Women tend to get more upset than men on discovering an emotional infidelity-related message about their partner on social media, says a study.
Men felt more distressed at their partners’ sexual rather than emotional infidelity on social media, the findings, led by researchers from the Cardiff Metropolitan University in Britain, revealed.
Women, however, were more upset than men in response to emotional messages.
Women were also significantly more upset when a potential rival had written the message, compared to when it was composed by their own partners.
For men, the opposite seemed to be true and they appeared to be more upset by imagining that their partner sending rather than receiving an infidelity-revealing message.
But, irrespective of the contents, women were overall more upset than men when they discovered an infidelity-related message, the researchers said.
The study, published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, emphasised the importance of understanding the mechanisms that are underlying jealousy, and how it plays out in the digital age.
Real or suspected partner infidelity that causes sexual or emotional jealousy is often given as the reason for domestic abuse and violence, the researchers noted.
“Applying an evolutionary perspective to understanding the manifestation of jealous behaviour and how infidelity-related anger can trigger partner dissolution and domestic abuse may help counteract inevitable rises in such behaviours in an age where clandestine extra-marital relationships are facilitated by modern forms of media technology,” said Michael Dunn from Cardiff Metropolitan University.
For the study, the team included 21 males and 23 female undergraduate students who were shown imaginary Facebook messages, revealing that their partners had been either emotionally or sexually unfaithful.