Entries in jealousy (26)

Friday
Nov102017

Some Things You Know You Have Before They’re Gone

A wise man (with amazing hair) once crooned “don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. The statement’s intended interpretation is that we often take for granted the positive characteristics of our romantic partners up until the moment the relationship is lost.

But is it possible that there are some things we do know we have before we’ve lost them, and that we go out of our way to hang on tight? In a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Joshua Oltmanns, Patrick Markey, and Juliana French hypothesized just that. Specifically, they argued that people in relationships are especially in tune how their own physical attractiveness stacks up relative to their partner.1 And when an individual perceives their partner is the relatively more attractive one, they will do things, subtly and not so subtly, to keep their hotter partner all to themselves.

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Tuesday
Dec082015

Infidelity and Jealousy from an Evolutionary Perspective

When you feel as if someone poses a threat to your relationship (whether they do or not), jealousy likely creeps in. Researchers note that jealousy is characterized by fear of loss, distrust, or anger, as one is worried about losing a relationship due to a rival.1 Essentially, jealousy serves as a mechanism by which the person remains hypervigilant to protect his/her relationship from potential intruders. One common scenario which can elicit jealousy is when your partner is in the presence of available and datable others, resulting in the sense that a partner may be unfaithful.

Infidelity

In a previous article, I discussed theories of infidelity, focusing on the different perspectives offered by evolutionary psychologists and social-role theorists. The dispute between these two perspectives focuses on the difference in how distressed is measured. One approach is to use “forced choice” alternatives, which include answer choices in which a participant is to pick which is more upsetting from two pre-selected responses: your partner forming an emotional attachment with another individual (emotional infidelity) or your partner having sex with this other individual (sexual infidelity). Evolutionary psychologists have used this forced-choice paradigm to show that men are more upset by sexual infidelity, while women are more distressed by emotional infidelity.

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Friday
Apr112014

Your Partner’s Friends: A Threat to Your Relationship?

Others who could replace you in your relationship typically provoke jealousy. However, your partners’ same-sex friends can also illicit jealousy. Across two studies with over 200 participants, researchers found that partner-friend jealousy was greater for those who: (a) considered their romantic relationships more important to their lives, (b) were less close to their own friends, and (c) perceived their partner was less committed to the relationship. Perhaps for their own benefit, those experiencing greater partner-friend jealousy were more likely to put down or derogate their partner’s friends in an attempt to undermine the partner’s bonds with others. 

Gomillion, S., Gabriel, S., & Murray, S. L. (2014).  A friend of yours is no friend of mine: Jealousy toward a romantic partner's friends. Social Psychological and Personality Science (Online) doi: 10.1177/1948550614524447

Friday
Feb212014

Increased Commitment: A Curious Side Effect of Your Partner’s Wandering Eye

Close your eyes and imagine your girlfriend is working late with an attractive coworker that you suspect she has a crush on. Or think about your husband hanging out at his high school reunion with an old flame that he has never gotten over. Such thoughts probably don’t make you feel good, and you may be anxious or upset knowing that your partner was tempted by the fruit of another (or what researchers refer to as “attending to an attractive alternative partner”). It may seem like common sense that such suspicions of a partner’s potential betrayal undermine the quality of a relationship. If you think your partner has his or her eye on someone else, that would hurt your relationship, right? Well, relationship science say otherwise — it may not be that simple. New research suggests that suspicions of partners’ temptations can actually increase commitment in relationships.

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Monday
Feb172014

They’re Just Like Me: How Jealousy Influences Self-Views

Imagine for a moment that you’re running late to meet your romantic partner for a movie date. As you approach the theater, you see your partner speaking to an attractive stranger. As you wait, you happen to overhear part of their conversation. The stranger asks your partner for directions, which your partner provides happily. The stranger then invites your partner to a local concert this Friday. Your partner politely expresses interest and they exchange phone numbers.

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Wednesday
Nov062013

Do Bisexual People Experience Jealousy in the Same Way as Heterosexual People?  

