Monogamy: to be or not to be?
Monogamy is a type of family relationship in which only 2 people can be married. Nature and human society also know other options: polygyny (one husband and several wives) and polyandry (one wife and several husbands).
Charles Darwin proposed a hypothesis explaining the existence of polygamy: nature needs a variety of genetic material so that the most successful specimens survive from many combinations. Therefore, a man seeks to fertilize as many women as possible.
Another scientist, American anthropologist Owen Lovejoy, proposed another theory, according to which human civilization is the result of monogamy. The need to care for only one female reduced rivalry between males, led to a decrease in aggression, and made possible the peaceful coexistence of a pack of primitive people – joint hunting, defense from other tribes, etc.
Both of these hypotheses explain the existence of jealousy well: males do not want to feed someone else’s offspring. Females want the male to ensure the survival of only her children. Jealousy has not disappeared even in countries where polygamy is a long tradition. Wives intrigue against each other, trying to exterminate the rival, the elders oppress the younger ones, if the husband gives such an opportunity …
In countries where monogamy is accepted, the idea of the existence of a rival can make the life of a lawful wife hell. Few people manage to reach the heights of Buddhist enlightenment, where they do not care about everyday little things like adultery and divorce. Even if a lady is not financially dependent on her husband, and starvation does not threaten her and her children, the loss of love is not experienced easier.
A man’s reputation as a swashbuckling lover traditionally means a lot in our society. And therefore, and because of the gender imbalance (there are more women than men), adultery has become one of the most common causes of family breakdown. Single women enter into a relationship with married men in order to receive their share of love and attention or to give birth to a child "for themselves." Men can actually live in 2 families, supporting both their wife and mistress, helping all their children.
This is a very difficult situation for both women, because sooner or later the spouse finds out about the existence of a rival. The wife can leave the traitor, try to force him to leave his mistress or come to terms with the situation. In the latter case, in fact, both families will live in a polygamous marriage.
It is no coincidence that during the census from time to time it turns out that there are more married women than married men – ladies who share a partner with his legal wife also consider themselves married.
Polygamy could be a solution to demographic and social problems if it is ever legislated. But for this, society must change its attitude towards monogamous marriage as the only acceptable one. It is unlikely that in the foreseeable future, women will agree that sharing the love of their man with another lady is as normal as household appliances like a meat grinder or a vacuum cleaner …