Context Effects on Mate Retention Tactics

Mate retention refers to efforts to maintain Gender and individual differences by using specific partner retention tactics that share a common goal of reducing the likelihood of partner defection or cheating. Understanding the origins of these behaviours requires understanding the processes underlying mate selection and the adverse effects of mate loss.

Male Esteem and Mate Retention Tactics

Throughout human evolutionary history, men whose partners have been sexually unfaithful or who have left the relationship altogether have suffered reproductive costs. An unfaithful man risks investing in a rival's offspring and losing his partner's investment, which may result in a mother's efforts shifting from her child to the other's child. A man whose partner leaves the relationship bears many costs, including losing valuable reproductive resources, acquiring that resource from enemies, and the replacement costs associated with attracting you.

Because of these selective pressures, males may have evolved psychological mechanisms that facilitate the performance of 'mate attachment' behaviours. These behaviours may limit a woman's ability to leave a relationship temporarily or permanently by manipulating her perception of alternatives and making them feel that those options are ineffective or inaccessible. Additionally, these mating-inhibiting behaviours can alter competitors' perceptions of their mates, frighten potential competitors by displaying resources and trinkets, and directly threaten their enemies.

Permanently retaining a partner is characterized by investing time, resources, and effort to maintain exclusive sexual access to the partner through infidelity, leaving it more than committed. Simply put, these tactics often involve giving gifts or praising your partner. This can lead to a more positive relationship and boost your partner's self-esteem. This is a low-risk method of retaining a spouse. It is relatively unlikely to reverse the expected effect that offspring are likelier to be unfaithful. It is characterized by intersex and intersex postures, manipulation, and time monopoly, making partner escape attempts costly and dangerous.

Female Reproductive Success and Mate Retention

Attachment practices aimed at preventing partner infidelity and betrayal in relationships. In humans, the reproductive success of offspring is strongly influenced by the ability to retain a mate. In addition, it is beneficial for women to have a supportive partner who protects and provides for themselves, their children, and their families. A woman can achieve this by engaging in attachment behaviours to her partner at her expense or benefit. One of the benefits that a woman brings to her is taking care of her appearance.

A woman emphasizes her partner's appearance to show a man's preference for a young, attractive partner. Appearance improvements can take many forms, including plastic surgery, makeup, wearing fashionable clothes, perfume, and specific movements to express attractiveness. Females use these behaviours at all relationship stages to attract, seduce, mate, and maintain mates. However, looking good can also be scrutinized and punished by other women as part of the sexual competition.

We often choose cosmetic procedures that are moderately effective to help. A woman's other behaviours to retain a partner include sexual behaviours, particularly oral sex and simulated orgasms. As mentioned above, a woman who sacrifices her spouse also uses spousal deterrence behaviour. Punishment for threats or indirect attacks of infidelity by a partner, including insulting her partner or her opponent.

Although women's physical strength is lower than men's, women may engage in physical violence against their partners, but this behaviour is less traumatic than domestic violence from men. Women's higher levels of anxiety, especially their ability to gauge the mental state of others and respond with appropriate emotions, make women more effective at distracting behaviour and resistance in their indirect partners. It helps women keep their partners happy and bond romantic couples together as long as the relationship benefits the couple.

Personality and Mate Retention Tactics

De Miguel and Buss found that partner retention strategies were uniquely associated with all aspects of her five-factor personality model. The strongest associations were found for neuroticism and agreeableness: Neuroticism was positive with direct custody and negative intersex agitation strategies when direct protective use, negative intersex arousal, and negative intrasexual arousal were negatively associated with consent.

It was related to Devotion is positively associated with using positive signals. Extraversion is associated with negative intersex arousal, positive arousal, and overt signs of possessiveness. Finally, openness was negatively related to direct supervision but positively related to using positive prompts.

The association between the dark triad (i.e., narcissism, deception, and psychopathy) and partner attachment strategies have also been investigated. The Dark Triad aspect captures how individuals feel empowered, manipulative, and willing to take advantage of others to achieve their goals. Previous findings suggest that dark triads are associated with specific partner-bonding tactics. This includes stimulating jealousy, emotional manipulation, and verbal cues of possessiveness.

Potential Rivalry and Strategies for Mate Retention

Evolutionary theory suggests that two main variables influence mate preference. Men value traits related to reproductive value (such as youth and physical attractiveness) more than women, and women value traits related to social status more than men. Although short-term relationships place relatively more emphasis on physical attributes and sexual desires, men are more willing than women to lower their overall standards for short-term relationships.

However, some studies were unable to demonstrate gender differences. In a study of direct contact with potential partners, both men and women were more interested when potential romantic partners were attractive and had high-income potential and female partner preferences appeared to differ. However, in more natural settings, both men and women rate the same qualities in romantic partners and reported a higher willingness to use partner retention strategies in the presence of attractive and attractive competitors.

These differences are more significant for women than for men. Overall, research indicates that the characteristics of potential competitors play an essential role in determining the frequency of partner attachment strategies.


Individuals report a higher intention to use mate retention strategies in the presence of attractive opponents than other attributes. These differences are more significant in women than in men. Overall, studies have demonstrated that a potential competitor's attributes are essential in determining the frequency of mate retention strategies.

Updated on: 19-Apr-2023


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