Classic research on jealousy in heterosexual couples tells us that women are more concerned about men’s emotional infidelity, because if a man is emotionally attached to a rival woman, this undermines the closeness in the original relationship. Evolutionary theorists believe this is upsetting because the man may spend his time, money, or other resources on the rival, instead of on the original woman and her children. However, men tend to be slightly more concerned about women’s sexual infidelity, possibly to rule out paternity uncertainty if the couple has a child.1 But does jealousy occur the same way in bisexual individuals?

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Friday
Sep062013

Are You "Creeping"? Jealousy and Partner Monitoring on Facebook

Facebook has changed the way people share information about their relationships and the way they communicate with their romantic partners. As I discussed here, Facebook provides opportunities for people to express their relationship satisfaction and commitment, but, as we learned here, Facebook is also a forum where people can access information about their romantic partners that may trigger jealousy.1 Ambiguous posts on a partner’s wall (“Great to see you last night!”) or the addition of a new, attractive person to a partner’s Facebook friend list may incite feelings of jealousy and insecurity. In our recent research, we wanted to address the following questions: How do people respond to jealousy-provoking information on Facebook? And who is more likely to seek out additional information in response to feelings of jealousy?

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Sunday
Jul142013

Baby, Are You Jealous?

Monday
Jun032013

Following Other Women on Instagram: Innocent or Instant Trouble?

I am confused and find it hard to accept social media. I wanted to know [if it] is ok for my boyfriend to like photos of other girls and follow other women on Instagram. Is that pushing the limits in a relationship?

Thank you for your question. Research on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is relatively new. There are, however, some recent studies that can directly answer your question.

Our own Dr. Amy Muise published a study finding that social network use (e.g., Facebook) can promote jealousy in relationships, because you are exposed to ambiguous information about your partner’s behaviors.1 In your case, you don’t have a clear picture of your partner’s motives for following other women on Instagram. Therefore, this ambiguity leads to perceptions that his behaviors are a threat to the stability of your relationship.

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Friday
Mar082013

Are You the Jealous Type?

Jealousy can be a very painful and destructive emotion. People typically feel jealous when they sense some threat to their relationship (perhaps some smooth operator is making moves on your significant other, and you worry this rival is more attractive/desirable than you are). These feelings of jealousy are sometimes justified; if you and your partner have made an agreement to be sexually exclusive (monogamous), but then s/he is sneaking off to have sexy time with someone else, this is normally a jealousy-provoking situation for most people (i.e., it freaking sucks!). Jealous emotions can be agonizing and often create intense conflicts/fights between partners, and furthermore, these jealousy-provoking situations may sometimes motivate you to exit the relationship.

However, some people are prone to be jealous more often and more consistently than others, even when there are no actual threats to the relationship.

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Tuesday
Jun192012

Who's Your Daddy?

Assuming no freak hospital mix-ups, mothers can be 100% sure that a child that she bears and raises is, in fact, genetically her own. Fathers, however, can’t be quite so sure. Even if “dad” engages in vigilant mate guarding, there’s always the possibility that his partner snuck off for some horizontal mambo action with another guy. Evolutionary psychologists call this the “paternal certainty problem”— men who have been cuckolded and are unknowingly raising a child that’s not their own have failed, from an evolutionary perspective, at passing on their genes. And it turns out that a significant number of men have failed to solve this problem.

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Thursday
Apr122012

Dr. Amy Muise's Research Featured on bigthink.com

ScienceOfRelationships.com's Dr. Amy Muise's research on the link between Facebook and jealousy was recently featured on the website bigthink.com. Read the article here >>>

See Amy's SofR article about this research here >>>

Check out an interview with Amy (with link to video) here >>>

Thursday
Mar082012

Pill Use and Mate Retention Tactics: Blame the Estradiol

image source: static.oprah.comThe majority of American women have used a hormonal contraceptive. According to a recent study, women taking hormonal contraceptives, and their male partners, display more “mate retention” tactics (i.e., doing things to keep their partners from straying, such as looking especially sexy or showcasing resources) compared to women, and male partners of women, who do not take hormonal contraceptives. Analyses revealed that it was the synthetic estradiol rather than progesterone that likely causes these effects.

