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The attachment style we have with our parents may influence the pattern of jealousy experienced in later life. Individuals with secure attachment are said become jealous once they perceive their relationship is under threat but not before. Whilst anxiously attached people might how the opposite pattern and avoidant individuals may be less likely to be jealous but can display more jealousy related behaviour (Richter 2022). An investigation of Dutch people found securely attached people were less jealous than the avoidant type and then the anxious-ambivalent type (Buunk 1997).


When people were asked whether cues of sexual or emotional infidelity would be more likely to provoke jealousy in them, those who were likely to dismiss close attachment to their partner tended to be upset by sexual betrayal, while those who had close attachment to their partners tended to be upset by emotional betrayal (Levy 2009). Those with avoidant-attachment types are more likely to cheat, with this type of attachment style being equally common in men and women (Pelletier 2008). People who have insecure attachment styles tend to have a lack of emotional experience, and tend not to be close to other people, to function more autonomously and are likely to be sexually active, especially the males.


The dismissing attachment style maybe be associated with more distress to sexual infidelity and short-term mating. When the attachment style of students, together with their reactions to jealousy, were measured. Those with the dismissive attachment style experienced more distress from sexual infidelity, while the securely attached were more distressed by emotional infidelity. After controlling for attachment style there was no sex difference in secure attachment but a large male predominance when it came to dismissive attachment (Levy 2010).


Those with anxious attachment patterns tend to monitor their partners more often using the variety of behavioural styles as well as having trust issues. An investigation of trust, jealous and attachment patterns in students found jealousy was associated with abuse as well as with anxious attachment. There was a negative relationship between trust and jealousy, i.e., those who did not trust their partner were more likely to be jealous, especially in those with high anxious attachment. Those with greater levels of mistrust were more likely to psychological abuse their partner if they rated high in anxious attachment (Rodriguez 2015).


Attachment style was looked at in students and information was gathered about relationships. In women, scores for avoidant attachment were inversely proportional to how many long-term relationships formed. Anxiously attached women favoured brief liaisons. Anxiety scores was associated with number of partners in the last 12 months (Schmitt 2008).


The absence of a father while growing up can alter later sexual behaviour of children, e.g., boys are more masculine, and female engage in intercourse earlier. This may relate to knowing that there is a lack of parental investment, that others are untrustworthy, and resources may be scarce (Belsky 1991). Early psychosocial stresses have seen has been associated with earlier, more frequent mating’s, etc. A study looking into early psychosocial stress, found this was associated with have sex with single people in males only. Both conditions were associated with more psychosocial stress, though men who slept with an attached person tended to have less stress than men with who slept with single people only (Koehler 2007). Parental attachment style may have an impact on jealousy related behaviours in that if children see violence in their parents, it can reinforce this pattern in them (Munusamy 2022).


Personality - Our personality types are important in our experience of jealousy. A review of students assessed their jealousy and personality. Of these 27% were classed as normal, 20% as extrovert, and well-adjusted formed 20%. Some 9% were neuropaths, 6% were psychostenics, 2% were psychopaths and 15% were introverts. There were higher levels of jealousy with the neuropathic, psychostenic and psychopathic personalities. There were lower levels of jealousy in those with an extrovert personality, the introverted and well-adjusted personality types (Korczynski 2004). Surgency and openness to experience in women is associated with male poaching. Women high in surgency and extroversion are more likely to have commitment-free mating’s (Goetz 2005). A study again investigated heterosexuals and found the big 5 personality factors were not related to jealousy (Wade 2008). Successful relationships are associated with low neuroticism, as was high agreeableness and conscientiousness (Richter 2022).


Personality traits that may be associated with short term mating include impulsivity. Also, extroversion, low agreeableness / conscientiousness for both sexes, where extroversion is associated with short term mating, a willingness to be poached and having more than 1 partner. High neuroticism in North American women and low openness in Europe and Middle Eastern women (but neuroticism and openness are less consistently related to short term mating). Females with high extroversion / neuroticism / openness and males with low agreeableness / conscientiousness / neuroticism may predict short term mating. (Schmitt 2008).


