Monogamish

real-loveMy contact lens are two different prescriptions. The right eye’s contact corrects for distance while the left contact takes care of seeing nearer objects. These two inputs must be sorted out and coordinated by my brain.

A “monogamish” arrangement in a relationship refers to a less rigid form of monogamy. The argument presents two different inputs for your brain, and goes like this:

First, men and women evolved long ago, before civilization arose, to naturally be interested in partners outside of their primary relationship. Whether or not they act on that interest, the interest will still be there.

Next, on the civilized societal level, absolute monogamy is presented as the pinnacle of achievement for relationship.

When these two different templates intersect, the result is high levels of infidelity, mistrust, and very often divorce. We see it all the time. Monogamy in our society is assumed to trump love, the family, and the time spent building a life together.

Some people are suggesting that the focus on absolute fidelity in long-term relationships should be shifted more towards emphasizing cooperation, an acceptance of our nature, and relationship longevity. An understanding that human nature fits better by using a monogamish perspective.

One instigator is Chris Ryan, PhD who, with his coauthor, wrote “Sex at Dawn,” that explores monogamy and human sexuality through the lens of psychology, anthropology, and primatology. It’s an easy  read and interesting. Here he is in a 4 minute video discussing some of the insights they present in their book. Another voice is columnist Dan Savage. Here he is taking a run at the subject in a 3 minute video. Good stuff.

Chris Ryan often gets asked what should people do with the information. But people cover a broad spectrum of personal desires and needs, so monogamy might be fine for one person, or an occasional hallpass from monogamy for another, while a few brave people might be able to handle an open relationship. Everybody’s different. “Sex at Dawn” and the discussion provide a flashlight to help see what’s going on, but it doesn’t and probably can’t provide a map for relationship behavior. It’s like my contacts, your brain has to figure out what to do with the info coming in.

Apparently lots of people naturally are also curious about how Chris Ryan and his wife handle monogamy. His answer is that “Our relationship is informed by our research.” Very diplomatic answer.