Faculty Articles


He Said, She Said: Men’s Reports of Mate Value and Mate Retention Behaviors in Intimate Relationships

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Personality and Individual Differences






Previous research indicates that men may have evolved psychological mechanisms that motivate behaviors designed to retain a long-term partner. Some of these behaviors function by inflicting (or threatening to inflict) costs on a partner who might be tempted to be unfaithful or to terminate the relationship, whereas others function by bestowing benefits on a partner to encourage her fidelity and commitment. Previous research indicates that men of higher mate value are more likely than men of lower mate value to engage in benefit-provisioning mate retention behaviors, whereas lower mate value men are more likely than higher mate value men to engage in cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors. Existing evidence, however, rests on women’s self-reports of their own and their partner’s mate value as well as their partner’s mate retention behaviors. The current study investigates the extent to which the relationships between mate value and mate retention exist when men report on their own and their partner’s mate value and their own retention behaviors. Results suggest that men’s reports are sensitive to the relationship between women’s mate value and men’s mate retention, but not men’s mate value and men’s mate retention.



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