Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing snippets from a book I’ve now read five times over; Why Him, Why Her – A Natural Mating History of Marriage, Mating & Why We Stray by anthropology genius Helen Fisher.
I’ve talked about flirting and infatuation, about sex and love. I’ve covered monogamy and adultery, what adultery means to some but not to others, what cheating is to God and all about the famous Kinsey Sex Reports with facts and figures we can’t ignore. I’ve talked a bit about marriage and I’ve talked about divorce.
So today, before I close off this chapter of my blog, pick up another book to read and start writing about something that doesn’t encourage creepy messages from strange men on Instagram, I’ll leave you with a few thoughts of my own.
Love is one of the most fascinating concepts I have ever had the pleasure of getting my head around and Fisher’s eloquently presented stance using history, science and unarguable logic remains to be one I find it difficult to contest.
Love is not an emotion, it’s a drive that has been programmed within our behavioural patterns since our time began. Every glance, kiss, stroke and touch dates back hundreds of thousands of years and is filled with meaning and purpose.
My views on the subject have always been seen as somewhat controversial and I’ve never quite understood why.
As a pragmatic romantic, I believe in the magic of lust, love and adoration, yet I also believe there’s no such thing as ‘the one’. I believe our attempt at stifling our inbuilt approach to finding a mate can torture us; the mind battles with the body and the only possible outcome is pain. The denial of adultery is dangerous.
I know that love of another person exists in all sorts of shapes and sizes but the most powerful form of love is the one we find within. Love is not a constant and love does not last forever, love evolves.
Then there’s marriage, a subject I’m often fearful of talking about as my views stretch so far away from those of the masses. The history behind it, the traditions it contains and the meanings it has – none of them are relevant to me today.
I do not want to be handed over from one man to another, take a man’s name or make promises that statistically have a very high chance of being broken. To me, a legally binding document is more likely to kill love than savour it.
And the saddest thing of all is that marriage today, (along with gender reveals, baby showers and divorce parties), has reached a whole other level of insanity. The amount of time, energy and money spent on one single day absolutely blows my head off.
A few years ago I read that the average UK wedding costs £27k, today I’d bet that’s almost doubled. In the majority of cases, selfies and sashes, false friends and fall outs prevail as months and months are spent talking about one single day that will be over in twenty-four hours and most people will be too hammered to remember.
Post-wedding depression is an actual thing.
Love seems to be hiding beneath a selfie-covered blanket of ignorance and narcissism – and no matter how hard I try, I just cannot get my head around it.
As we catapult ourselves further into the digital age and make our move closer and closer towards sexual equality, there has never been a more fascinating time to investigate our understanding of love.
Almost overnight, many of our fundamental cues and behaviours when it comes to attracting a mate have been taken away from us and we’re reshaping our intentions completely.
We’re now swiping our way through thousands of faces, unable to sense the things our evolutionary attraction detectors are programmed to look out for. Our minds are creating ‘love avatars’ of our matches and we converse with our fingers instead of our voices.
We’re being subtly, and I believe intentionally, moved closer to a ‘mixed reality‘ existence and in that case, towards a mixed reality of love.
Janae Johnson 22 September 2019