Partner insurance : women may have backup romantic partners as a mating strategy
Wedberg, Nicole A.
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SubjectResearch Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Psychology; Evolutionary psychology; Mate selection - Psychological aspects; Women - Sexual behavior; Man-woman relationships - Psychological aspects; Human Mating Strategies; Relationships; Female Partner Insurance
The science behind reproductive success is arguably the most prominent area of study within evolutionary psychology. Humans utilize a variety of mating strategies as a result of strategic pluralism (Gangestad & Simpson, 2000) which explains that both men and women have evolved with a plethora of conditional mating strategies that may be more or less beneficial depending on the context and circumstance. Recent research points to the existence of "back-burner relationships" (Dibble & Drouin, 2014) as a means to compare and consider potential alternatives in the way of romantic relationships. The current study refers to this phenomenon as partner insurance, and focuses on heterosexual women in committed relationships. A new scale called the Plan B Proclivity scale (PBP) was designed for the current study to measure the degree to which women consider their closest platonic male friend a romantic "backup plan." Results suggest that 20% of women report having some level of partner insurance, and various variables predict this including being young in age, having low relationship satisfaction with a current partner, having an unrestricted sociosexual orientation, and having a personality composed of relatively high narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy (i.e. the Dark Triad). Implications for these findings are discussed.
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