The Happily Ever After Myth

by George P.H. on January 23, 2013

hea

Want to be happy? Find the perfect girl, commit to her and live happily ever after. That’s the way things are supposed to work.

But if you’ve ever been in a relationship, you know that sticking to that perfect girl is hard. After some time together you start to want other women.

That’s why so many men cheat, watch porn and otherwise relieve sexual tension. It’s hard to balance a man’s natural desires with the demands of a monogamous relationship.

Why does this happen? Didn’t Disney, the Bible and every authority figure in your life say that everything works out once you find your second half?

Well, they probably did. And in doing so they perpetuated the happily ever after myth: the insane idea that once you find the right girl, life just magically works itself out.

The Happily Ever After Myth

I can already see the angry e-mails I’ll be getting over this, but let’s get something out of the way right now: men were never supposed to be monogamous.

The main goal of every living organism is to survive and procreate. For men, the most effective way to do this is by having sex with a large number of women. That, in a nutshell, is why we’re naturally polygamous.

So why are most societies monogamous?

The answer is simple. Polygamy is good for the individual but bad for society. If an exceptionally strong, resourceful and powerful man has multiple women, some unlucky schmuck is left with nothing.

In other species this results in natural selection. The strongest male mates with a bunch of girls; they have his babies; the weak males are cut out of the gene pool.  The species wins.

Humans are different. We live in large societies that are built on our cooperation. If a few men were to get all the women – leaving the other males lonely and unhappy – there’d be too much conflict for human society as we know it to work. Our species would lose.

Monogamous cultures have always had better population growth and more military strength while polygamous ones had more crime, violence, poverty and gender inequality.

Over the centuries, this led to the disappearance of polygamous societies. Monogamous cultures were more populous and better organized so they prevailed.

And that’s great… But how relevant is a society’s optimal growth strategy to your own, personal happiness?

The Perpetuation Of The Myth

Let’s leave our ancestors behind for a minute and get back to 2013.

Divorce rates are higher than ever. A study in which successful men – i.e. ones who have sexual options – were heavily represented found that 78% of them cheat. But even as it’s becoming clear that the idyllic “happily ever after” doesn’t exist, society keeps shoving it down our throats.

They keep telling us everything will be OK. They keep making movies about older couples rekindling that magic feeling. And now they’re looking into giving us oxytocin – a hormone – to “help protect monogamous relationships”.

As if that weren’t enough, men are constantly being punished for how they naturally feel

Society pressures us into “taking things to the next level” by proposing to women after a few years together. Then, if things don’t work out – and they often don’t – we get screwed by ridiculous divorce and child support payments.

(Hey – I don’t think Kobe Bryant should have to give his wife 100$ million for “signing checks” and raising 2 kids if they get divorced. Sue me.)

But it gets worse. The worst part is that society tells us to feel like shit when we watch porn, look at other women or – god forbid – think about sleeping with them.

So when things go wrong in our relationships we blame ourselves.

Instead of daring to say, “hey, maybe the system is broken”, we think – I must be broken. I ruined a great thing. I sinned. I gave in to temptation. I’m a horrible person. I’ll never find anyone to be happy with.

That’s how society makes us feel ABOUT OUR NATURAL IMPULSES. And we buy into all the bullshit, repress our desires and live in “socially compelled sexual incarceration“.

Then, when it all becomes too much and a man does something stupid – like cheating – everyone wonders what went wrong.

It’s like what Chris Rock said about “trained” tigers attacking people. “THAT TIGER DIDN’T GO CRAZY – THAT TIGER WENT TIGER.” The same is true here: wanting other women isn’t wrong. It’s what’s SUPPOSED to happen! Duh!

So What’s A Man To Do?

Now, before an army of feminists floods my inbox with furious e-mails, let me finish.

I’m not saying marriage never works.

I’m not saying you can’t be happy with one woman.

I’m definitely not saying it’s O.K. to cheat.

All I’m saying is, let’s stop bullshitting ourselves. Women have been fighting for the right to express their sexuality and they’ve come a long way – so why not us?

If you want to be monogamous and do the traditional thing, that’s cool. The emotional bond between a man and a woman has little to do with sexual attraction. So long as you’re ready to sacrifice your desires for that connection – great.

