“It is not love that is blind, but jealousy,” according to the writer Lawrence Durrell. Jealousy is defined as a fear and rage response that preserves romantic bonds between sexual partners. Its function, it is believed, is to curb infidelity between parents, which advances the survival of their children and their subsequent reproductive success. Romantic jealously is widely understood to be different for men and women because each gender has a different level of investment in reproduction. For a man to provide for genetically distant children decreases his reproductive success — and because men are uncertain whether they really are the father of said children, they are most susceptible to sexual infidelity. By contrast, women can rest assured that they are the mother of their own children; however, they are more dependent on men for resources, making them more sensitive to emotional infidelity, since it could threaten the supply of resources for herself and her child. While many subscribe to this view, the research has been admittedly inconclusive. Now, a team led by Hasse Walum of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has broken new ground. Participants were presented with two hypothetical infidelity scenarios: “Sexual jealousy: ‘You suspect that while your boyfriend/ girlfriend was on vacation s/he had a one nightstand. You realize that even if s/he did have sex with this other person, they will probably never see each other again. How upset do you think you would feel if this happened?’” “Emotional jealousy: ‘You suspect that while your boyfriend/girlfriend was on a trip s/he fell in love with someone else. You realize that even if s/he did develop these feelings, s/he will probably never see this other person again. How upset do you think you would feel if this happened?’” They were then asked to answer these questions along a 10-point scale, ranging from 1 (not at all) to 10 (extremely). What did they find? Consistent with prior research, women reported higher levels of jealousy on both measures, and both men and women scored higher on sexual jealousy than on emotional jealousy. However, men reported greater jealousy in response to sexual infidelity by comparison to emotional infidelity. These findings square with the theory that men and women differ when it comes to the types of jealousy, that is, sexual vs. emotional. From an article by Vinita Mehta, Ph.D., Ed.M.

“In jealousy there is more self-love than love.” – François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

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