Extraverts tend to have more sexual partners, to have sex at an earlier age and to be unfaithful. Neuroticism is associated to dissatisfaction with sex, marital distress, permissive attitudes and sexual risk-taking (to reduce anxiety or being unable to resist sexual impulses). Traits linked to low agreeableness and low conscientiousness may be associated with risky sexual behaviour. An investigation of how personality characteristics was related to infidelity and sexual activity in fifty-two countries found the following. In North America low agreeableness was correlated with infidelity and to a lesser extent with promiscuity. Conscientiousness was negatively related to infidelity and to a lesser extent to promiscuity. Extraversion led to more promiscuity. Neurotic women felt that they were more unfaithful. Men low in openness often performed risky sexual behaviour. In the rest of world there was a more variable pattern. Low conscientiousness was associated with infidelity in all cultures and more so than promiscuity. Low agreeableness was associated with infidelity, except in South American women. In African men and South American women, the link to sexual promiscuity was stronger. Extraversion was associated to promiscuity, except in Africa and South and East Asia, with a smaller correlation with relationship infidelity. Neuroticism was associated to subjective ratings of unfaithfulness but only in South / Southeast Asians, African men, and North American women. But neuroticism was not related to sexual promiscuity, except for African men. Low openness was associated to infidelity in males in Eastern European, South / Southeast Asian, and North American men and women from Oceania and South / Southeast Asia. But high openness was associated with infidelity in Eastern and Southern European women (Schmitt 2004).


An investigation of personality in those who admitted being unfaithful found that on self-report measures, males were more psychopathic, and made more mating efforts, had lower agreeableness and desirability. Affairs were more likely in those with primary psychopathy, low agreeableness, and higher mating effort. Socially dominant men and less socially dominant women tended to have more affairs, manipulation was higher in males and those who had strayed. Unfaithful males scored higher in extraversion and lower in neuroticism / agreeableness / conscientious and appear to be socially desirable. Unfaithful women tended to be lower in extraversion / conscientious / agreeableness and high in neuroticism (Egan 2004).


It has been suggested that the main personality factor associated with romantic jealousy is neuroticism. A review of hospital staff and students who were in relationships found that jealousy was non-significantly correlated with neuroticism, moderated by relationship length and status. There might have been greater jealousy in short relationships (Melamad 1991). A matched sample of females and males found jealousy was related to neuroticism (as well as anxiety and low self-esteem), with females tending to show lower self-esteem (Buunk 1997). Within relationships there is a small positive correlation between the jealousy felt by them both, as well with neuroticism amongst other (Dijkstra 2008).


Marriage is a common cultural setting for jealousy and one study investigated people in the first year of marriage. Alcohol was correlated with levels of flirting, but the degree of religiosity was not. Women married to a man of a higher mate value, rated the risk of infidelity for themselves and their husbands as high. Men whose wives were low on emotional stability or women with low levels of conscientiousness were more likely to flirt, date, etc. Women who rated low on agreeableness, high on narcissism, men who were high in openness and intellect and people of both genders high on psychoticism were more likely to be unfaithful. People felt their partners were more likely to cheat if their wives were moody, withheld sex from them, sexualised others or if their husbands’ sexualised others, were moody or emotionally cold. Husbands who were possessive and jealous tended to have wives who rated their own potential infidelity higher, while husbands and wives who were unhappy and had a poor sex life were also likely to have higher levels of anticipated infidelity (with the husbands also predicting this of their wives) (Buss 1997b).


There may be a negative correlation between relationship stability and jealousy, i.e., people’s own jealousy undermined the relationship stability. But relationships were felt to be stronger if their partner reassured them or made the jealousy worse. Looking at actual relationship stability, relationship stability was correlated with the partner’s level of jealousy, but not when relationship length was controlled for (Sheets 1997). Results may be in keeping with jealousy reflecting our confidence in the relationship, so if we do not expect the relationship to last then we are less likely to feel jealous, but as long as we feel our partner is jealous then this shows commitment and would raise the expected levels of stability.


Male dominance may be geared to achieve social dominance, bringing enhancement in reproductive fitness. Studies on female dominance are more inconsistent, perhaps because males show dominance physically and females show it socially, and it seems that these two ‘poles’ seem to attract each other. Some suggest that the less physically attractive a woman is, the more likely she is to express female dominance. A study of Canadian undergraduates who were given a paragraph and a photo about individuals.  In the workplace, low ranked males were seen as less powerful than low ranked females. For equally ranked people, males were rated as more powerful. Interestingly low ranked males were seen as more powerful in recreation settings, but high ranked males were seen as more powerful in work settings. Power ratings for equally ranked men and women and rookies were equal in the work / recreational place. From the recreational context, dominant females were rated higher than low-ranked females. Female targets were likely to be asked out to parties and the gym. Participants tended not to want to go out with subordinates or superiors in the work setting but they would in a recreational setting. So, mate choice probably did not depend on dominance rank, but it may have done in terms of socialisation. So, the influence of rank varies with social context with structured environments inhibiting freer expression of mate choice based on dominance. The situation is also affected by behaviours, perceived authority, respect for others, etc, and these all probably affect mate choice. It then makes sense that such factors may influence jealousy (Honey 2009).


