The current research tested the hypothesis that, because infidelity entails somewhat different negative consequences for men and women, men and women display different emotional and behavioral reactions aimed at reducing the costs of infidelity. The study utilized an open-response method in which participants wrote about their reactions to an imagined infidelity. Findings suggest that, in response to partner infidelity, men display greater feelings of anger and a greater propensity for violence (particularly toward the male interloper), whereas women display greater feelings of sadness and a greater inclination toward seeking out sources of compensatory social affiliation (particularly from existing friendships). The current research is some of the first to identify functional responses designed to help women and men offset the social costs inflicted by a partner’s infidelity.
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|Published - 2008