When people are asked about their opinion on cheating or having an affair an overwhelming majority will answer ‘this is morally wrong’ or ‘that is unacceptable’. Yet left and right we hear stories of couples breaking up due to the fact that one of the two partners decided to look for some action from elsewhere.
It seems as if everyone is looking for their soul mate, true love or their twin flame. Yet sometimes when a relationship is established it is not sufficient and people start to look around. Especially with all the social media and dating apps, people have even more temptations right in front of them since it’s so easily accessible and discrete. This can start out extremely innocent with sending a flirtatious remark but when you’re not careful this can eventually end up in a steaming affair with all the further consequences.
If sleeping with another person besides your partner is so wrong and unaccepted, how come it happens so often? Not only in one culture but in almost in every single one of them, all around the world.
About 20% of both men and women admitted having cheated on their partner. Are we supposed to be with only one person and one person only for the rest of our life? Or does our nature tells us otherwise? In other words, are humans monogamous creatures or not?
From the 5000 different kinds of mammals walking on this Earth, 3-5% of the species is considered to be completely monogamous. Beavers, wolves and gibbons are a few examples. These monogamous species tend to differ from humans in their mating behavior since they will only know one partner throughout their lives.
Us humans have an average of 6-7 partners before we settle down. Have you ever heard of the term ‘social monogamous’? This means that when a person sleeps around, if they come back to their partner at the end of the day they will be considered a social monogamist. In many cases, this term would suit humans better than being completely monogamous.
Clearly, the urge is there to have a taste from ‘different flavors’. Yet when it comes to expectations for our partners, we want them to be truthful to us with no exceptions.
Evolution wise, cheating behavior of men can be explained quite simply. The more partners a male has, the more he will spread his seed and thus will increase his chance of spreading his genes. Just like the rest of the male species in nature. For women, this evolutionary theory becomes more complicated.
Especially when we look a bit back in time when women did not work as much as men. They were putting a lot more on the line since they were putting the relationship with their provider at risk. Since there is a lot more equality today, especially in the western civilization, you could say that women broader their chances of finding a high-quality partner for themselves with equally good genes.
When it comes to offspring, a woman has the certainty of being the child’s parent, a man does not have this privilege. Especially when a woman is promiscuous, this chance becomes smaller. Children are most likely the reason why people started with committed partnerships. Theories state this would be an improvement for a child’s wellbeing.
“The human species has evolved to make commitments between males and females in regards to raising their offspring, so this is a bond,” “However that bond can fit into all kinds of marriage patterns – polygyny, single parenthood, monogamy.” Said Jane Lancaster, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of New Mexico.
This bond became a standard in our society. Whether this is a relationship or a marriage, the expectations are that you will uphold this bond and will stay faithful. But when the costs grow bigger than the benefits, the chance for infidelity rises. The main reasons for people to cheat are because they are not satisfied and feel emotionally deprived in their relationship. Chances are that this will cause the bond to break.
Every relationship knows its difficulties but when there is a loving base and a good cooperation between the two partners there is a very big chance infidelity will never play a role. Yet when we look at our nature as humans, it looks like we are not naturally monogamous. Society has played a big role in changing our point of view about the matter. To the point that we don’t know and accept anything other than monogamy as being normal and approved.
Written by Elimor Bader