Digital Disloyalty: Study Says Online Flirting Can Destroy Real-Life Relationships

Digital Disloyalty: Study Says Online Flirting Can Destroy Real-Life Relationships

(Link): Digital disloyalty: Study says online flirting can destroy real-life relationships

July 2022
by John Anderer

HERZLIYA, Israel — Some consider flirting harmless, but new research suggests flirting online can ruin a real-life relationship.

Scientists at Reichman University report flirty online interactions with someone who isn’t your romantic partner can have a subtle, unconscious effect on how that person perceives their real-life loved ones.

In other words, flirting online may lead to someone seeing their partner as less attractive.

According to the research team, this can have a domino effect, making individuals more likely to “release passionate feelings” towards people other than their partner.

If they hadn’t flirted online, study authors say, those same individuals would have been far less inclined to act on their feelings.

Maintaining a healthy, long-term monogamous relationship has always required work, but researchers explain the modern age presents a unique set of obstacles. There’s no shortage of temptations available at any given moment online, and a long list of websites to visit if someone is feeling lonely.

How do modern, monogamous couples navigate the temptations of the current day? Typically, people turn to “relationship-protective strategies,” such as ignoring potential suitors or purposely perceiving them as less attractive.

For this latest research project, study authors set out to investigate how people suppress short-term temptation in favor of long-term plans. In simpler terms, researchers examined which factors strengthen their resistance to temptation and which factors weaken it.

Chatting quickly turns into fantasizing
The team conducted two experiments in which romantically attached participants talked online with an attractive person — who just happened to be a member of the research team. Half of the participants chatted with a research member who kept the conversation casual, serving as the control group. The other half talked to a flirty research team member.

…Meanwhile, the second experiment switched things up. After talking with the “stranger,” the volunteers had to write down the first sexual fantasy that popped into their minds. A group of independent judges analyzed the fantasies, looking at desire levels apparent in each fantasy towards the person’s real-life partner and the chat partner.

Once again, people talking to a flirty chat partner fantasized more about that person and expressed more desire towards them.


(Link): Can You Tell When Someone is Flirting? Researchers Classify the Most Effective Facial Cues Including Slight Smiles and Head Tilts

(Link): Quiz: Science Finds Most Men Misread Whether a Woman is Sexually Interested

(Link): Your Boss Hired You to Perform A Job Not Flirt With Co-Workers

(Link):  Explanation of the Difference Between Flirting and Sexual Harassment is Spot On by S. Ankel

(Link): Creep Obtains Woman’s Phone Number from Her Dog’s Collar, Asks Her Out

(Link): Clueless Guys Can’t Read Women (article/study)

(Link): Romantic Comedies: When Stalking Has a Happy Ending (from The Atlantic) / Men Who Mistake Platonic Friendliness For Flirting – So Annoying

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