Is Adultery Natural?

By | November 10, 2010
Virginia family law adultery

“Thank You, May I Have Another?”

David Barash of the Los Angeles Times recently commented, “[r]ight wing pro-family advocates are correct, monogamy is definitely under siege.” But, he cautions his readers not to “blame radical feminists, gays, or godless communists.”  “The culprit is our own biology.”  Is adultery natural?  Researchers of animal behavior have long understood that “monogamy is uncommon in the natural world,” and a growing body of research indicates that “Homo Sapiens carry all the evolutionary stigmata of a mildly polygamous mammal.”  Before legions of lovers cheer “I told you so,” however, they should keep in mind that “natural isn’t necessarily good.”  [Think tsunamis or testicular cancer.]  The point is, some of the most satisfying human accomplishments, from mastering a musical instrument to scaling a mountain, don’t come naturally, but require dedication and hard work.  Barash concludes, “[a] case can be made, in fact, that people are being maximally human when they do things that contradict their biology.”  For its part, among other things, monogamy can foster an ever-deepening intimacy between partners and stabilize a family.  “To be sure, monogamy isn’t easy; nor is it for everyone.  But anyone who claims that he or she isn’t cut out for monogamy misses the point.  No one is.”

Lest you forget, monogamy is an important part of marriage and, though there are certain defenses to a claim of adultery, “it just feels natural” is not among them.  Adultery’s position atop the list of causes for fault-based divorces is not likely in jeopardy.  As a divorce lawyer, I frequently meet with clients – both men and women – who have been unfaithful or believe their spouse has been unfaithful.  If you would like to learn more about how the issue of adultery may inform your divorce proceeding, please feel free to give me a call.


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