Males tend to over-perceive women’s sexual interest, but women tend to perceive less of a commitment from men. Men may overestimate their partner’s past infidelity and may be more suspicious regarding reporting the future infidelity of their partner. They were also more likely to admit to possible future sexual infidelity (Goetz 2009). Less attractive men may be more jealous when their partner is most fertile, and this is complemented by the fact that their partners are more likely to have other encounters with better quality men (Brewer 2009).


Reproductively fit males tended to marry young, have other couplings with women when the risk was low, tended to be resource rich, be of high status and so historically there probably is a low chance of these males being single. This contrasts with modernity with many unattached males. People of similar mate value tend to get together (Buss 2008). There may be 2 types of males: the CAD, who is dominant, risk taker, aggressive, rebellious and the DAD who is compassionate, kind, hardworking and willing to invest in the long term, which may be associated with short- and long-term mating’s. With personality traits that attract women looking for short- or long-term mating’s respectively. The former may be due to the absence of a father, produced in part by insecure attachment which may be found in hazardous environments. Women who grow up without a father also show early sexual onset, problems in forming long term partnerships, early menarche and more offspring (Kruger 2008b).


Female nonverbal cues of attraction include eye contact, looking away, special ways of holding themselves, walking and quality of movements, with males approaching them more often if they display these behaviours. Men with a low digit ratio (2nd to 4th digit) were rated as more attractive and seen as more fertile (Hugill 2010). Some say the ‘fixed’ form can last a lifetime in poorly integrated, timid, sexually inexperienced dependent women who choose a normal lover. The ‘recurrent’ group often resemble the primary form and have recurrent erotomania with lovers being powerful and tend to occur in sexually aggressive women and can choose another person in a few months (Jordan 1980).


It is well-known that women who are considered attractive are often the victims of verbal rumours from other females, from an evolutionary point of this can reduce the competitive value of these females by lowering their self-esteem and hence their access to high statue males is reduced. Victimised females tend to have sex earlier with more short-term partners but fewer long term sexual partners, with the consequent increase in reproductive potential of those perpetrating the Intrasexual aggression. With victimised males tending to have fewer sexual contacts and they drop down the social hierarchy with a consequent loss of access to resources. Females and males with higher self-esteem tend to resistant to the effect of this (White 2010).


Female mating behaviours also vary according to context, those engaging in short term mating favour physical attractiveness and those engaging in long term mating favour resource potential. Both sexes vary their mating practices according to sex ratios, societal ideals, age, phase of menstrual cycle. Females may be attracted 4 sets of fitness indicators (Buss 2008, Dewall 2008):


  1. Good gene indicators e.g., masculinity, intelligence, symmetry, etc.

  2. Good investment ability e.g., income, social status, education, etc.

  3. Good parenting indicators e.g., wanting children, emotional stability, understanding, etc.

  4. Good partner indicators e.g., loving, loyal, emotional stability, etc.


An interesting view of why human pregnancy goes unnoticed early on is that it may be designed to fool men into believing that they are the father of the child, because they cannot know that they may not be the father as men do not know when conception has occurred. This is supported by the fact that a study of 2,708 females found 13.8% of them had sex outside of the relationship after in-pair copulations and rarely the other way round (Grammer 2005). So female infidelity may be enhanced by hiding pregnancy and this possibly encourages the appearance of mate retention behaviours by males.


Proprietariness is where we claim some resource do with as we see fit. Many men claim proprietary rights over women and having children may allow both parents to see their interests as shared, which might reduce the risk of extra-pair copulations (Wilson 1992). Trespass may lead to attempts to gain support or to produce hostility toward others. Males can be violent when their partners leave with triggers to such violence being commoner at times of high fertility, the presence of rivals, cues of male rival attractiveness, number of males around, etc. Many of these vary with culture and the reproductive value of the individuals concerned (Wilson 1995). Violence to the partner is often highest in the 15 – 25 year old age group, with evidence suggesting up 35% experience violence and more experiencing emotional abuse, with this being higher in those with insecure attachment (Rodriguez 2015).

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