THE BLOG

A Musing on Monogamy

16/03/2015 12:52 GMT | Updated 16/05/2015 10:59 BST

I've been struggling with the concept of commitment lately.

Naturally, for a 20-something soaking up the spoilt-for-choice lifestyle London has to offer, an element of indecision is inevitable. However, in a society that dubs divorce celebration a 'red hot business', I'm clearly not the only one with a restless reluctance to be tied down.

It's not a ground-breaking conflict, and it's certainly not unique to those whose Facebook status reads 'single'.

From hormone-driven first loves, to long-term partnered 20-somethings, to the newly wedded and those well-into matrimony; we've all witnessed at least one of the above cross that oh-so-fickle faithful line, leaving loyalty far behind.

American sex-advice columnist Dan Savage - who controversially declared monogamy 'ridiculous' - says that in most serious long-term relationships, 60% of the men will cheat, as will 40% of the women. Ouch.

As for the UK? According to relationship expert and author of 'Our Cheating Hearts,' Kate Figes, adultery is now so common in Britain that it's more likely than not to occur at some point in a long-term partnership.

One thing is for certain - infidelity doesn't discriminate. But should we condemn all who stray? Perhaps the reason non-ogamy is so rampant is that it's simply not natural to the human condition?

It sounds bleak, I know... but bear with me.

History tells us that love was not always synonymous with monogamy (Vikings, anyone?) and that marrying simply for the sake of life-long exclusivity is far from traditional.

Not so long ago (in some cultures, still today) the decision to be wed was based largely on wealth, status and power - very rarely was it made by the bride and groom themselves.

Decades later, monogamy manifested when the human life expectancy was shorter and gender roles extremely different. Unsurprisingly, the (now apparently lucrative) divorce rate was far from 'red-hot'.

So where did this notion of sexual and emotional exclusivity come from? Biblically-speaking, even Adam and Eve had to get busy to populate this place.

Renowned spiritual psychologist Deepak Chopra says it all boils down to social revolution - born from the family structure and subsequent need for stability and security with a partner.

The problem is, these values tend to conflict with other basic human needs: for excitement, variety and - on an impulsive, primal level - to just get it on.

In the ever-insightful words of the Bloodhound Gang - we ain't nothin but mammals. And yet, jealousy and possessiveness are part of human nature (undoubtedly for some, more-so than others).

So, what's the solution?

Do we adopt the optimistic, and perhaps idealistic, belief that true love is when you find someone worth going against what we're biologically programmed to do?

Is it a life of serial monogamy? Whereby we accept that when one flame fizzes it's time to call it, and reignite elsewhere?

Or - is it sexual honesty over exclusivity? Perhaps society is closer to this than many realise (or care to admit) - over one fifth of 14,000 respondents to an Oprah survey said they have an open marriage.

Regardless - it's essential to find someone on the same monogamous, polygamous (or perhaps in my case, commitment-phobic) page.

It's a controversial and complex can of worms, but one thing is for sure - making decisions about eternity based on societal expectations certainly won't guarantee long-term loving.