Are We Really Meant To Be Monogamous? Why We Cheat On People We Love & How To Make Any Relationship Work

Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Conscious Living, Relationships & Sex with 0 Comments

Jeff Roberts | Collective Evolution

I will boldly state that we’ve all experienced some form of infidelity at some point in our lives. You may be thinking, “not me!” or “I would never!”, but there are multiple levels of cheating that I’m talking about here. Cheating could literally mean anything we’ve done and thought “I can’t tell my partner about this.”

Maybe it was some harmless flirting at the gym to boost your ego, sharing intimate pictures online, or perhaps you even slept with someone else, but my point is that for the majority of us out there, there is most likely at least one time in our relationship that we’ve felt the need to explore some type of external, stimulating experience outside of our committed relationship. But where are these urges or sensations truly originating from? Are we really ‘bad’ or promiscuous beings at our core?


There are a few theories which aim to help us understand our polygamous/monogamous nature. Let’s examine a few of these theories and then explore what it really takes for a monogamous relationship to work.

What Our Animal Origins Tell Us About Monogamy

Although we cannot be fully likened to other animals, as humans are unique beings, examining the behavior of animals has long been thought of as a means to help us understand our more primal instincts. It seems that the odds are against monogamous relationships when looking at our animal origins. Only 3 to 5 percent of the 5,000 species of mammals bond for life, including otters, beavers and wolves. The rate of monogamy among primates is about 6 percent.

Some evolutionary psychologists have suggested that men are more likely to have extramarital sex, partially due to the male urge to “spread genes” by broadcasting sperm. Both males and females, these scientists say, try to up their evolutionary progress by seeking out high-quality mates, albeit in different ways.

“The human species has evolved to make commitments between males and females in regards to raising their offspring, so this is a bond,” said Jane Lancaster, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of New Mexico. “However that bond can fit into all kinds of marriage patterns – polygyamy, single parenthood, monogamy.”

The human species is somewhat unique amongst mammals in that fathers do invest in raising children


“We do know that in humans we do have this pretty strong pair bond, and there’s more paternal investment than in most other primates,” said Daniel Kruger, a social and evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “We’re special in this regard, but at the same time like most mammals, we are a polygamous species.” Kruger said humans are considered “mildly polygamous,” in which a male mates with more than one female.

Does The Desire To Cheat Come From Our Unfilled Voids?

Next we have the conventional psycho-analytical breakdown of why we cheat. This theory expresses the idea that many people get into long-term relationships or marriage because they have the idea that their partner is somehow going to make their lives ‘better.’

This is the same problem we have with accumulating anything external: “This car is going to make things better,” “I am going to be happier with this new shirt,” or “going on this vacation will fulfill me.”

Then you are hit with the unforgiving truth– the anti-climax if you will. All of these things that we ended up having or experiencing fell flat in providing us with long-term fulfillment. I know you’ve all experienced this feeling in some form or another.

This theory states that infidelity generally comes from the same inner emptiness as alcohol and drug abuse, food addiction, gambling, spending, shopping and so on. This is said to be due subconscious feelings of self-abandonment, creating an addiction to attention, approval or sex — using another person to fill the inner emptiness and take away the inner aloneness.

I’m sure you’ve all heard about this theory on why we cheat. But what if we find our relationship is generally healthy, full of love and good sex, yet there’s still a feeling of being ‘trapped’ and a longing to have a sexual experience with someone else? Could this be due to our idea of what a long-term relationship or marriage needs to be?

Is Polygamy The New Monogamy?

It seems that in the past decade, there has been a cultural surge of promoting polygamy as a ‘solution’ of sorts to conventional, puritan-based monogamy. Perhaps this is in part due to a general opposition that modern society holds against the archaic idea of marriage.

Today we commonly see a twisted idea of monogamy in the form of marriage which can frighten many from wanting to be involved in a long term relationship. This concept is often associated with oppression, the playing of gender-based ‘roles,’ co-dependency, ownership, stagnancy, comfort, jealousy, resentment, passiveness, and the list goes on. With these associations in mind, it is easy to see why our current culture holds apprehensive belief systems around marriage and monogamy.

Ultimately, we do not have ownership over someone else. We cannot make promises of staying with one person for the rest of our lives and dictate what they can and cannot do. Looking at it from a higher perspective, we are beings here to play and experience as much as we possibly can. This is why the the idea of being tied down by a signed document or ring opposes our natural state of freedom.

Committing to share a trusted partnership with someone else is different than the idea of promising forever. This is why divorce rates are so high.

Within any relationship, there most likely will come a time when at least one partner will feel at a soul level that it is time to move on from the experience. The relationship problems come when this decision is met with resistance by either side, resisting our higher guidance due to dependency or cultural beliefs around staying married.

With that all being said, long-term relationships can be amazing experiences for helping us to learn and grow at an accelerated rate, which we will explore in the next section.

Breaking Down What A Committed Relationship Should Provide

In order for us to understand which experience, polygamy or monogamy, is more harmonious with our true state, we have to look at a grander picture.

Ultimately, we cannot be fully equated to our animal ancestors as this only demeans our potential. We are energetic/spiritual beings, and therefore our romantic and sexual experiences are unique and should not be broken down and associated only with the workings of the physiological brain.

In truth, both polygamy and monogamy have their benefits and downfalls. The notion of promoting either experience as ‘better’ is rooted in our cultural conditioning around each subject.

Like mentioned before, a large majority of modern-day culture has a distorted view of monogamy based around previous cultural programming of what marriage or a monogamous relationship should be.

Our sexual energy is a form of creative life force energy, existing as a means of either creating new life as a living being or as a means of cultivating and utilizing this connective energy within our self. Our intimate relationships work as mirrors for one another, allowing an opportunity for self-awareness, and allowing each person involved to experience progressively deeper levels of love through the building of trust and intimacy.  This is what is offered from committing to a long-term relationship.

Committing to one person in a space of trust and love allows us to deepen our love experience. This isn’t to say that committing to someone signifies a complete merging of two individual identities. This is an attribute of co-dependency, a state that is not harmonious with our true self and therefore unstable in the long run. Committing to one person for an extended period of time more so offers the space of protected venerability, wherein we can channel intensified levels of sexual and loving energy, thus allowing us to experience higher states of consciousness.

On the flip side, this trusted space can also transform into a space of dull, uninspired love for people who are not being conscious of their wants and needs.

This emphasizes the importance of making any romantic relationship a spiritual practice. It is so important to support each other in our journey’s while maintaining accountability for what we are offering into the relationship. This is how we avoid the aforementioned lull which many experience, thereby alleviating the desire to experience outside of the relationship, or ‘cheat.’

The Most Important Thing To Remember With Any Relationship

So we’ve explored many facets of our choice to be polygamous or monogamous. We’ve looked at theories of cheating based on our animal origins, as well as modern theories stating we cheat because we are filling voids of self-abandonment. Lastly, we explored how to find fulfillment in any relationship by approaching relationships as a spiritual and definition-less practice. 

Read the full post here.

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