When you are in a committed relationship, you probably hope that your partner is fully devoted to you both sexually and emotionally. But if the unthinkable happens and your partner strays on some level, how devastated would you be?
A recent study by Chapman University reveals that there are differences in how men and women typically respond to feelings of jealousy or betrayal. These differences relate to how people react if their partner is sexually unfaithful without falling in love with the other person, as opposed to their partner having an emotional bond with someone else but remaining true to them sexually.
Impact Of Jealousy And Unfaithfulness On Relationships
If you feel your romantic bond is threatened by another person, the impact on that bond can be profound. Whether you are a man or a woman and whether or not infidelity has actually occurred, feelings of jealousy can trigger insecurity and dramatic conflict. If one partner confronts the other with suspicions that are unfounded, the relationship can be irreparably damaged.
Threats of infidelity don’t always cause conflict. With some people, the effect can be the polar opposite. Some may use the threat as a trigger to invest more time and effort into the relationship in order to win back the affections of the wandering partner.
When either party in a relationship is unfaithful, the relationship may come to a sudden end. If your partner cheats on you on either a sexual or emotional level, you may be left utterly heartbroken. Although some couples are able to work through infidelity, in many cases unfaithfulness, whether emotional or physical, is a deal-breaker.
How Men React To Unfaithfulness
The study at Chapman showed that heterosexual men tend to be more upset by sexual infidelity than by emotional infidelity. However, this emphasis on sexual infidelity was not typically found in the reactions of bisexual or gay men.
One reason for this seems to be related to the fact that for a heterosexual man, sexual infidelity carries with it the possibility that a child could be conceived by another man, leading to paternal uncertainty. A man who knows his wife has been sexually unfaithful is always faced with the possibility that his child could have been fathered by someone else.
Another reason for men to be upset by sexual infidelity is that men equate their masculinity with their sexual performance. If a woman is looking elsewhere for sexual fulfilment, her partner’s masculinity is threatened.
How Women React To Unfaithfulness
Most women are more disturbed by a partner who is emotionally unfaithful rather than physically unfaithful. Women often bond very deeply on an emotional level and put a lot of effort and energy into their relationships. They are often devastated by the thought that their partner may have betrayed their trust and broken the emotional commitment.
How you react to unfaithfulness is affected by more than just whether you are a man or a woman. There are other factors that may come into play, including age, the length of the relationship and how emotionally healthy you and your partner were to begin with. Your reaction would also be affected by whether there had been previous infidelity in the relationship and whether you experienced unfaithfulness and lack of commitment with previous partners.
In the Chapman study, it was found that younger participants tended to be more upset by sexual infidelity than older participants. Other factors that affected reactions were whether there were children to consider and how financial stressors may have impacted the relationship. When taking those factors into account, it may not be all that easy to end a marriage or relationship solely based on infidelity or feelings of jealousy or insecurity.
The intent of the study was to look at a diverse group of Americans from many different walks of life. Most of the people studied were in their late 30s, but the ages ranged from 18 to 65.
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