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Homogamy

September 3, 2010

piscesfreehoroscope.com

What’s the most stable relationship? Women are meant to be hypergamous and yet…

… logically speaking, a largely homogamous relationship should be the most stable. Perhaps a differential where he’s a little above her in status might guarantee a woman’s loyalty but if he’s too far above you, what guarantees his loyalty and contentment?  How can the wretched commoner ever become a princess for the prince?

It’s only a rare girl who has the ability to be transformed by a fairy godmother.

In any case, homogamy isn’t just about status or cultural indices. It’s about being agreement on the important things, as Brett alludes to:

In personality-reality, or the vision of the world from inside our heads, we like to think that we can make anything work. But back in physical reality, we realize there must be actual compatibility. No, not the shallow stuff like both of you enjoying windsurfing and comic books, but the real compatibility: do you fit together biologically? Are your minds/personalities compatible?

He references this article:

Some things simply cannot be negotiated.

* You may want kids, but she does not.
* You’re religious preference is Catholic and his is Buddhism.
* You have differing political beliefs.
* One of you has a much higher sex drive than the other.
* He is a risk taker and you prefer a substantial safety net.

How do you compromise on such a huge issues? Simply put, you don’t. While minor stuff, like who does what chore, can be discussed and argued, the big one can’t and will only get bigger over time. But make sure you are on the same track about such major issues as children, finances, religion, or sex — or know in advance how you’ll compromise.

Some say the heart wants what the heart wants and you have to be flexible around that, yet is it true that we fall for those utterly different to us?

[Note: All links below only for reference to relevant evidence.]

An old study in Ankara, Turkey found no difference in homogamy between those who had love matches versus those who had arranged marriages.

Data says homogamy rules the mating game, here’re some examples:

Explains the obesity epidemic

His ‘n’ her health

However, there is evidence that we’ve shifted from homogamy as the hypergamous impulse is unleashed due to social changes: barriers exerted by social pressures simply have melted away. There’s also evidence that in certainly the educational aspect, it isn’t. There’s evidence to suggest that homogamy leads to longer-term satisfaction: for example what’s important for men is that you have the same verbal IQ and for women that you share a similar impulsivity.

An argument for homogamy as a logical natural state can be found in evolutionary psychology:

Assortative mating defined as “self seeking like” has a strong stabilizing effect on sex, is evolutionary stable, and has an evolutionary dynamics analogous to kin selection (Jaffe 2000)

[...]

This theory accepts that genetic similarity is not only achieved through familiar proximity, and recognizes that genetic relatedness may exist among individuals with no familiar relationship between them. Therefore, assortative mating of the kind “self seeking like” may achieve reproduction between genetically similar mates, favoring the stabilization of genes supporting social behavior, with no kin relationship among them (Jaffe 2001).

Perhaps indoctrinating the young with the belief that they must marry someone similar to them — and to remember that whenever they consider a potential mate — will lead them to have more homogamous impulses than what is already natural.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2010 9:01 pm

    And here I thought this blog was dead…good post Bhetti.

  2. Bhetti permalink*
    September 4, 2010 1:49 am

    Thanks. This poor blog has been neglected… but I’ve got too much in my head to keep it to myself.

    dana:

    That’s a really interesting idea; I’d definitely be interested in further research on that theory.

    And I am very shocked that 50% of those in MIT are female. Looking at their course catalogue, I’m going to assume they’re the majority in the arts and humanities — which I didn’t realise MIT had on offer — but not the other subjects.

  3. September 4, 2010 10:36 pm

    Welcome back, Bhetti!

    I’m not sure that political differences should always be a dealbreaker. Can’t express this vpery well, but seems that sometimes deep psychological similarity can be manifested in very different political forms depending on an individual’s life experiences.

    In Ayn Rand’s novel “We the Living,” the heroine Kira, a fervent anticommunist, becomes friends with the secret police agent Andrei. She says to him:

    “…you see, if we had souls, which we haven’t, and if our souls met – yours and mine – they’d fight to death. But after they had torn each other to pieces, to the very bottom, they’d see that they had the same root.”

