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Try as you might to find one, there aren’t any scenarios where cheating is justified. If you’re not happy with your girl, man up and break things off (not like a jerk; use these tips and be classy about it). But if you do slip up, new research from Binghamton University and the University College London suggests she’ll be just fine. But your new girl? She may not be so lucky.
“Our thesis is that the woman who ‘loses’ her mate to another woman will go through a period of post-relationship grief and betrayal, but come out of the experience with higher mating intelligence that allows her to better detect cues in future mates that may indicate low mate value. Hence, in the long-term, she ‘wins,'” lead study author Craig Morris said in a press release. “The ‘other woman,’ conversely, is now in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception and, likely, infidelity. Thus, in the long-term, she ‘loses.'”
To test the theory, researchers ran an anonymous online survey questioning 5,705 participants from 96 countries—the largest study of its kind to dissect the long-term effects of losing a partner to another girl, particularly across women of diverse cultural backgrounds and age.
Based on the women’s testimonies, the researchers found their thesis rang true. While a girl will suffer consequences losing the battle over you, she’ll reap some benefits. In the long run she’ll be stronger, emotionally, which can expand beyond dating and into other realms of personal development.
“It can take anywhere from 6-8 months or more to just get past the initial trauma of the betrayal, which includes nightmares or disrupted sleep patterns, intrusive and obsessive thoughts and visuals, hypervigilance, loss of appetite and depression,” says Hilary Silver a licensed clinical social worker. “However, many years later, these women often bounce back, with greater self-awareness, personal development and empowerment, and realize the experience was a gift.”
Men and women (but more particularly women) have adapted to cope better with breakups over the years. “If we have evolved to seek out and maintain relationships, then it seems logical that there would be evolved mechanisms and responses to relationship termination, as over 85 percent of individuals will experience at least one in their lifetime,” Morris says.
“And more often than not, the extra-marital relationship with ‘the other woman’ is short-lived,” Silver adds. “Very few relationships that begin in deception and betrayal can survive.”