chapter  10
14 Pages

Gender Differences in Subjective Distress to Emotional and Sexual Infidelity: Evolutionary or Logical Inference Explanation?

WithRobert Ervin Cramer, William Todd Abraham, Lesley M. Johnson, Barbara Manning-Ryan

Sex-linked mate selection criteria have, more recently, been logically and empirically linked to differences between women and men in subjective distress to violations-of-trust, such as emotional and sexual infidelity. When a woman learns that her partner has formed an emotional attachment to another person, for example, she is especially distressed because she has learned that, if her partner is emotionally unfaithful he is sexually unfaithful as well. The sex differences in subjective distress to a partner's sexual and emotional infidelity were consistent with an evolutionary perspective and the alternative analysis. Gender differences in subjective distress to emotional and sexual infidelity result, according to an evolutionary perspective, from asymmetries in mating strategies pursued by women and men. Sexual infidelity is less distressing because she recognizes that "men often have sex without being in love". Men are more distressed than women by sexual infidelity because, for men, sexual infidelity serves as a basis for inferring that a partner is also emotionally unfaithful.