Archive for April 18th, 2005

Jealousy, Passion, Love, Evolution & Reproduction

One of the best things I’ve read in the last few years. It’s the first chapter of “The Dangerous Passion” book which tries to understand jealousy in couples, among other things. It takes a purely scientific approach to the matter (trying to research and explain everything through human evolution that spans thousands of years) rather than the easily-digested series of books like “men are from mars…”. Basically, according to the author, EVERYTHING we do, it boils down to one thing: having more children. Jealousy, passion, affairs, violence, love, infedlity, it’s all about ensuring that we reproduce, even if we are not councious of the true nature of our actions! Funny games that evolution plays with all forms of life (not just humans)!

Use this login/pass if you already don’t have a NYTimes account.

While the author is spot-on in general, I am glad that my life as a married woman does not identify to his negatives examples. My marriage is a very happy one. However, I can identify some of my… parents’ relationship in there. My father, is a very jealous person to my mother, and while I am a lot alike him in many things, I am able to contain my jealousy and not be irrational to my spouce (to my best of ability and knowledge of course ;).

What really caught my eye though, is this part of the book, and will be one of the reasons of why I will buy the book:

Think of a committed romantic relationship that you have now, or that you had in the past. Now imagine that your romantic partner becomes interested in someone else. What would upset or distress you more: (a) discovering that your partner is forming a deep emotional attachment, confiding and sharing confidences with another? or (b) discovering that your partner is enjoying passionate sex with the other person, trying out different sexual positions you had only dreamed about? Both scenarios are distressing, of course, but which one is more distressing?


The majority of men, however, find the prospect of a partner’s sexual infidelity more agonizing.


Our ancestral mothers confronted a different problem, the loss of a partner’s commitment to a rival woman and her children. Because emotional involvement is the most reliable signal of this disastrous loss, women key in on cues to a partner’s feelings for other women. A husband’s one-night sexual stand is agonizing, of course, but most women want to know: “Do you love her?” Most women find a singular lapse in fidelity without emotional involvement easier to forgive than the nightmare of another woman capturing her partner’s tenderness, time, and affection. We evolved from ancestral mothers whose jealousy erupted at signals of the loss of love, mothers who acted to ensure the man’s commitment.

How spot on! IF my husband was to cheat on me (not that I expect that of course), my problem would be if he would have an emotional attachment to her. That would kill me. But, having sex, while distressing, I CAN forgive (after putting him through hell first ;). But being in love with another woman, I can’t forgive. I would cut his balls on the spot! 🙂