LGBT Jealous Lover

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by NOVAJock, Jun 8, 2005.

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    Jealous Lover
    by Chuck Winston Love & Sexuality Writer
    Straight or gay, male or female, we all act about the same when we catch our partners cheating.

    Both men and women tend to be more troubled if their partner falls in love with someone else--an emotional infidelity--than if their partner has a sexual infidelity, despite one theory that the genders differ in their jealousy reactions, according to one psychologist.

    "Both men and women focus more on emotional aspects of infidelity rather than sexual," study author Dr. Christine R. Harris says. "This works against this notion that men are pre-wired to care about sexual infidelity and women to care about emotional infidelity. It suggests the genders are more similar than different," said Harris, who is a research scientist at the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego.

    Previous research by evolutionary psychologists has theorized that natural selection encouraged the genders to evolve different emotional reactions to jealousy.

    Under this view, men might tend to be more jealous of a woman's sexual infidelity because it could lead him to parenting children he did not, in fact, father. Women, meanwhile, were shaped to be more jealous when their partner developed an emotional bond to another woman, for fear he would stop providing resources for her own offspring.

    However, Harris observed, most of this work has been based on studies that only found these gender differences when they asked college students to respond to hypothetical questions of which scenario would bother them more.

    In this study, Harris recruited around 200 heterosexual and gay adults and asked them how they would respond to infidelity in theory, but also how they responded in an actual instance of cheating in their romantic past. The results were published in the journal Psychological Science.

    Harris found that when asked to recall actual instances of infidelity, both men and women focused more on the emotional aspect than the sexual aspect.

    "When it comes to jealousy, men and women both care about both forms of infidelity," she said. "They care about their mates having sex with someone else and their mates falling in love with someone else."

    Harris said her finding questions whether evolutionary psychologists have made correct assumptions about what importance infidelity had to men and women. "It raises a question if our ancestral environment was the way evolutionary psychologists believe," she pointed out. "Maybe cuckoldry or resource loss was not a major risk."

    It also questions whether there is a gender-specific reaction to jealousy, or whether all humans have a more generalized reaction. "This suggests a more general jealousy mechanism could have existed," she noted. "Maybe you don't need such specificity."

    The findings also demonstrated that the majority of the couples broke up over the infidelity, although women were twice as likely as men to break it off if their partners cheated. "Jealousy is an extremely powerful emotion and it can have strong consequences, so understanding the underpinnings seems like a valid area of study," she said. "If we think men and women are different, fine, but let's make sure (those claims) are well documented."

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