Is Romance Just Our Way of Trying to Cheat Biology?


Was at the gym today, and got caught watching “The Bachelorette,” which I’d never seen before. High drama as it was the last show of the season and the chick was picking her man from two hopefuls. I didn’t see the end as I needed a good stretch after my time on the elliptical, BUT it got me thinking about the various biological imperatives that we all operate under, which includes picking the fittest mate, staying together long enough to procreate and raise a child to an age where it is strong enough, and then ideally (biologically speaking), finding a new mate to procreate with. The above timeline lasts between 4-7 years which is typically the time most relationships last, according to research, and even holds true if no babies are born.

Multiple mates are good for both sexes as it both increases an individual’s genes moving forward (mixing with more than one mate) AND is “good” for the gene pool in general as relative fitness of a given group increases with both offspring AND variability of offspring.

In light of the above, it then makes sense that there is some kind of psychological, physical, and physiological bonding mechanism that holds people together long enough to procreate and raise a child to health. We call it love, and as we all know, it is more likely to fade than retain its original strength (though there are certain ways to prolong the physiological aspects of love, which include introducing danger or uncertainty into a relationship, which causes ancient neuron pathways to be activated, which create continued bonds. We are a group-oriented species and if the community is under threat from war, weather or other uncertainties, it makes sense that bonded pairs should stay together to make a stronger community).

But we are addicted to love.
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