Would you consider yourself a jealous spouse? How many times have you pinched a cheek or lightly tapped a wrist because you caught your partner stealing a glance at an attractive passerby?
While it can be generally annoying to have to divert your partner’s attention back to you, a study reveals that it’s not actually a bad thing to let your husband or wife’s eyes wander.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which experiments with the “forbidden fruit” hypothesis, a person’s level of commitment may be reduced when he or she is forced to divert his attention.
As written by the researchers:“Just as people want jobs they cannot have, salaries they cannot earn, and cars they cannot afford, people may desire attractive alternatives more and desire their current relationship partner less when they are placed in situations that limit their ability to attend to attractive alternatives.”
The first experiment in the study involved 42 undergraduate students, 25 among these female. Three-fourths were in committed relationships, the others casually dating and some even married.
These participants were shown quick-flashing images of pairs of faces – one attractive, the other average-looking. After these images were shown, one face was replaced with either the letter E or F, which they were asked to press on the keyboard as fast as possible.
For some students, 80 percent of the time, the more attractive face was the one intentionally replaced with a letter in order to help restrict the respondents’ attention.
They were then made to answer questionnaires on how committed and satisfied they were in their relationships, as well as their thoughts on infidelity.
Their responses showed that those who had no idea they were actually being made to see less of the more attractive faces reported having less relationship satisfaction than those who were allowed to see them in their entirety. They were also able to recall and recognize the more attractive ones later on.
The message with this study’s findings? It’s not to let your hubby check out that curvy woman in the mall, or to not feel guilty at all for you yourself scoping out cuties in the office. The more important lesson would be to enrich your relationship with your spouse and to find more and more things to appreciate about him and to be attracted to him about, to keep your bond strong.
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• April 11, 2011. Meredith Melnick. “The Case for Letting Your Partner’s Eye Wander” healthland.time.com
• April 11, 2011. Andrea Uku. “Could Your Boyfriend’s Wandering Eye Save Your Relationship?” stylecaster.com