    No question, big political differences can make a relationship more difficult, but I’m not sure they’re always on the same level as, say, whether or not to have kids.

  4. Bhetti permalink*
    September 4, 2010 11:27 pm

    David: Thank you for the welcome back.

    What a rather lovely quotation.

    I was quoting from an article there without much comment on it and, I agree with you, politics didn’t quite resonate with me as a dealbreaker. However, it seems to me as something serious to consider if you both feel very strongly without quite reaching some sort of mutual understanding and if the difference is as wide as gulfs, based on underlying differing attitudes on how you should live your life and treat others.

    I do find the idea that compatible psychologies somehow manifesting in different political forms an intriguing idea. At the basis of strong political beliefs, there’s this desire to change the face of the world, isn’t there?

    Here’s a fun example. I’ve seen someone on the roissysphere talk about how their wife was formerly liberal, but I can’t remember who it is.

  5. novaseeker permalink
    September 5, 2010 9:50 am

    My ex-wife was a liberal when I met her. I remember we had some fights about my gloating over the 94 elections and so on. By the time we were married, she was already moving rightward, and even after we split she has remained loyally on the right, even running as a Republican for a local elected office.

    Having said that, it isn’t *all* that uncommon for women to move rightward politically once they marry — in the US, voting patterns indicate that there is a significant difference between the way young single women vote (overwhelmingly liberal democrat) and the way married women vote (more split, and sometimes leaning slightly to the right). Among men there isn’t much of a difference — men lean rightward whether single or married.

    And I am very shocked that 50% of those in MIT are female. Looking at their course catalogue, I’m going to assume they’re the majority in the arts and humanities — which I didn’t realise MIT had on offer — but not the other subjects.

    The elite institutions in the US basically decide what they want their student body to look like demographically, and then backfill from there in terms of whom they accept. Virtually every elite institution wants at least 50% women, and certainly MIT gets enough applications from women to fill much more than 1/2 of the class size, so they backfill from there in terms of the desired demographic for the overall mix they are looking for. While at MIT that may mean discriminating against men, at most of the other elite institutions today it means discriminating against women so that they don’t end up with 65% or more female slant in the student body. They do this not to be nice to the boys, but because female prospectives generally don’t prefer to attend a school with a 65/35 lopsided sex ratio — it makes the campus social life hell because the relatively few boys who are around have a hugely jacked up power to rig the dating/sex market to their favor — the classic low sex ratio scenario.

  6. Bhetti permalink*
    September 5, 2010 12:01 pm

    By the time we were married, she was already moving rightward, and even after we split she has remained loyally on the right, even running as a Republican for a local elected office.

    That’s a significant shift! What do you think caused it?

    Having said that, it isn’t *all* that uncommon for women to move rightward politically once they marry — in the US, voting patterns indicate that there is a significant difference between the way young single women vote (overwhelmingly liberal democrat) and the way married women vote (more split, and sometimes leaning slightly to the right). Among men there isn’t much of a difference — men lean rightward whether single or married.

    Is that more of an influence of the shift in lifestyle or an influence of their partners, do you think?

    The elite institutions in the US basically decide what they want their student body to look like demographically, and then backfill from there in terms of whom they accept. Virtually every elite institution wants at least 50% women, and certainly MIT gets enough applications from women to fill much more than 1/2 of the class size, so they backfill from there in terms of the desired demographic for the overall mix they are looking for. While at MIT that may mean discriminating against men, at most of the other elite institutions today it means discriminating against women so that they don’t end up with 65% or more female slant in the student body. They do this not to be nice to the boys, but because female prospectives generally don’t prefer to attend a school with a 65/35 lopsided sex ratio — it makes the campus social life hell because the relatively few boys who are around have a hugely jacked up power to rig the dating/sex market to their favor — the classic low sex ratio scenario.

    It shouldn’t shock me, but it does that MIT doesn’t select for the best and that the ratio isn’t a little lower at say 40/60. I suppose though in much the same way, the boys would be happier with more girls.

    How do you know their real justification for setting a 50% in other institutions? Presumably that women are discriminated against isn’t in these universities’ official rhetoric.

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