Humans Like To Theorize And Our Jealous Nature Is No Exception

Humans like to theorize about almost anything, but human nature comes pretty high on the list. We like to sit around, drink, discuss the state of the world, but sexual relationships and jealousy will grab most people’s attention.

Those with an eye to evolution will theorize that men are more jealous than women in regard to their mates in order to safeguard their genetic future. There’s nothing they like better than stamping their image across the species. There are critics who argue that if more careful measures are used in assessing both imagined and real infidelities, these differences between men and women vanish.

The game is not so simple, though, and back in 2010 Levy and Kelly threw in an additional theory,­ the theory of attachment (1). They started from the position of men being more jealous of sexual infidelity than women, while women were more jealous of emotional infidelity than men. Combing through the data they found that a significant percentage of men were more upset with emotional infidelity. This is where attachment theory comes into play and participants who felt secure in their relationships felt more jealous at emotional cheating.

Now Sagarin et al in Evolution and Human Behavior have waded in with a meta-study covering 40 manuscripts of different studies. Men popped back to the top of the list for jealousy and distress (2). Being hurt and emotionally upset showed a weaker difference between men and women.

So short of a poll conducted on Twitter, we can ease off on the theory and order another round of beer –­ men are more jealous beings and get distressed when cheated on. Women do too of course, but we men are rather delicate volatile creatures.


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