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Posts Tagged ‘man and chimps’

48149-main_fullI am exhausted. Not just sleepy, or tired to the bone, but exhausted on every level: physically, mentally and emotionally. Okay, that last part is an exaggeration. Emotionally I’m doing okay, though sometimes I wonder how that’s possible, considering everything’s that’s going on in my life lately.

It’s made me a little impatient on some levels and I find it’s erupting in unexpected ways. This week, when no one offered to help me in a home improvement store, turned away from me in fact, I got so angry that I found a cart, lifted a huge pail of tile paste (nearly 50 pounds though it felt like two hundred to me) from the floor into the cart myself, grew angrier when no one helped me get it into the car, and hurt my back stubbornly trying to do it all myself.

All week long I have been reminded of that decision every time I move or twist a certain way or try to lie down. It was foolish at my age and with my health issues, no matter how frustrated I was.

My irritability surfaced again when I became part of a discussion on infidelity. A writer friend made the point that monogamy wasn’t natural in the animal kingdom and that people needed to remember that humans are most closely related to chimps, therefore monogamy is also unnatural in humans.

The flat-out statement that we should accept infidelity is more natural than monogamy because of our connection to the animal kingdom bothers me. It provides a pat answer to a complex relationship that’s been around for thousands of years. Nothing is ever that simple – is it?

I wrote a response and realized I sounded judgmental and more than a little “pollyanna-ish.” Here, though, giving such a strong opinion seems more appropriate. After all, it is my blog, correct? lol

The original discussion began started with a reference to an online dating service for married people who were interested in casual relationships outside their marriage. We were asked for our opinions. This is my response:

Personally, I think for one person to be unfaithful behind their partner’s back is unconscionable. If it’s a joint decision, I wonder why they bother to be together at all, but at least they aren’t hurting each other. Society, possibly. Any children they may have, certainly, Their families, no doubt, but each other, probably not.

I could never go so far as to excuse infidelity on the basis of humans being mere animals, most closely related to the chimp. I do not see infidelity as a naturally occurring instinct, suggesting that there is no choice involved. It seems to give people permission to do what comes naturally, what they were always “meant to do.”

More likely, I think infidelity occurs as a result of people marrying for the wrong reasons: because the prospective spouse is attractive, or fun, or society tells them it’s time, or there’s a child on the way, or the person has a bright future professionally. We have these images of “Barbie and Ken” in our heads, with perfect kids who will never stray. We imagine our lives will be like the ideal ones we see on family-oriented shows, with money in the bank, a membership at the golf club, and problems no worse than those on Leave it to Beaver or Family Ties. All of those expectations set people up for a load of disappointments, and they sometimes realize that it was the promise of the future life they were in love with, not the person they married. It may only be one person who’s disillusioned, but that’s all it takes.

The bottom line is, I believe when two people are really right for each other (and it does take both of them) they find a way to grow together over time, not apart, and the urge to be unfaithful is practically non-existent for them.

Let’s face it. Getting married is much too easy for such a huge step. For many people, the only difficulties are around the ceremony and finding the right dress and venue. How much better it would be if getting married required the same kind of work and preparation as our careers. Maybe then they’d be better prepared to make and honour their commitments to be faithful.

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