Welling, L. L. M., Puts, D. A., Roberts, S. C., Little, A. C., & Buriss, R. P. (2012). Hormonal contraceptive use and mate retention behavior in women and their male partners. Hormones and Behavior, 61, 114-120.

Thursday
Feb232012

I’m Watching You on Facebook: Attachment and Partner Surveillance

Facebook helps you stay connected with friends and family, but some people also use it to keep tabs on their romantic partners. Anxiously attached people are more likely to use Facebook to monitor their partners’ behaviors and are more jealous about their partners’ Facebook use (e.g., if the partner is still friends with a former boyfriend/girlfriend). Conversely, avoidant people show the opposite pattern; they monitor their partners less and feel less jealousy.

(A note to you anxious folks out there: if it will help you feel better, please don’t be afraid to spend lots of time monitoring the SofR Facebook page; avoidants are welcome too.)

Marshall, T. C., Bejanyan, K., Di Castro, G., & Lee, R. A. (in press). Attachment styles as predictors of Facebook-related jealousy and surveillance in romantic relationships. Personal Relationships.

Friday
Jan202012

Too Sexy for Your Peers: Women’s Indirect Aggression Towards Other Women

New research suggests that women who wear sexy clothing and show cleavage alienate other women. While waiting to participate in what they thought was a study of conflict, pairs of women witnessed an attractive woman in sexy clothing enter the room and talk to a research assistant about setting up the cameras. The researchers recorded responses of the women in the waiting area during the provocatively dressed woman’s presence and after she left the room. The women in the waiting room rolled their eyes, looked at the provocatively dressed woman in disgust, made negative and mocking comments, and laughed at her when she left the room. Apparently this sexy woman was quite threatening. When the same woman entered the room in khakis and a crew neck t-shirt (i.e., not provocatively dressed), the women barely even noticed her!

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Thursday
Nov032011

How Does Social Media Influence Relationships?: The Morning Show Discussion

Last Friday, I woke up at 4:30am for an appearance on The Morning Show to answer this question. Click here to see the video of the interview.

It is also a question that I and other SofR writers have explored previously. On the show, I discussed my own research about the association between spending time on Facebook and the experience of jealousy. I also suggested that, when triggered, jealousy may lead women to “creep” their partners’ Facebook pages moreso than men, primarily because men tend to be more likely to avoid relationship-threatening information than women.

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Tuesday
Nov012011

A Time to Cheat: How Situations Promote Infidelity

As any good social scientist will tell you, a person’s surroundings and environment have powerful influences on behavior. To assume that there are only cheaters and non-cheaters in the world is an oversimplification. Instead, there are situations where infidelity is more likely to occur. For example, the stress one experiences from a long day at school or at work could increase the chances of being unfaithful.  

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Wednesday
Oct122011

Sexual Strategies in Cross-Sex Friendships

Evolutionary psychologists, including pioneers such as David Buss, have yet another perspective on this type of friendship. These researchers tend to view cross-sex friendship as an evolved reproductive tactic, or “sexual strategy.” In a nutshell, evolutionary processes have created differences between men and women with regards to sex. Thus, men and women may have different motivations for becoming friends with the opposite sex.

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Monday
Oct032011

What are We Fighting About?: The Top 15 Sources of Conflict in Relationships

Relationship conflict is inevitable. To identify the most common sources of conflict, over 100 participants listed the ways that men and women could upset, irritate, hurt, or anger each other. Researchers then analyzed subjects’ responses to identify the most central themes, or common topics, in the list. Based on this analysis, here are the top 15 behaviors that can upset a romantic partner, ranked in order by the frequency each behavior was listed (from the most to least mentioned):  

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Friday
Sep232011

Is Jealousy Good or Bad for Relationships?

Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening.  ~Maya Angelou

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