Are You Meant to Be a Bachelor?
By: Abby Lerner
If the thought of being in a committed relationship makes you break out into a sweat, there's nothing wrong with you—you may just be programmed to be single.
Swedish researchers looked at variants of a particular gene—the “monogamy gene”—that encodes for a hormone called vasopressin and found that one of these variants (or a lack thereof) is associated with a distinctive kind of pair-bonding behavior in men. The findings suggest an explanation for why some men commit to monogamous relationships while others have a hard time shaking their frat-house habits.
Men who carried only one copy of the “monogamy gene” were more likely to be unmarried or to report some form of marital crisis within the last year, compared to similar men without the gene. Those with two copies of the variant were more than twice as likely to have a dysfunctional marriage, according to the study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
More than 500 same-sex twin pairs and their spouses or partners of at least 5 years participated in the study and were given tests to determine how bonded they were to each other. Researchers asked questions such as whether the subjects were put off when people came too close, how often the couple did things in common outside the family, and whether either partner had spoken with a close friend about divorce, separation, or marital crisis. Overall, those with the monogamy gene scored lower on the bonding test.
This study adds to previous research done on voles, small rodents often studied for their human-like social qualities, such as picking a mate for life. The researchers cite a vole study which found that the more bonded and social prairie vole has a genetic makeup that differs from their less social and more sexually adventurous cousins, the montane and meadow vole.
So there's scientific data to back it up: Some guys just truly aren't the relationship type....