally” hard wired into the male's brain is a rather moot one.

That being said, I will now take this into a more personal realm so that my argument will (hopefully) make sense. There may be several old girl friends (as well as one ex-wife), that may read this and feel as if they have awakened into some kind of post apocalyptic Twilight Zone where George W. Bush now heads up the Literacy Council and Wal-Mart works for the good of the common man. Even though it is hard to imagine, as people look at me slumping through middle age, I was once such a prolific sexual being that the IRS was actually scared that I might screw them. I used to stalk the wide open Serengeti of the single scene, looking for those who were weak, separating them from the herd before going in for the kill. Many nights were spent with my quarry's pelt lying on the floor next to my bed and, upon waking, I would unceremoniously rush them out...before my steady girlfriend was scheduled to arrive. I was imperceptibly fastidious with all of these encounters, making sure that no errant blonde hairs were stuck to my clothes, that no discernible marks were left on my person and I always carried a small bar of my usual soap with me so that I wouldn't smell “different” when I went back to my “mate.”

Neanderthals Among Us

This is in no way to be perceived as bragging. This is the reason I am on this side of the debate. While those people found exclusively on the AM talk radio shows will probably drone on about how monogamy is a devious neo-liberal, Marxist plot perpetrated by the Obama administration to force us into becoming socialist drones, there advice should be taken with a grain of salt, or possibly a salt lick, because I find it hard to believe that most of those folks have ever gotten laid even once, let alone having the ability to entertain multiple partners. I, however, am speaking from experience. While, at the time, I made excuses for my own behavior, I can now see the repercussions that this behavior has wrought. I can see the women who can no longer trust. I can see the women who can no longer have a healthy relationship due to the rampant mistrust that I have planted within their hearts. I can see the families I have destroyed. I can see the course of people's lives that I have altered with one single indiscretion, one night of lust. I can see the pain I have caused in others that they carry with them to this day, and for that, I am sorry.

Regardless of whether or not we, as humans, have the predisposition to be unfaithful, it is the fact that we have intentionally separated ourselves from our primeval past that makes the argument against monogamy moot. We have created a society that protects those who would have, at one time, fallen by the wayside, forgotten. We now cater to the perceptions of ownership and control, placing ourselves in the role as nature's caretaker. We are living in a culture of concessions whereby we have left the animal within us somewhere in the dim past. To advocate infidelity by reason of an evolutionary quirk allows us also to bring back other “natural parts” of our animalistic makeup, like taking whatever we are strong enough to take, indiscriminately killing those that oppose us or allowing the weak to founder and die because they were deemed not the fittest? Either we act in a manner in accordance with the “civilized beings” that we purport to be, or we should just scrap the whole thing and go back to the caves. We cannot, as a society, rally around the sanctity of marriage, while at the same time giving a pass to bad behavior with a wink and a nudge, and if we do, what other conduct will our culture allow?

Have You Ever Cheated On Your Partner?

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    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 

      3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Excellent article, JT! You state that both monogamy and infidelity are a choice, with benefits and consequences attached. Voted up!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Quite an interesting topic for a debate JT. As an animal species I think we humans are probably naturally predisposed to being polygamous but our civilized behaviour that is supposed to separate us from the other animals encourages most of us to be monogamous. Some of us succeed at that and some don't. I enjoyed the read.

    • C.V.Rajan profile image

      Disillusioned 

      3 years ago from Kerala, India

      Made a very interesting reading. Not everyone will be so forthright in opening their past in public and also feeling a sense of guilt for the past behavior. You have a powerful style of writing.

      Whether you have considered it or not, there is an angle of religion and spirituality involved in the issue of monogamy/ polygamy. Practicing monogamy elevates a man spiritually.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      3 years ago

      Voted up and interesting! (Very topical issue)

      I believe monogamy is a "lifestyle choice" and not a DNA code.

      For many years throughout history it was acceptable for men to have multiple wives. For those who believe in the bible it was reported that King Solomon had (700) wives and (300) concubines!

      Note: Not once is there anything mentioned about a woman having 700 husbands and 300 "boy toys". There is one verse where God is talking to King David; 2 Samuel 12:8 "I gave your master's house to you, and your master's (wives) into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more."

      While the bible didn't condone cheating or fornication outside of marriage it clearly was acceptable for (men) to be polygamous at that time.

      Polygamy is not cheating.

      Every country or society is entitled to have their own rules concerning marriage and in a few instances around the world polygamy is still practiced especially among Muslims in parts of Africa and Asia.

      Cheating is essentially "breaking the rules" by using various forms of deceit and secrecy to betray one's trust.

      The goal of most cheaters is to hold onto all that is "good" in their primary relationship while addressing their other "needs" on the side. They're generally not looking to (replace) one relationship with another.

      Anyone in the U.S. who has watched TV shows like "Cheaters", "Paternity Court" and "The Maury Povich Show" AKA "You are NOT the father!" is keenly aware women cheat just like men. Even lesbians have reported being cheated on by their mates! Neither gender is standing on "holy ground" when it comes to cheating.

      It should be noted some cheating can be attributed to immaturity and having unrealistic expectations of oneself and others during teenage years and early 20s. Monogamy requires knowledge of self, maturity, and self-discipline to not seek out immediate gratification and consider consequences of one's actions.

      An example of being "unrealistic" is two high school lovers going away to separate colleges and believing they will maintain their long distance relationship for then next 4-6 years! At some point one or both of them will eventually start to socialize and participate in activities with students who are actually on campus with them. This often leads to going out on dates and eventually having sex.

      Another example is people who justify steps along the way. "It's not wrong for me to have (friends) of the opposite sex.", "There's nothing wrong with me going out to eat, having a drink, or going dancing with a (friend), "For all I know she/he has (friends) I don't know about either!" These are the people when caught cheating utter: "We (never planned) for this to happen."

      I believe there are 3 basic cheaters: 1. The Incessant Cheater (He/she gets bored easily and has never been faithful long-term. Their motto is: "Variety is the spice of life!") 2. The Unbelievable Opportunity Cheater. (He/she caves into temptation when someone they've had a crush on hits on them! It's a (once in lifetime chance) to make a fantasy come true! This type of cheater may later feel guilty and confess weeks, months, or years later to take the weight off their backs.) 3. The Discontented Cheater. (He/she {blames their mate} for them seeking love and affection from another. It varies from a lack of sex, affection, being taken for granted/unappreciated or being mistreated.) Most cheaters that get caught will attach themselves to this group. It's the only one where there is a slim chance the (betrayed person) might feel they "contributed" to their mate's decision to cheat and may illicit forgiveness on their part. One man's opinion! :)

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