But if you want to live in harmony with the sexual wants you have as a man, you can and you should.

Here’s the thing. Men have always cheated more traditionally. But in the developed world, women are catching up as they become increasingly independent.

Like us, these women are interested in having multiple sexual partners. They don’t want to limit their options – at least not while they’re young. And as the stigma of pre-marital sex is disappearing, more and more of them are happy to enjoy casual sex, be friends with benefits or have open relationships.

In other words, it’s becoming easy to have sex with multiple women without cheating or upsetting anyone. You can go out there, sleep with lots of fantastic girls and everyone’s happy. What’s not to like?

Of course, you can also be in a monogamous relationship and still stay true to your sexuality.

That’s what happened in my last serious relationship; my ex was cool with me flirting with other women. I’d go out, talk to hot girls and come back home to her with my polygamous needs satisfied.

You can also watch porn together, role-play in the bedroom and even pull girls as a couple. (Research shows that couples who watch porn together are more committed, so don’t write these activities off without considering them).

The final option is serial monogamy. Most people can’t imagine it as a way of life, drifting from relationship to relationship forever – but that’s how most of us end up.

With the decline of marriage, dating for a few years and breaking up is a common way to be polygamous in a monogamous society. Then again, it’s hard to raise kids or build a life if you’re constantly seeing new people, so this option is the worst of both worlds – sex with one person at a time with none of monogamy’s benefits.

-

In the end, it’s up to you to choose a way of life that makes you happy. Just don’t get suckered into the happily ever after myth if you don’t think it’s going to work for you. That’s the #1 thing you should learn from this post.

Am I saying that monogamy is bad? No. I think that spending your life with one person is a beautiful thing. But let’s not bullshit ourselves; it’s not easy and it has its dissatisfying, frustrating moments. Monogamy is like owning a business: great in principle but, as statistics show, not necessarily for everyone.

Denial is never a good thing, especially in relationships where you expect honesty and understanding from your partner. So let’s be real about what we want sexually with ourselves and others. And when we do enter committed relationships, let’s find ways to express our sexuality instead of trying to stifle it.

Maybe then there’ll be less myths and more happily ever after’s.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Billy Taylor January 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm

This is terrific, George.

I’ve been increasingly feeling that our society’s current sex/relationship-paradigm is one hell-of-an elephant in the room which no one seems to want to bother pointing out (whether out of fear of offending someone or being politically incorrect or who knows), so I’m really glad that you did and that you articulated it so well. Declaring “the emperor wears no clothes” always requires boldness.

A generation ago, women shifted the paradigm–via the feminist revolution–to better approximate their nature; I say it’s now time for a “masculine movement” to bring about a revolution for us. As men, let’s be true to our nature–to hell with serial monogamy!

Reply

George P.H. January 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm

I think “elephant in the room” is fair to say. The number of e-mails, views and Facebook shares this post got in 3 days has blown me away. But even though so many guys agree, you’re the first to comment – because it’s *that* scary to publicly agree with these uncomfortable truths.

I hope that someday soon, our sex can collectively grow a backbone and start being real about what we want. I’m not saying each man should have a harem, but honesty and understanding would go a long way. Thank you for reading.

Reply

Laura January 28, 2013 at 1:03 am

You know, what this makes me wonder about… The probability of and the consequences of the absolute prioritisation of ‘I and ‘my needs’ vs. ‘my needs in the light of the species’/society’s needs’ given the millenia of societal condititioning.

It will be lengthy but bear with me, as I think societal conditioning has altered the behaviour of both sexes significantly away from their animalistic basic instincts and selfish desires. I’ll focus only on the sexuality/reproduction aspect and won’t mix in the additional emotional anchoring that occurs in couples, who seek each other’s comfort in bad times even after break ups.

To the point right away: It’s not just men who need to grow a pair and say openly what they want. Women must do the same. Because in all honesty, women oogle other men and fantasise about breaking free from the monogamy pretty often and feel similarly guilty for it too. In addition to that, women need to be able to freely speak up about not wanting children and not getting admonished for it (yes women fantasise of not having kids or once there, throwing their kids out the window, or leaving and never coming back to their Prince Charmin and his offspring.) And that’s an even bigger ‘no no’ and taboo than male poligamistic urges. [but now's not the time for an extended rant about it]

Why I bring it up is to introduce what may seem a strange parallel, between the male’s desire for polygamous sexuality and female’s desire for the same + liberation from procreation.

