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Women's concerns about infidelity weren't as affected by their partner's gender. Of women dating women, 25 percent said the sex would bother them more than the emotional infidelity, the same answer given by 17 percent of women dating men. The researchers reported the results online April 9 in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Sexual and emotional jealousy aren't mutually exclusive, of course — that would lead to a world where women didn't mind at all that men spent all day having sex with other women as long as they came home at night, Scherer said.

Forcing people to make a choice about which bothers them more can illuminate intriguing gender differences , though, he said. The bisexual participants' answers support the idea that a threat to reproduction helped lead to the evolution of jealousy, Scherer said. A man dating a man doesn't have to worry about accidentally raising another man's baby if his partner gets pregnant.

But if that same man is dating a woman, he can't be entirely sure that any baby she has is his, which could have led to more anxiety about sexual fidelity. One limitation of the study is that it didn't take into account the gender of the person the partner was cheating with, Scherer said. That person's gender could complicate matters — for example, a man whose female partner cheated with another woman wouldn't have to worry about a surprise pregnancy, so perhaps emotional jealousy would become more important.

Scherer also said he wants to extend the research over time.

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If the reproductive threat hypothesis is correct, a bisexual man dating a man will be more concerned about emotional fidelity, but if he breaks up with his male partner and starts dating a woman, his concerns should flip, with sexual jealousy becoming more prominent. Other research has lent credence to the idea that jealousy depends on relationship type. Couples in polyamorous relationships, in which non-monogamy is consensual, report happiness for their partners rather than jealousy when they find others to love.


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And studies show that in those relationships, men and women don't show the typical gender schism between sexual and emotional jealousy. Original article on LiveScience. Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics.

Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. We didn't recognize that password reset code. We've sent you an email with instructions to create a new password. Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?

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