In relationships, we've come a long way from the "Me Tarzan, You Jane" dynamics of our ancestors. So far, actually, that the noted biological anthropologist and bestselling author Dr. Helen Fisher suggests we might have come full circle. Only this time the tables have turned. Tarzan, meet Jane. Or, for your pop culture context: "Me Maria, You Arnold. Care to meet with my divorce lawyers?"
In a recent YourTango interview, Dr. Fisher proclaims that we've transitioned into a "new age of relationships." This, based on the survey results of more than 20,000 people quizzed on the power of attraction throughout a lifetime. Survey: 90% Of Americans Believe Attraction Can Be Rekindled
We are, ladies and gentlemen, husbands and wives, back to the relationship dynamics honed during the hunter/gather society.
Before visions of cave men clubbing their Janes on the head and dragging them back to mate come to mind, consider this: Dr. Fisher considers this a positive change. "It's a motion forward to the past, towards the kinds of relationships we had for millions of years, on which the brain was built, on which love is built, one which more durable relationships are built." The New Age Of Relationships: Sex, Love And Attraction In 2011
As she explains it, "For millions of years we traveled in these little hunting and gathering groups. Women commuted to work to gather their fruits and vegetables. They came home with 60-80 percent of the meal. Most of those marriages were held together not for social reasons, but for personal reasons—for self-fulfillment. If women were stuck in a bad marriage they walked out. They could. They were economically poweful."
So are women today, who have now shed thousands of years of the agrarian tradition of marrying—and staying married—for social, economic and even political reasons.
Why do we get married? It's not for money, children, religion or any of the aged-old matrimonial prompts. Rather, we have a whole new set of criteria.
In the attraction survey, people chose money and wealth as the traits least likely to influence initial and long-term attraction—"Just amazing," remarks Dr. Fisher. The traits most likely to impel initial and long-term attraction? Communication, kindness, sense of humor and intelligence. Did You Know?: The Truth About Sexual Chemistry
And what do we look for from marriage today? You guessed it: self-fulfillment.
This means men like Arnold are free to hunt down new mates all they want—as men have throughout history—but new relationship dynamics mean there was little chance his primary gatherer, Maria, would be waiting around the cave for him when he returned home.
For more information, check out www.RekindleAttraction.com.
Photo via INF.