Sex differences in jealousy directed towards infidelity involving an ex-partner or a stranger
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Psychologists have been largely interested in jealousy directed towards infidelity, and sex differences in jealousy mechanisms have been observed. Men experience greater distress towards sexual infidelity, whereas women are said to be more distressed by emotional infidelity. The rise of social media has provided a solid, contemporary basis to explore concepts and evolutionary derived theories of jealousy, particularly in the modern day where both past and present lovers stay connected in the online world; cyber-activity between ex-partners has previously been found to increase paranoia in current relationships. The present study displayed realistic, unambiguously sexual and emotional conversational messages to both men (n = 37) and women (n = 94), which had hypothetically been discovered on their partners Facebook account from either an ex-partner, or a stranger. Perceived distress scores were measured in response to these messages, on a linear scale of 0-10. Sex differences were not observed. However, salient findings were uncovered as women were found to be more distressed by the emotional compared to sexual messages, particularly when these messages were sent to and received from a current partners ex-lover. The results are deliberated based upon previous findings, and with consideration of relationship attitudes and domestic violence.
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