There is a certain way that males and females have been designed in our society, owing to our ancestors. In ancient times, in order to get a female, the male had to demonstrate power. The females wanted someone who can protect them from the wild and also give them strong off spring. The ultimate aim of the females was protection of themselves and their kids, hence they were not interested in going after multiple males. The males, on the other hand, wanted their legacy to continue forever. They wanted to make sure they sleep with as many women as possible so that their eggs get passed on safely, diversifying their risk. However, they didn’t want to be one of ‘many’ husbands because then it would not be clear who the father is, and investing in offspring that is not even yours is a waste of resources. To sum it all, how we are today in our relationships has to do a lot with biology and the wild.
History also gives us some matriarchal societies in the world which do not go by the rule above, and women choose as many lovers as they want. Not knowing who the child’s father is, is not frowned upon. Women inherit property, and are the heads of the family looking after key decisions as well as the financials. The Mosuo in China, The AKA in Congo and Meghalaya in India are examples of these societies. These societies are a counter argument to biology, but given their few number, their survival is a question mark.
Today, we are the modern versions of this history. We are still living around the boundaries defined by our history, however things are changing. The lines between patriarchy and matriarchy merge, as we move towards a more open and experimenting era. Since anybody can be anybody, people are now okay with stay at home dads, or open relationships where both partners have multiple lovers. Have we defeated biology at its game? It is too early to say as of yet. But there are multiple questions that we have been asking ourselves lately.
After a certain phase in our life, most of us got over polygamy and opted for a simpler monogamous settlement. We were tired of being all over the place, and contained our heart in a solid space thereon. For the long run, that seemed the correct route to take. Feelings of possessiveness and jealousy were quite real, and hence marriage provided the security that we needed in our lives. However, the new generations are being raised in a different way, in a society and among people where new ideas have taken birth. There are examples of unconventional settlements, e.g. gay marriages, three people living together peacefully (little conflicts are bound to arise, but feelings like jealousy do not exist), without marriage, raising kids. People have accepted themselves as they are, be it not wanting to settle for just one person for the rest of their lives or owning their sexual orientation.
The options are so many, it really is about finding people who want the same things. Three, four or five, the number is really a choice. Kids no kids. Males or females or both. Groups or alone. There are as many combinations of relationships possible as many people in this world. The deeper question, however, is how does it affect us emotionally?
Love gets selfish at times, when you don’t want to share because you feel threatened. People in open relationships will find themselves feeling rubbish if their partner has brought someone sexy in the house. Since the boundaries are not there anymore, nothing will stop their partner to fall in love with this new guy, who stands at a higher level of human biological hierarchy with a better height, stronger muscles, looks and great hair 😉 When the feelings of security and the ‘death do us part’s do not exist anymore, you cannot be certain that the person you are still in love with, will actually love you back.
This is a mental conundrum. Do you give your hundred percent to the relationship because you never know when you will be left alone. To save yourself of the trouble, you also keep your options open. Both of you might not find a next best alternative, so what will become of the person who does not? It has always been about the survival of the fittest. If you do not find anybody else, chances are that your combination of genes will die with you.
Even concepts of family will become a little skewed with time. Would you even want to have kids with a partner that might cease to be with you any day. Raising kids is the parents’ job, and one person alone would not want to take all of the responsibility. If the marriage/settlement has no future, would people want to invest in a family. These are the questions nobody can give an answer to right now. History, changing norms and biology play a tango at the moment, but only the fittest will survive.
When no feeling exists, what feelings will exist? As we evolve into different human beings with new norms in the society, will feelings also evolve? As relationships change, the feelings of love, possession, security and jealousy will need to be redefined. Even the concepts of marriage and cheating will have new meaning now. Biological traits however change slowly as compared to social norms. We need to ask ourselves, as we move towards a more ‘follow your heart’ kind of a society, are we becoming more animalistic in characteristics? Are we ready to let our basic desires drive us by giving our heart a free reign? What impact will it have on our future and our bodies? Will the moral codes in the society get affected by these new concepts? Will religion become irrelevant as technology disrupts definitions? Will biology adjust to these emerging ideas of social relationships?
Only time will be our answer, given we make it!