A new research by a psychologist from University of Texas at Austin has shown that men are more than twice as likely to continue dating a girlfriend who has cheated on them with another woman than one who has cheated with another man.
Women show the opposite pattern. They are more likely to continue dating a man who has had a heterosexual affair than one who has had a homosexual affair.
The study provides new insight into the psychological adaptations behind men's desire for a variety of partners and women's desire for a committed partner. These drives have played a key role in the evolution of human mating psychology.
"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 Jaime C. Confer, the study's lead author and a doctoral candidate in evolutionary psychology.
The researchers asked 700 college students to imagine they were in a committed romantic and sexual relationship with someone they've been dating for three months. They were then asked how they would respond to infidelity committed by the imagined partner.
ome participants were told their partners had been unfaithful with a man, others with a woman. Some were told their partners had an affair with one person, others with multiple partners. Some were told the infidelity happened once, others twice.
Regardless of the number of episodes or partners, the study found that:
Overall, men demonstrated a 50 percent likelihood of continuing to date a partner who has had a homosexual affair and a 22 percent likelihood of staying with a woman after a heterosexual affair.
Women demonstrated a 28 percent likelihood of continuing to date a boyfriend who has had a heterosexual affair and a 21 percent likelihood of staying with someone who has had a homosexual affair.
The findings suggest men are more distressed by the type of infidelity that could threaten their paternity of offspring. Men may also view a partner's homosexual affair as an opportunity to mate with more than one woman simultaneously, satisfying men's greater desire for more partners, the authors say.
The study has been published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.