I have had three long-term boyfriends in my life, and each one has cheated on me. I’m sick of it. Are all men pigs, or have I just had terrible luck?
Pigs? No. But at the end of the day, humans are just animals, and Mother Nature favors animals that get the most kids with the best genes. There are a lot of ways for an animal to be successful at procreation…and some of them are pretty sneaky.
For instance, in dung beetle courtship, most males and females pair up into couples, then get jiggy in a little dirt tunnel. Afterward, the dominant male will guard the entrance to the tunnel. But while this male is pursuing a noble strategy of monogamy, there is another kind of sleazier dung beetle who will dig a side tunnel past the dominant male, copulate with the beetle babe inside, then slip out the back door undetected, like some bad insect porno. “Excuse me ma’am, I was just digging a dung tunnel and got lost.” “No problem, my dominant male is out and I’m here all alone.” “Oh reeeeeeaaaaaallly…?” Bow-chicka-wow-wow…!
Well just like dung beetles, some humans have also developed alternative mating strategies, and one of those is infidelity. While many cavemen 50,000 years ago were happy to pair up and stay faithful for a lifetime, others had a more intricate, and often effective, reproductive strategy. Here is evolutionary psychology’s take on the adulterous caveman, and his “two-pronged attack” on procreation:
Cheating caveman’s long-term mating strategy: “Eventually, I would like to find the absolute best woman I can, settle down with her, and start a family. I will protect her and provide for her, because I will need her help to raise our kids. After all, I chose this woman based on her excellent genes, which I hope to mix with my own and pass on to my children. By working together, we ensure the survival of our offspring, and our genes.”
Cheating caveman’s short-term mating strategy: “I will jizz in any vagina I see. Why not? It costs me nothing; I can go for “quality” with one really great woman, and “quantity” with all the others. If my bastard kids have mediocre genes, so what? A couple of them will survive. Those genes get passed forward through time, just like the genes in my primary kids. What do I have to lose? Bring on the cave slags!”
Of course, cavemen didn’t consciously know they were doing this, but the sexual strategy was selected for anyway…why else would we find so many cheaters walking around today? They must have inherited the behavior from somewhere. Every male who is predisposed to this mating strategy passes on to his kids this “cheater gene,” which they then use to reproduce and pass on to their kids, and so on and so on. Like it or not, that’s natural selection.
Oh what, you think our female ancestors were any better? They weren’t. While women are more associated with their long-term strategy of monogamy, they have a very specific, and well-developed, short-term mating strategy as well.
Cheating cavewoman’s long-term mating strategy: “I will find a man of the highest genetic caliber available…who can also provide for me. The good genes won’t be worth much if he can’t take care of me and my kids. As long as he can provide, I will stay with him forever.”
Cheating cavewoman’s short-term mating strategy: “While married to a guy who provides for me, I will constantly be on the lookout for men of superior genes. Given the opportunity, I will let these hot men impregnate me with their superior sperm, then not tell my husband, so that he is tricked into raising the hot guy’s kids for me.”
You might not like hearing it, but this is one of the oldest reproductive tricks in Mother Nature’s book. Cavewomen did it…and modern women do it too. Think this is too repulsive to be true? Well here’s the facts: Studies show women are significantly more likely to cheat during six days of the month…the days they are ovulating and most likely to conceive. That’s not a coincidence. In addition, women who cheat are more likely to cheat with guys who are described as “creative” or “artistic”…both signs of mental fitness. Doesn’t matter if they’re poor or unshaven…a girl is more likely to cheat with the saxophone player in the band than some investment banker. That’s because she doesn’t need their money. Just their juicy genes.
The global statistics to back this up are startling: thanks to paternity tests, researchers have discovered that worldwide, 10% of children are wrong about who their biological father is. Let me repeat: One out of ten babies has been pawned off on the wrong dad. Not all of these babies were conceived by women in committed relationships, but a lot were. Those numbers are lower in the United States, but that probably has more to do with the use of birth control and less to do with the lack of cheating.
So basically, mating is a game: Pair up with the hottest partner you can. And as with any game, there will be cheaters who exploit the rules. Men who try to increase their number of offspring beyond what they could get with just one woman; women who try to increase the quality of their offspring beyond what they could with just one man.
Of course, this all plays out subconsciously…men and women aren’t necessarily trying to conceive, or worrying about genes. In fact, if you’ve ever watched an episode of Maury Povich’s paternity tests, you know that men are sometimes downright ecstatic to not be a child’s father. But that only reinforces the fact that these urges are buried deep in our mental programming. As much as we might intellectually not want to do something, our biological hardwiring often drives us to do that very thing. Evolution works in shortcuts…you don’t need to want to pass on your genes, you just need to feel horny at the right time of the month (for women), or horny all the time (for men).
But here’s the good news: like many evolved traits, this adulterous behavior is more pronounced in some people and less in others. In other words, “cheaters cheat,” and you should steer clear of dating them. I mean, look at who Jesse James cheated on his gorgeous, famous, rich, Oscar-winning wife with. She looks like she should be waiting on line at a needle exchange.
And my all time favorite, Hugh Grant…who in 1995 was dating Elizabeth Hurley, arguably one of the most beautiful women IN THE WORLD…decided he needed a little piece of Hollywood streetwalker Divine Brown on the side. Suffice to say, most of us guys would have been happy with just Elizabeth. But for some people, instincts are beyond their control. They are just going to bang anyone, even if they’re in a relationship with a supermodel, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. They’ve got the gene.
Yes, it sucks to get cheated on. But what sucks more is that our sleazy caveman and slutty cavewoman ancestors were so good at it, they ensured we’d have plenty of cheaters in our ranks for generations to come. The only defense is learning from your mistakes…once someone cheats on you (or with you), kick’em to the curb. There’s plenty of people with the “faithful gene” in the world as well, and eventually you’ll land on one.
Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, I’ll answer them after my saxophone lesson.