Jealousy in an Online World
Imagine you and your partner are out at your favorite hangout spot with a group of friends. While separated, you notice from across the bar a mystery person approach and flirt with your significant other! While your partner eventually waves them off, the sting remains. Most of us, even the most secure of us, will feel some jealousy. But why? What makes us feel this distress even when our partner is just shown the opportunity for infidelity?
For the past thirty years, numerous evolutionary psychology researchers have investigated the gender differences in jealousy for couples. Throughout this plethora of studies by different researchers, consistent results have been found: males are more distressed and worried of their female counterpart’s sexual infidelity, and females are more distressed and worried about their partner’s emotional infidelity. These evolutionary psychologists believe it is due to the threat of a person’s evolutionary fitness: men want to make sure their genes are passed on, and women want support and security in raising their children.
New and advanced ways of interacting with people have been introduced ever since the dawn of the internet. From the days of IRC (Internet Relay Chat), to AOL chat rooms, instant messengers, online dating sites, Facebook, Skype, and online video games like MMORPG’s (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), we can see there are so many new mediums to connect to people that we never had the chance to before. But with this new technology also comes the opportunity to use it to explore prospects of infidelity. Would this type of infidelity be as distressful and jealousy-provoking as conventional offline infidelity?
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