Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Evolutionary Origins of Breakups

In recent years, many human behaviors have been examined and explained within the context of evolutionary development. For instance, love and affection are believed to function as a way of bringing and keeping two people together for the purposes of procreating and maintaining a family unit. I was thinking about this the other day and wondered if, in intimate relationships, discord, fighting and breakup also have an evolutionary origin and role? After all, recent work in the intersecting fields of evolution, biology and psychology seem to imply that most human behavior is not random, it has a purpose.

Could fighting be a way of dismantling affection and love, prompting us to separate? Compelling us to breed elsewhere, to find a more suitable genetic mate or to simply move on and spread cultural knowledge and memes elsewhere.

1 comment:

kathleen said...

Or maybe the other way around. Relationships rely on a certain amount of civility, which often leads people to overlook certain issues, at least early on. Sooner or later, though, not talking leads to having to talk or even argue. Arguments force people to not be civil and to tell the gut truth.

Either the issue can be resolved, once aired, or it can't. Enough unresolvable issues and it becomes apparent that the relationship is done.

That may mean that people who are more open/direct and not afraid to argue may have an easier time holding a relationship together, or cutting loose when it's not working. Either way, evolution is served.