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I once asked a male friend of mine what men wanted in a relationship. His answer was simple and to the point. He said food, sex, and leave my shit alone.
It has been my experience over the past 63 years of my life that his insight is pretty much right on the mark. It might be a bit more complex but basically men are creatures of habit.
I am not a psychologist, and I certainly don't claim to have all the answers as to how men and women differ in their thought process, but I do know that we are very different in the way we process information, especially when it comes to intimate relationships.
Most of the woman I know do require a constant flow of emotional data from their life partners. My lesbian friends, for the most part, don't seem to have an issue with this requirement. Both parties in the relationship share a unique bond of physical, mental and emotional support. This bond, however, does not always seem to be present in a male/female love relationship. Men don't always feel comfortable sharing their innermost feelings.
Monogamy does not seem to be an intrinsic part of our psychological make up. Woman are more apt to choose monogamy because it provides a balanced platform for child rearing and nurturing. Men, on the other hand may choose monogamy as a comfortable and non threatening way to have a steady means of sexual release. Once they catch their prey they aren't necessarily inclined to continue the mating rites and rituals that got them their prize in the first place.
In short, women are into marriage for stability and men are into marriage mostly for the sex.
I know this sounds really horrible and there are many people, both male and female who will disagree. But, when you look at the facts and figures about why men cheat, the biggest reason is because they are looking for a new way to express their sexual nature.
To better understand how it all works, all we need to do is to look to the animal kingdom for answers. It is a fact that animals that choose to remain monogamous will still cheat on their mates for certain instinctual reasons. Humankind is no exception.
Monogamy is a choice, and it does go against all of our instinctual processes. In most long term relationships, life becomes comfortable and a sense of routine naturally sets in. It is entirely possible to love someone dearly and yet crave the thrill and excitement that a new love relationships brings into one's life. Some people thrive on sameness and some don't. There is a lot to be said for comfort.
But, there is also a chance that one person will outgrow the other in a relationship. People are not the same at 20 as they are at 40. And, as a result, one or both of the people involved might step outside of the relationship to get something they need and feel they are not getting from their long term partner.
Monogamy isn't for everyone. Still, there is a societal pressure to adhere to monogamous relationships, especially for women in a historical aspect.
Today divorce is really commonplace compared to my parent's generation. Thus, monogamy isn't as important. With the onset of the world wide internet, people who would never meet in real life have direct access to one another and the choices of possible love interests has broadened on an unprecedented level.
I can't help but wonder if there will be such a thing as a monogamous relationship a hundred years from now. Or rather, if there will be any need at all for people to make that choice in the first place.