I recently read an interesting article in the September 21, 2015 edition of Time magazine titled “Is Monogamy Over?” The author, an evolutionary biologist suggested that the answer is no, but stated that due to human urges and underlying evolutionary characteristics such as competition, monogamy was somewhat unnatural.
I hear much of the same from many of my unmarried friends. They use some of the same arguments to explain why they have no intention of settling down with any one person. The view of the Time article was one I hadn’t heard before. The author suggested that the main importance for monogamy in humans was for its benefit to children: mainly the benefit of providing children with bi-parental care. The author remarks that it is very rare for any species to engage in bi-parental care unless the males are guaranteed that they are genetically related to the offspring. The author comments that the only way that a male can be sure that he is genetically related to his offspring is through monogamy.
Accordingly, the author suggests that humans should continue with monogamy for the sake of our children. This is an interesting take. Humans may be one of the few species to provide their young with bi-parental care, but I don’t think monogamy is as closely tied to co-parenting as this author suggests. This author suggests that monogamy has little to no benefit to a relationship absent its relation to co-parenting. What about couples who don’t want, or don’t have children? Do they not value monogamy? I am one hundred percent for shared parenting.
I feel that children need all the assistance they can get and when it comes to parenting, four hands are better than two. Nevertheless, I refuse to believe that raising children is the only thing that makes monogamy socially acceptable, or the only reason humans should be monogamous. Co-parenting is not, or at least shouldn’t be, what keeps people monogamous. That should be more about the commitment that the each person in the couple makes to each other, not to the child. That’s what keeps a couple together, long after their co-parenting days are over.