09/28/2015 12:29 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Is It Natural To Be Monogamous?

Are humans truly meant to be together for life? Or are people always going to be tempted by outside desires, no matter the circumstances? We had psychotherapist and relationship specialist Lisa Brateman on the show to talk with us about the state of monogamy, obstacles to commitment in the modern age, and how we can work through issues of loyalty in our own relationships.

Nothing but mammals
Being human is complicated enough day-to-day, so it's no surprise we often forget to think about ourselves as the high-functioning mammals we truly are. As much as we may try to rationalize our impulses and instincts, our feelings may be dictated by things outside of our conscious mind. Is monogamy something that is natural to our specific animal species, or is it a construct we have developed for other, societal reasons? Are we like the prairie vole, one of the few mammals that mates for life?

Lisa is no chemical scientist, but she doesn't think that monogamy is something that absolutely comes naturally. "It's a mindset," she insists. "If you want to be monogamous, if you put the importance on that, then it will happen." She knows that it's it's "easy to look for other things," and this sort of search is "very natural for some, obviously not for all,". True monogamy requires effort, especially with all of the modern obstacles to commitment.

Click here to see the full interview with Dr. Lisa Brateman.

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