3 ways to prevent infidelity and divorce: which one do you use?
Man and woman
From the point of view of evolution, maintaining loyalty to the partner is a very good choice: women do not have to worry about who will help them raise their children, and men do not have to worry that they do not raise their offspring.
But it often happens that one of the partners, despite promises, violates marriage vows, and this can cause the second spouse not only mental suffering, but also significant material damage. And therefore, both members of the union are trying to keep the other half in one way or another, each – to the extent of their ideas about the beautiful. Sometimes these methods are very extravagant.
For good, for worse
There are two types of tactics that we use if we are afraid that our partner will deceive or abandon us. The first group can be called “providing benefits.” They carry a low level of risk for those who practice it, because when using them, the emphasis is on the advantages of relationships.
This tactic is manifested in all kinds of evidence of affection, which one of the partners provides to the other. It’s not just about flowers and gifts, but also about compliments and support – to help a partner with money or just take care of him when he is sick. The logic underlying this strategy is quite simple: the one with whom you are in a relationship will think less about cheating or breaking up if he does not want to lose something really nice.
Researchers called the second group of tactics “whip tactics”. This includes different types of so-called risky behavior. What does it look like in practice? The loss of relationships scares you greatly, and therefore you try to keep your partner from rash decisions at all costs. Deception, threats and even blackmail – everything comes to the point if your family happiness is at stake!
For example, a man is afraid that his companion may find someone better, and humiliates and ridicules her in front of mutual friends. So she will look less desirable for those who in theory could take her away.
Do we use these approaches only individually or can we masterfully combine them?
Or, for example, a woman is worried that her partner will leave her and threatens him with suicide. And a man remains in a relationship, even if they have not satisfied him for a long time, because he does not want to cause a tragedy.
So what tactics do we prefer? Do we use these approaches only individually or can we masterfully combine them?
This is exactly what evolutionary psychologists from the University of Auckland have been trying to understand, partner retention strategies. They identified three behavioral strategies based on the above tactics, interviewing 697 volunteers of both sexes. The average age of the respondents is 29 years. All of them had been in a relationship for at least three months, and on average about 6.5 years.
The behavioral strategies that volunteers used to make their partner stay close could be grouped into three groups. Psychologists gave them the names: “evasion,” “benevolent retention,” and “exhaustive approach.”
Part of the volunteers, as it turned out, very rarely provided the partner with any benefits. They almost never “spent” – neither emotionally nor financially – on a loved one. Why? One of the reasons, probably, is that these people were sure: their lovers are unlikely to “go to the side” at all.
This conviction is more characteristic of those whose relations are legal. Psychological studies show that actions aimed at retaining a partner, after Mendelssohn’s march is no longer heard, are gradually disappearing. Perhaps the reason for this is the feeling that now we can trust each other at 100%.
Emotionally distant people also adhere to this style of behavior, because they simply need less intimacy with a partner.
The participants of the second group regularly provided partners with various “bonuses”: they made surprises for them, praised them, arranged romantic dates, and so on.
The “benevolent retention” strategy is characteristic of people with high self-esteem. It is held by those who value the relationship, but are not afraid that the partner will cheat on them, and are generally satisfied with their union.
The participants who chose the third strategy alternately provided the partners with benefits and applied a “whip” to them. These people behaved risky: they scandalized, threatened, offended – only in those moments when it seemed to them that the partner was cheating on them, or when the loss of a spouse would be too serious a blow for them.
Those who adhere to such a strategy (albeit unconsciously) are less close to their partners, psychologists are sure. And just such a tactic is most often chosen by those who have children.
Look at you
We are afraid to be alone, and sometimes this fear pushes us to the strangest steps. And the choice of tactics that should help us keep our partner depends on many factors.
Many act on the basis of what resources they currently have. For example, if now we have little time or money, most likely we will step aside or try to influence our half with various types of “whip”.
And yet, according to scientists from Auckland, gender plays an important role. Men more often use the methods of “benevolent retention”, and women tend to “evade”.
We do not know which methods work better than others, but one thing is certain: awareness in relationships and a careful look not only at the partner, but also at oneself, will never hurt.