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What drew three women to bear Elon Musk children besides his wealth? Women’s reproductive priorities explained

July 23, 2022 GMT

Tesla founder Elon Musk ” the world’s richest man ” has nine children with three women, part of his bid to rescue our planet from an impending “population collapse”. He has suggested others should also do their bit for the human race, as the effects of our dwindling population will be felt in less than 20 years’ time.

In this column, we are not going to debate the billionaire’s controversial claim. Instead, we will examine how women choose reproductive partners. Aside from Musk’s obvious wealth, we should not overlook the fact that there are many other determinants in choosing a mate.

Sonia Samtani, a clinical hypnotherapist, life coach, and relationship and wellness coach, says our choices are influenced by unconscious patterns. This means we can break these patterns, should we wish to.

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“The unconscious programming causes us to make choices that are familiar to us. A common example is women choosing partners with traits reminiscent of their father, be it their generosity or temperament.”

Samtani says women tend to expend more energy selecting a partner as, biologically, they invest more time and energy in the reproductive process than men. Therefore, they are subconsciously drawn to qualities representing longevity and strength to ensure survival, such as intelligence, stability and maturity, she says.

“Even though women are not dependent on men, subconscious patterns may still prevail. There is a deeply ingrained association of a ‘man’ needing to be the provider, which still affects many heterosexual women,” Samtani says.

If a woman has grown up with a dysfunctional family structure, they may look for the opposite to how they’ve been brought up, which is why so many people from unstable backgrounds look for stability.

“When we are deprived of something, we unconsciously pick partners that ‘make up’ for our flaws, which is why opposites attract,” she says.

The concept of “opposites attract” applies in many more ways. For example, introverted individuals seek out an extroverted partner (and vice versa).

When it comes to men, Samtani says they are less selective than women, as they can biologically parent more children in a lifetime. This biological impulse can have an impact on their sexual behaviours and subconscious selection of a reproductive partner.

“Many studies show that men think about sex more often and their focus is geared towards ‘spreading their seed’ and gaining more sexual partners. This means their subconscious selection criteria can veer them towards women who are more sexually attractive.”

Just as women tend to be drawn towards men like their fathers, men subconsciously choose women who exhibit a similar love language to and share core values with their mother.

In many Asian families, the first male often feels pressured to produce an heir to continue the family legacy. This causes them to pursue a woman who is younger (i.e., more fertile) so that they can start a family and ensure their lineage remains intact.

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“A man looking to have children is more likely to look at the age of their partner than a woman would,” says Samtani.

On the question of whether it is acceptable to have a relationship mainly based on the goal of having children rather than a long-lasting romance, Samtani offers some insights.

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“From a therapeutic point of view, this arrangement is considered a form of ‘triangulation’ ” when two people are unable to sustain an emotionally stable relationship and thus seek a third party to stabilise it.

“When parents get together only for the sake of children, it can have damaging effects on all parties and makes parents position the child as the glue binding them together. In turn, this puts pressure on a child to be the mediator and take on a responsibility that is beyond them.”

In these cases, it is not uncommon for parents to keep bringing the child into their issues with their partner; there is not much of a relationship without the child’s presence.

Samtani explains that children who become the “glue” in such a relationship may find it hard to become independent of their parents and have their own needs in the future. As a result, they tend to remain emotionally entangled with the family and the family’s issues.

But she adds: ” In any relationship, no matter how loving, it is common for romance to take a back seat when children come into the picture. It is also natural for the focus of a partnership to change as more time is spent tending to children. Yet the advice would still be to create some space for the relationship.”

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If partners are struggling to reconnect, then they both need to dedicate time to creating “space” for nurturing their emotional connection. This means creating boundaries for quality family time and for your partner, she says.

Luisa Tam is a Post correspondent who also hosts video tutorials on Cantonese language that are now part of Cathay Pacific’s in-flight entertainment programme

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia. For more SCMP stories, please download our mobile app, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

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