When it comes to dating, we each play to our strengths. It might be our kindness, our humour, our intelligence or our looks, but we all find a way to make the most of what we’ve got – regardless of whether we think we have much
It’s the same with online dating, as we (consciously or not) put our best foot forward when we write our profiles, but new research has found that there’s a subconscious bias that people hold when making decisions about short-term relationships, and it relates to money.
Yes, according to new research from the University of Swansea and the University of Nottingham, money is an attractive prospect in short-term flings, but not for longer, more committed relationships.
The study recruited 151 heterosexual men and women (75 men, 76 women) to look at their relationship preferences in three different environmental situations. In one, participants were asked to look at photos of 50 potential partners and indicate whether they would favour a long or short term relationship with each.
They were then shown a series of images which typically connote wealth, like fast cars, jewellery, large homes and money, before being asked to look again at the images of potential partners, once again rating whether they’d prefer long or short term relationships with them.
The results found that following images of wealth, both men and women chose more partners for short-term relationships than they did before viewing the pictures, with an increase of 16% noted.
That’s a statistically significant difference, one which wasn’t lost on lead researcher Dr Andrew G. Thomas, who commented: “Not all people prefer long-term committed relationships, evolutionary psychologists believe that whether someone prefers a short-term relationship over a long-term one depends partly on their circumstances, such as how difficult it might be to raise children as a single parent.”
“For example, in environments which have lots of resources, it would have been easier for ancestral mothers to raise children without the father’s help. This made short-term mating a viable option for both sexes during times of resource abundance. We believe modern humans also make these decisions”.
Essentially, in wealthy (resource-rich) environments there’s less reliance on partners for long-term support in raising a child, so short-term relationships can be more favourable.
It works in the opposite direction too, with people choosing long-term relationships after being shown pictures of threats, like dangerous animals.
So what does this mean for senior singles like you and I? Well, at its core it means that if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, you shouldn’t make a big deal about how much money you have. Focus on your other attributes and you’ll see more success.
For those of us without spare wads of cash to flash around, well, we have little to worry about. Regardless, the study reveals a number of interesting insights into how our brains are subconsciously affected by our environments, proving that it’s not always personal preference which lands us our partners!