Love Vs Sex
It was once believed that there were many species of mammals and birds that were monogamous, having life partners, and in their social setting shared resources , protection, parenting and support. There was no differentiation given between mating and social lives, with assumptions that those who shared homes and child rearing were sexually exclusive, essentially Monogamous, with only one sexual partner at a given time. Culturally, at least since the agricultural age, where acquiring land and protection of ones wealth, passing it down to your offspring, became a societal 'norm' humans have been conditioned that this is also our natural state of relational wellbeing.
However , as humans we are always searching and attracted to novelty in our lives, in friends, experiences, food and sex. so marriage as religion and law sets it out-forsaking all others, actually goes against our nature.
In countries such as china, there is stigma attached to not being married after the age of 30. And in one study 88% of people are said to believe in soul mates, which actually places an over romanticised ideal and huge expectations onto partners, giving over to someone else the power to make you happy and therefore the power to make you unhappy.
however the history of marriage is not love, it is actually wealth management at its finest. during the agricultural revolution, it was introduced s a way to manage land holding and wealth and the woman belonged to the man, providing him sons with whom to leave the wealth to once he dies.
When someone marries for love, the first notion of third being approximately 160 years ago, it was seen as a subversive, antisocial act, going against political and banking institutions, showing no need for family alliances, without much care for financial gain. there was fear of a loss of power from the powers that be that lead the societal rule.
However the rules within marriage whether for love or wealth preservation continued, and conditioned us within society against our human nature , cultural imposition rather than genes, so to say.
All this is not to say they we cant decide to be married, pair bonded, romantically involved with one or more person, but it will take work what ever dynamic you chose. but there are biological factors to take into consideration too.
In 1992 Carter Published a study showing that social bonds between humans , i.e. 'LOVE' depends on shared underlying neural substrates, namely oxytocin. in females, this exogenous oxytocin does not increase sexual desires but does increase a social contract between individuals. If oxytocin, which promotes social engagement, attention and synchrony in diverse mammalian species, or the neural substrate vasopressin is blocked there is a decreased social contract ( vasopressin, is seen to promote aggression to intruders -in the prairie vole studies)
in humans as well as other species the Nucleus Acumbens is influenced by social and hormonal experiences, with the number and density of specific receptors to these significant neurotransmitters being regulated in early life by genetics, as well as parental care, leading to epigenetic alterations.
Increased parental care leads to an increased oxytocin receptor gene and density, increasing the likelihood of pair bonding, then mating with a familiar partner, would increase the oxytocin release and the gene facilitating partner bonding, leading to a more monogamous inclination for non sexual contexts.
Even the sexually promiscuous voles however showed a preference to familiar partners, in social interactions, after mating showed aggression to intruders, guarding the other resources.
Is this a reason Marriage and primary partners have continued to be a social construct rather than humans returning to a more socialist system sharing the economy, and all resources between a group. Certain polyamorous dynamics build on this sharing without a hierarchy, but is the success of a dynamic more down to their neurobiology of the individuals involved, rather than their idea of a situation.
Is this why some people just can not be monogamous, or vice versa, cannot handle non monogamy in any form at all. Is it something we can work through Is it innate in our biological make up?
More research on humans is certainly needed, but at least thee questions are being thought about in the academic and scientific world now, breaking down social stigma, on differing relationship and love dynamics.
One size does not fit all at all.