I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

48. The Puzzle of Women's Acquiescence to Polygyny

The Puzzle of Women's Acquiescence to Polygyny

Polygyny is an asymmetrical arrangement (entry 46), that it is degrading and devaluing.   It is not compatible with having self-esteem as a woman being human with equal value as men.   As a rational egalitarian, it is beyond my imagination and capacity for empathy, and it is even hard to find an explanation, why women consciously chose to enter a polygynous marriage, when they have an alternative.   

Yet from the point of view of evolutionary psychology, it is plausible that the overwhelming instinct makes women accept any situation promising the most success to spread their genes.   

I can only think of one explanation for such a conscious choice:  All available men are such jerks, fools or nitwits, that there is nothing rewarding or attractive to spend even one minute in their company.  The women either have no economical choice to stay alone or they prefer to bond instead with children and to be in sisterly friendship with other women rather than be alone.   

1.  The Quality of Men

There is a fundamental difference between mating by instinct for the purpose of procreation, and the mating by rational wishes to enhance the emotional and intellectual quality of life.   
That difference is the time together.   Procreation can be reduced to getting a woman pregnant and handing her over the provision for survival, it can be done in a few minutes of contact every once in a while.  The two bodies agree by instinctive reaction to procreate, the personality can be haphazard, it is insignificant to the genes.  The couple can lead two separate lives under the same roof.  The couple might not even know, what to talk about, if they would as much as try.    They might in the extreme not even speak the same language to have healthy offspring.       

If a woman accepts for the only purpose of procreation such a man , for whom she feels nothing, who maybe is only stupid, maybe even a brute, beating his wives, demanding a lot of work of her, then it is no wonder at all, that she considers him as not even worth to want his exclusivity or to be jealous of other wives or concubines. 
The other wives become more like companions sharing a hard fate and relieving her of some of the burden.   Once I read a story about how a woman actually encouraged her husband to get a second wife, so that she would have someone to share the hard household chores with her.    I have vague collections of having read and heard more of the same kind.   

Once in a chat a Pakistani man in absolute seriousness told me, that he was searching on the web for a second wife.   He would not divorce his first wife as an act of consideration for her, and his first wife would not want to be divorced but prefers him to have a second wife.    Sometimes the web is like a time machine, I felt like talking to a caveman.  

I will never forget some muslim women, whom I met in former Jugoslavija ages ago.   In the presence of their husbands, they were docile, silent, subdued, servile.    But the moment, when the husband left the house, it was as if a switch had turned life on in them, and they cursed those husbands full of hatred.    But as far as I know, there was not even polygyny then.    

2.  Boredom

To spend rewarding interesting quality time together needs a mate, who can offer quality content.   He needs to share enough interests, and to have enough education to communicate about those interests.  Also the environment needs to offer some opportunities for intellectual pursuits.  
A couple of two intellectuals in the modern world can visit art exhibitions, archaeological sites, watch movies, read books, and spend hours every day talking about.  Both perceive this as spending quality time and it fulfils their lives.   

But what would a young couple of cavepeople have to talk about, when they sit infatuatedly staring at the same landscape and listening to the same birds, that are not romantic to them as they have been used to them during all their lives?   He can tell her his hunting adventures, but they might be similar to those dozens, of which he had told her already many times before.   She can talk about her excursions to collect berries or about some household problems, that he has heard of too often too.   Both will soon just get bored with each other.  

The ability to spend rewarding time together and to enjoy it as the focus of a relationship could only evolve with rationality, intelligence in individuals getting education and living in a society creating a stimulating environment.  

Even today, some people lacking intelligence and education get so bored, that they watch the most stupid stuff on TV all day long.   

So, while the question of consenting to enter a one-sidedly disadvantageous asymmetrical situation only concerns women, the issue of boredom is mutual.    Therefore the couple of newly wed cavepeople in their first marriage might also be too bored with each other to even consider happiness as a childfree couple.   Instead, she probably fills her boredom with children, and he probably fills his boredom with having more than one wife.  

3.  Strong Bonds with Children

There are things going on in the mind of breeding women, that will always be a mystery to me.

I have a friend, who got her third child 14 years after the second, and she freely admitted, that had she lived in a different social environment, she would have preferred an abortion.   But she also told me, that at the moment of giving birth, she had some kind of overwhelming emotional experience bonding her to this child as much as to the others.    My best approximation to this is the comparison with someone having the first shot of a strong addictive drug, that gives a great flash the first time and at that moment the addiction to compulsive self-destructive behavior starts.    The substance addict is compulsed to his next dose, the mother is compulsed to change dirty napkins.  

Also children often are used for compensatory functions, when a woman is unhappy with her husband.  In the cavepeople situation, when the man is a dominating brute and makes the wife helpless, then sometimes she might find relief by her own power over the children.