|Wednesday, 23 February 2011 10:00|
Some 700 tertiary students participated in a US study which asked them to imagine they had been in a committed romantic and sexual relationship with someone for three months.
They were then asked how they would react if their partner cheated on them.
Some of the students were told their partner had been unfaithful with a man, others with a woman. Some were told their partners had had an affair with one person, others with multiple partners. Some were told the infidelity happened once, others twice.
The researchers, led by University of Texas at Austin psychologist Jaime C. Confer, found men appeared more distressed by infidelity which could threaten their paternity of offspring.
“A robust jealousy mechanism is activated in men and women by different types of cues – those that threaten paternity in men and those that threaten abandonment in women,” said Confer.
Men may also view their female partner’s homosexual affair as an opportunity to mate with more than one woman simultaneously – a viewpoint which could satisfy the male desire for more partners, the study’s authors said.
Overall, 50% of men said they would likely continue to date a partner who had a homosexual affair. That percentage fell to 22% if the affair was heterosexual.
Women, conversely, were more likely to forgive men for heterosexual unfaithfulness (28 per cent) but far less likely than men to forgive a homosexual affair (21%).
The researchers said unwillingness on the part of women to forgive a homosexual affair was likely due to the fact such an affair could be viewed as a sign of dissatisfaction with the current relationship.
It could also be seen as a prelude to possible abandonment, they said.
The study was published last month in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Source; New Zealand Herald