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Money really does matter in relationships

Money has a significant impact on romantic relationships, finds a new study from China. Our romantic choices are not just based on feelings and emotions, but how rich we feel compared to others.

Two experiments were performed on groups of Chinese college students already involved in heterosexual long term relationships. The couples were made to think they were either wealthy or poor in order to examine how their financial situation affected their relationship behavior.

In the first study researchers observed that wealthy men, when less satisfied with their current partners' physical attractiveness, were more more likely to pursue short-term relationships. By comparison, men who were made to feel they had less money, did not pursue other relationships.

Women who felt wealthy did not make higher demands on a man's physical appearance.

All wealthy participants in the second study found it easier to interact with an attractive member of the opposite sex, as compared to those belonging to a financially disadvantaged class. Interestingly, more men than women from both wealthy and poor financial conditions — selected a seat closer to more attractive people.

"We saw that wealthy men attach more importance to their mate's physical attractiveness than men who had less money. They set higher standards and preferred short-term relationships to the longer relationships of men with less money.

However, for committed women, more money can lead to less variation in their dating strategies. For women, losing a long-term relationship generally has a higher reproductive cost."

Darius Chan, Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

From an evolutionary perspective, mating strategies more than likely helped our ancestors maximize their reproductive success. More hunting success would mean more nutrition for the children and extended family members.

However, by looking at how people reacted when they thought themselves to be wealthy or poor supports an evolutionary psychology hypothesis — that individuals adopt mating strategies in response to environmental conditions such as the amount of money possession.

Even though the study was applied in China to Chinese couples, these same psychological mechanisms still play an important roles in all human matings. Says Chan: "It still remains an empirical question to be answered, but we expect our findings exist in other cultures as well. The basic mechanisms of mate selection are found to be rather similar across cultures."

The study is published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Given its ubiquitous presence in daily life, money has been found to exert a significant impact on our romantic relationships. The current studies focused on mating strategies and explored how money induces individuals' mating decisions in long-term and extra-term contexts under the framework of evolutionary psychology. Findings from our two experiments reveal that the feeling of having relatively more or less money could cause differences in mating strategies, implying that people may adjust their strategies to environmental conditions. From the perspective of evolution, these conditional mating strategies serve as solutions to the adaptive problems our ancestors faced in ancient times. These psychological mechanisms still play important roles in human mating. The practical implication of our findings is to remind people to pay attention to the potential changes brought about by changes in the amount of money they possess. In the discussion about relationship problems and solutions, the influence of money could be considered seriously. There is no harm in being vigilant when great changes take place in family or societal economics.

Authors: Yi Ming Li, Jian Li, Darius K.-S. Chan, Bo Zhang

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Jun 1, 2016   Fetal Timeline   Maternal Timeline   News   News Archive   

Researchers observed that wealthy men, when less satisfied with a partners' physical attractiveness,
were more more likely to pursue short-term relationships. By comparison, men who felt they had
less money, did not pursue new partners.
Women who felt wealthy did not make such demands.
Image Credit:
Public Domain



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