Guarding your mate is a biological phenomenon.
And this is common among many different species and can be useful to defend territory, guarantee paternity, or prevent disease.
Mate guarding is classified as excessive or unwarranted jealous or protective behaviour towards a spouse or mate.
A new study has, however, discovered that this behaviour is more common in societies that practice arranged marriages or in cultures that place a high value on parental influence in the choice of mate for their children.
It also found that mate guarding is not an exclusively male phenomenon. Women can be just as forceful in protecting their monogamous relationships.
The current findings indicate that the occurrence of mate guarding is more prevalent in Muslim, Indian, Chinese, Turkish, Moroccan, and South Asian societies.
"In Western cultures, most husbands do not actively try to prevent contacts between their wife and other men and may even accept a moderate degree of flirting. In contrast, in many Islamic cultures husbands actively prevent even superficial contact between a female member and another man," said lead author A.P. Buunk.
"If a male cannot guarantee the paternity of their offspring, they could very well be investing precious resources in another man's offspring. It therefore becomes most important to ensure the fidelity of the female mate," he added.
There is considerable evolutionary evidence that in most societies and historical periods, marriage has been at least partly arranged and has been based on a series of familial considerations rather than on the desires of the individuals concerned.
In their article, the authors emphasized that the degree in which parents control the mate choice of their children is an important factor in the occurrence of mate guarding.
The findings clearly indicate that in cultures and social contexts in which freedom of mate choice is valued highly, the level of mate guarding is relatively low.
"If a marriage is not based on choice or love a person is more likely to become jealous over seemingly inconsequential events. This is probably because it is harder to be sure that the other person is in love with you out of their own volition," said Buunk.
The study is published in Personal Relationships. (ANI)