A reasonable theory below. Is it however needlessly complex? Would it not be sufficient to say that infidelity arises because the characteristics we like are usually found in more than one person? if some set of characteristics is so attractive to us that we marry the person having them, would not a similar set of characteristics in another person also be strongly attractive to us? -- JR
We all seem to want monogamy but infidelity is rampant — here is why we can’t escape our unwanted friend, along with an idea for how we can
It’s a fair bet every one of us wants a partner who is faithful to us, even those who want open relationships still want a faithful partner — cheating still happens in open relationships. However, it’s believed that upwards of 80 to 90 percent of people will commit at least one act of infidelity over their lifetime.
Considering how much infidelity there is, the question we are left with is why the hell don’t we all just give up on one-on-one relationships and instead be like bonobos, where everyone sleeps with anyone they want?
The answer is, children. Children sit at the heart of everything, and children are believed to be the main reason why one-on-one relationships have become the norm in human society. Many even postulate that pair bonding between men and women is the greatest human innovation of all time simply because monogamy works better when it comes to raising children.
Children are likely the reason we evolved monogamy
Nobody knows for certain why the males and females of our ancestors several million years or so back started pair bonding, there are many theories out there, and nobody has a clue which if any is closer to the truth. But the theory that most resonated with me actually came from a friend of mine who is obsessed with anthropology.
He theorises that the females of the time realised that having a loyal male that they could rely upon increased the chances of a child surviving into adulthood. He postulates that they came to this realisation perhaps because males lower down the pecking order started showing them loyalty in an effort to increase their chances of mating, and this gradually from the bottom up led to males and females eventually evolving to form full-blown pair bonding as we know it.
Whether this is how it happened we will likely never know, in the end, how it happened is irrelevant, what matters is that the benefits of pair bonding when it comes to creating a safe and stable environment for raising children are inescapable. A man and a woman who are loyal to each other and work together will trump any other setup, especially if those men and women are part of a group of paired-up men and women.
For example, if you have a tribe of male-female pairs, not only do you have a cooperative team of men and women working together to create a safe environment for children, you also have a stable grouping because the men and women will not be competing with each other over who to mate with — because each man and woman will be paired up.
In a way it’s the ultimate win-win, not only is a man and woman working together a brilliant setup for raising a child, by men and women giving loyalty to each other, and all accepting men and women who are paired up as off-limits, it creates greater unity and stability which further enhances the child raising setup.
As such, pair bonding and monogamy bring immense benefits to human advancement and survival chances — there is a reason we are the only advanced race, and it is because one day men and women agreed to start giving each other loyalty and working together in the fight to keep children alive.
Considering this though, it would beg the question of, if pair bonding and monogamy are so beneficial to human advancement and survival, why the hell do so many find it impossible to remain faithful?
The sexual reproduction based downsides to monogamy
Human evolution and as such survival are reliant on three primary factors, one, stable and resource-rich environments for raising children in, two, the strongest passing on their genetics to the most people, and three, large amounts of genetic diversity. Each of these elements is just as important as the other.
Here is the thing though, to ensure the strongest pass on their genetics, people have to compete, and competing typically eventually leads to fighting. If both men and women end up fighting amongst their respective selves to prove their genetics the strongest, the men and women who would be left over would be so few in numbers that the human race would swiftly die out.
This is why females of any species seldom compete against each other by fighting violently to prove that they are the strongest, the fact they have the children makes them too important, but at the same time, it is why males frquently do. Somebody has to fight between themselves to prove they have the best genetics, because one male can impregnate many females, that makes males substantially more expendable than females.
The reality of this can be seen across the animal kingdom, in our past, and in the modern day, and I’m not talking just the dating scene. For example, I’ve heard it argued many times that war is a prime example of male competition over females ending up in violence, and I’m starting to buy into this theory. Whether it be Genghis Khan, the Vikings, even the Russians in World War II, even the Russians in Ukraine today, the idea of kill all the men and rape all the women stubbornly remains, and it very well could be that a root cause may be linked to the instinctual human desire to prove which males are the strongest.
Regardless of the reason, because of the endless competition, the majority of the animal kingdom is not very stable when it comes to keeping offspring alive. Humans on the other hand, despite the frequent outbreaks of war, have become more stable and monogamy through pair bonding is one of the main reasons why, if not the main reason.