The two tie, when we realise that monogamous relationships were meant to actually benefit males in ensuring that they are raising their own offspring (rather than some luckier ‘son of a gun’s kids).
[also, in the past women very often were dying during childbirth offering the males a more-or-less satisfactory rotation of perpetual monogamy with little effort from the male]

For this purpose, of making females willing to settle for an often sub-optimal partner (inexperienced virgins are unable to compare and select the best mate) and enduring the pains of childbearing the myth of ‘one prince Charming’ worth staying pure for and ‘happy ever after’ was created. This myth was, and is enforced onto girls the second they are born. It’s engraved into them through Disney, Bible, Quoran and multiple other texts and figures they encounter as they grow up. As if this wasn’t enough pressure this dreamy scenario is only a complete ‘happily ever after’ when a female desires and delivers children to her long-sought Prince Charming.

In short: finding the ideal mate and delivering his babies is repeatedly and relentlessly forced onto girls and women as the only and ultimate representation of fulfilled femininity.

No wonder then, the girl does everything in her power to stay true to this definition of perfection. Just like men are programmed to want to be what society deems a 100% man, women want to be what is portrayed as a 100% of a woman.

And the female goes mad, when the Prince Charming goes astray; goes even madder when she realises she doesn’t desire Pricne Charming either anymore and that actually the children they produced only damaged her body and obstructed her life… That the whole fairytale wasn’t worth the sacrifice… And she feels super-guilty for feeling this way, so she fights with all her might to bring things ‘back to normal’. [again, a topic for a whole other post on 'why women set out to fix broken relationships']

In essence the ‘happily ever after’ myth you talk about and see as a source of frustration for males is even harder on women and very damaging to both sexes, who are wired and enslaved to follow it despite beign frustrated and hurt by it on a very deep level.

Each of the sexes, not just males, needs to open up their minds and look further than the immediate needs of one’s dick or womb. Both sexes need to see themselves as a whole, not as a half that requires another to be complete. That’s the only way that ‘free love’ and ‘no guilt and no frustration’ can happen without hurting anyone.

Now skipping the ‘in-the-process’ explanation and why this unintentionally promotes ‘the I over the society’ effect. Guilt free, children-free sexuality will cause a significant drop in the reproductive rate and change the family and effectively the societal model. This will put our species in a new, unknown position. Is the world ready, are the sexes ready? I honestly don’t know.

Ps.
George, please don’t use ‘feminism’ and ‘feminists’ as a ‘shit-wiping’ word in your articles. There are hateful, raging and gender bashing types amongst men and women alike. Feminists are ‘women lovers’ not ‘men haters’. That’s a significant difference. I would be really grateful, if you’d find another word to describe the hordes of ‘angry, aggressive women’ you anticipate to bash you over your posts.

Reply

George P.H. February 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Great stuff, especially about striving to be complete on your own. Very interesting points.

It’s true that modern dating culture was designed for and by men. I wrote about this last month in “best way to get a girl’s number”. And it’s a damn shame that it teaches women to play up to an outdated, narrow role. The positive thing is that women seem to be making a fantastic effort to break away from all these stereotypes and change things up.

Still, a woman who really wants to break away into freedom faces way more resistance and challenges than a man. Can’t even make a good argument for anything else; the social pressure a girl faces when doing something extraordinary is huge.

Reply

Elgie R. February 4, 2013 at 2:09 am

I agree that monogamy is a social enforcement and not what men or women naturally desire. I would explore man-sharing or poly-amorous societies….there’s a lot to like in those arrangements. But we would have to legislate ways of enforcing that men AND women be responsible parents. The children of all unions needs consistent love, support, discipline, guidance. And right now, our society’s answer to stability in child-rearing is monogamous marriage.

I believe that people are only as monogamous as their options allow. The more desirable a person is sexually, the less likely that person will be monogamous.

Reply

George P.H. February 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Short, sweet and to the point :) . And your stance of monogamy reminds me of this Churchill quote: “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the other ones”. The reason monogamy will probably stick around on a global scale, at least for a while is that it’s the simplest way for everyone to be relatively happy.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: