There is a basic thing worth learning about love and its ramifications on relationships, which also helps to understand why many people cheat on their loved ones in couple relationships.
- Sexual stimulation: the desire for sexual satisfaction, lust.
- Romantic love: the feeling of elation, the obsessive thoughts at the start of a relationship.
- Attraction: the feeling of calmness and security that we feel with a long-term partner
These three systems in the brain – lust, romantic love and attraction – are not always interconnected. You can feel a deep connection with a long-term partner and at the same time feel intense romantic love for someone else and lust for other people. In short, we are biologically capable of loving more than one person at the same time. You can lay in bed at night and fluctuate between feelings of deep attraction for one person and deep romantic love for another.
This situation is inherent in our brains. We cannot change it and therefore the monogamous relationship that forces those three systems to function as one unit and focus on one person, over time, is contrary to human nature. It may work for a short time, but that is unlikely in the long run, at least for most people, and this is why people cheat!
Falling in love is a strong emotion, a feeling of intense excitement, butterflies, never-ending thoughts about love and feelings of euphoria that continue for several weeks to several months.
By a sort of tacit agreement, you know that when you are in a relationship or a monogamous marriage, you are not allowed to fall in love again! You are supposed to give up on the butterflies or in other words sacrifice your happiness for the monogamous ideal, though it is uncertain whether it will make you happy over time.
However, people are not fools, they understand this or simply cannot restrain their lust, and they cheat.
In fact, a multiplicity of loves can strengthen and deepen your relationship with your primary partner! It will encourage and motivate you to have honest and open communication. You will also be free to get to know other people with the support of your primary partner and in accordance with what you agree upon. However, if you or your primary partner find someone else who is more suitable, the primary partner will become secondary, and the new partner will become the primary partner.
Let me ask you this: What is your favourite food? Now imagine that from today you have to eat it at every meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner. Indeed, you could skip one meal, but it will remain the same – today, tomorrow, next week and also in another two years or twenty years. I promise you that the wonderful flavor you desire will diminish over time, it will become commonplace, boring, and at the end of the day you will be sick of it. So why punish yourself by entering into a monogamous relationship? What is the difference? Once you commit to a monogamous relationship, you will punish yourself and imprison your partner.
If it is so simple, why are people intimidated by polyamorous relationships?
Because they are afraid. Afraid of social criticism, of being different or outside the paralyzing mainstream. The initial response I get from people when I suggest an alternative to monogamy is “You are naive, love is not food” or “You are single without children, so you don’t understand”. It often comes from couples who have just got married and are still at the peak of their love. They have no real desire to look at love from a new perspective and discover that perhaps they have made the biggest mistake of their lives. Monogamy is so entrenched in our culture that we don’t dare challenge the old social order.
Why are we obsessive about cheating?
Because this is the way to guarantee that our genes will continue on to the next generation.
Until thousands of years ago, men had an interest in impregnating as many women as possible, while women had an interest in ensuring that the man impregnating them would support them. Don’t assume, however, that those women did not cheat. They slept (secretly) with other men when they believed that the new man would give them healthier and stronger children. Although they did not know about genes, if they wanted a stronger, more muscular man, they would sleep with him in order to improve the genetic pool of their children. Some would return to their original partners, who did not know that they had cheated on them, in order to guarantee their support for the children whom they believed to be theirs.
For these reasons jealousy developed as an emotion that motivates the action of preventing unfaithfulness; however, today you can easily know whether your children are yours by genetic testing, thus sexual jealousy is a remnant of the protective mechanism of the past.
Nevertheless, I feel that monogamy could definitely suit people who see themselves as jealous and possessive, those who prefer clear frameworks and laws, and of course those who are comfortable with the mainstream.
If you have chosen monogamy, at least know in advance what you are getting into, for better or for worse.