This would beg the question of why, if monogamy is such a powerful tool for creating stability, we struggle to practice it to the point society is always ripe with infidelity. The answer of course is absolute monogamy hinders the main essence of sexual reproduction, which is the strongest pass on their genetics to the most.
There is no escaping it. The essence of sexual reproduction is those with the best genetics pass it on to the most, monogamy creates a spanner in the fight to ensure this happens. Infidelity provides the solution.
To explain, in perfect monogamy everybody would only ever have a child with one other person. That creates a lot of genetic diversity but not in a very good way — at least not for a species that desires and needs to continually rapidly evolve. To rapidly evolve, you need the best genetics passed on in the largest amount at all times, which requires competition and promiscuity.
But in a world where the best genetics are always being passed on in the highest number, there is a lot of instability. This is because in such a world males and females will be constantly competing amongst themselves to prove that they have the best genetics, and the male side is likely to more often than not end up in violence — which is what happens. This creates instability, which is the enemy of progress.
Step forth the solution, where if you add monogamy to infidelity, you get the best of both worlds. You get the stability that comes with monogamy, or at least the illusion of it, and you get a world where the strongest still pass on their genetics to the most people, they just do it through a mixture of relationship breakups and infidelity. It’s a total win except of course it sucks.
Is there a solution?
I do believe there is a solution to the infidelity problem, and it is a five-pronged solution:
We need to start teaching proper social skills at school, including how to communicate while in a relationship. If we did this, it would give people a better chance of finding and connecting with the right person sooner rather than later, which would lower the risk of infidelity.
Also, by teaching people how to communicate so that men and women can again actually start talking to each other again and understanding each other, it would stop many of the cycles that lead people to cheat.
We need to start countering all the rubbish that men and women are being sold about each other. Extreme feminist rubbish, extreme incel rubbish, all of it, everything that fills the heads of men and women with rubbish that they then unwittingly inflict upon their partners.
We need to become tolerant of blended families. I’m a firm believer that blended families are the future. For example, they would solve the need to find a life partner before having children, instead, you would just need to find someone you felt happy to have a child with.
No easy task, but easier than finding Mr or Mrs right. Also, if we are more tolerant of blended families, it would stop people being afraid of having children due to the fear of potentially ruining future relationship prospects. Finally, as instinctually we want genetic diversity, blended families create that. So, it’s a win on every level.
We need to start legitimising sex workers. This one is perhaps controversial (even though it shouldn’t be), but I firmly believe that normalising people allowing their partners to see sex workers, or even sending their partners to sex workers whether for massages or for full sexual experiences, would greatly help reduce infidelity.
Sex is after all primaeval, and as far as I see it, sex work is simply a form of massage, and people are happy for their partners to go to a spa for a massage, so why not a sex worker? I firmly believe if people came to this mindset, it would greatly lower infidelity because it would help solve many sex-based relationship problems, especially in regard to arguments over type of sex, and frequency of sex.
We need to accept that we are human, and as humans, we are driven by instinctual factors that many of us do not understand and likely will never understand. But the more we try to understand, the better chance we have of creating a world that embraces who we are, rather than suppresses it.
This matters because the reality is, and this is just in my opinion, the main reason many of us end up cheating is that we try to suppress who we are in an effort to be who we are not and will never truly be. So, if we let people be human, and allowed people to truly understand what it means to be human, it would likely greatly reduce infidelity.
Monogamy creates the illusion that every man and woman will only have a child with each other, that illusion creates stability i.e. it stops men and women from constantly competing amongst themselves over the right to mate with each other.
Infidelity, which can lead to paternity fraud, where men would impregnate other people’s wives and wives would be impregnated by other men, creates genetic diversity of the best kind by allowing the strongest men to still impregnate lots of women — and for the strongest women to still be impregnated by lots of different men. Relationship breakups allow for blended families.
As crazy as it seems, this gives us the best of all worlds. It ticks the box for the strongest passing on their genetics to the most, it ticks the box for genetic diversity by ensuring as many as possible get to pass on their genetics, and it ticks the box for creating stability and the best environment for raising children.
If we want to finally get rid of infidelity, or at least greatly reduce it, we have to create a new way to tick those boxes. Better communication, blended families, the acceptance of sex workers as legitimate workers, and the acceptance that we are human, in my view is the path to doing this. The other option is simply to accept that infidelity is here to stay. I know what option I would choose, but each to their own.
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