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Are we humans meant to be monogamous?

2 May, 2019
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Are we humans meant to be monogamous?

You wake up in the morning, sit down with your cup of hot coffee and open the newspaper. Some of the most commonly written-about topics could be rapes, politics or pollution. But out of 10 news stories that you read, at least one will be about a cheating partner or a case of infidelity. No, we are not even talking about those jilted lovers who want to avenge their rejection or so. We are plainly pointing at those individuals who cannot ‘resist’ their urge to cheat on their spouse/partner.

Some superstar or celebrity lives are out in the open as live examples. We might even come across such people in our workplace or amongst friends. The question here is not whether it is ethically right to be polygamous but whether humans are meant to be monogamous or not!

What is monogamy?

Monogamy has two accepted interpretations. One is that of Social Monogamy in which one of the partners pairs up with the same mating partner in spite of having occasional flings. So, a dutiful husband who goes around flirting with multiple women at work but comes home every night to the same spouse is said to be monogamous.

However, counseling experts do not agree with this view. For them, monogamous is that next-door  giving us couple goals by just being there for each other no matter what. So, a socially monogamous partner could be Ranbir Kapoor aka Kabir from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani while the scientifically accepted one is Shah Rukh Khan aka Raj Aryan Malhotra from Mohabbatein.

Let numbers do the talking

In the year 2015, Ashley Madison, a website that specifically catered to married folks wanting to cheat on their partners, suffered a data leak. Almost 37 million people saw their personal data surface on the internet. One of the most shocking revelations was the large number of married men who were on the site for relationships in spite of their stable marriages.

That bring up an ethical question: Are we humans really meant to be monogamous?

Statistically, only about 5 percent of the total 5,000 species of mammals (including human beings) are known to form lifelong monogamous bonds. The most loyal species include geese, wolves, some kinds of bats or beavers. Geese, for example, won’t mate with anyone except their own partner, even if that partner is dead.

Humans, unfortunately, don’t have the best track record for being loyal monogamous beings. This is not to conclude, though, that they can’t be monogamous.

Theory of evolution

A lot of evolutionary scientists argue that humans were initially polygamous. This is where it gets complicated: Humans are good at adopting new skills even those they aren’t born with such as learning to play the violin. Likewise, humans have adapted their behaviour to becoming monogamous.

Therefore, detouring to different partners or cheating on their loyal partner can no longer be an evolutionary excuse.

Upshot

A committed relationship sustains a peaceful family structure in our society. It provides a safe and harmonious environment for the progeny to grow up in. So, we can conclude that monogamy may not be natural to us humans but it definitely has its plus points.

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