Tactics of Mate Retention

Retention in men is positively correlated with the perceived partner's likelihood of infidelity. Men, more than women, report using resources of display, submission and argument, and internal threats to restrain their partners. Women, more than men, report using improved appearance and verbal cues of possession. Companion retention strategies cover various behaviours, from acts of kindness and resource provision to vigilance, manipulation, and violence.

Attempts to retain a partner often occur in response to a perceived or actual relationship threat. Gender and individual differences are sexist in using specific partner retention tactics, which share the same goal of reducing the likelihood of a partner defecting or having an affair. To understand the origins of these behaviourists, it is necessary to understand the fundamental processes of mate selection.

Gender Differences in Mate Retention Strategies

Retention behaviours partner is intended to prevent infidelity or betrayal by a partner. In humans, the reproductive success of offspring is strongly influenced by their ability to keep a mate. In addition, it is in a woman's interest to retain a mate willing to protect and provide for her, her children, and her family, as well as a cooperative partner. Women can achieve this by engaging in partner retention behaviours at the expense or benefit.

The benefits to women include taking care of their appearance: women refine their appearance for their partners to reflect men's preference for attractive, youthful mates. Improving appearance can take many forms, including plastic surgery, make-up, fashionable clothes, the use of perfume, and specific movements to express attractiveness. Women use these behaviours in all relationship stages to attract mates, seduce and mate, and retain mates.

However, improving one's appearance is also subject to scrutiny and punishment by other women as part of a rivalry between the sexes. Therefore, women often choose cosmetic procedures with moderate effects, not emphasizing their sex appeal but helping to enhance their prestige and status. Other behaviours that women use to retain their partners include the use of sexual behaviour and especially oral sex and simulated orgasm.

Women also use partner retention behaviours that are costly to their partners, such as punishment for threats of infidelity or indirect aggression from their partners, including retaining their partner or competitor. Although women's physical strength is lower than men's, women sometimes commit physical violence against their partners, although this behaviour is less traumatic than men's domestic violence. Women's higher anxiety, and especially their ability to determine the mental state of others and react with appropriate emotions, allow them to be effective in indirect partner-distracting behaviours and drag. These same skills and abilities help women keep their partners happy and romantic couples working as long as the relationship benefits the couple.

Strategies for Mate Retention

Using a statistical method known as cluster analysis, study authors Lopes and Shackelford identified three groups of mate retention strategies in the sample: disengagement, benevolence, and overview of the act of providing costs. For what? One reason could be that they think their romantic partner is incapable of being faithful. Such beliefs may be more common in committed relationships such as marriage.

Previous research has shown that partner retention behaviours decrease after marriage, possibly because couples feel they can trust each other enough afterwards. People who feel emotionless can also use this strategy. This is consistent with the findings of this study that members of this group (compared to other groups) are less likely to be physically intimate with their sexual partners.

Retention of Magnetic Partners

Participants in the second group, labelled the benevolent group, consistently used only benefit delivery methods; they rarely used expensive things. Retaining benevolent partners is more commonly used by people with high self-esteem and relationship satisfaction. People who enjoy the relationship, but are not afraid of infidelity, also frequently use this strategy.

Comprehensive Mate Retention

The third group, comprehensively labelled, included participants who used both benefit and cost allocation methods. These people may have added costly behaviours later, only when the risk of infidelity seemed high to them (or infidelity seemed very costly to them). Individuals who use this method are less likely to be intimate with their partners. Another group that tends to use gruelling methods is those with children. Choosing a partner retention strategy depends on many factors, including self-esteem and resources.

When people do not have enough resources (e.g. time and money), they are more likely to resort to imposed costs or unattached approaches. Gender can also make a difference. In the study reviewed today, men used interested mate retention strategies more often, while women used disengaged mate retention strategies more often.

From Vigilance to Violence

Vigilant behaviours include preventing a partner from talking to a friend of the opposite sex, providing benefits to a partner, increasing their self-esteem and relationship satisfaction and is a low-risk way to reduce partner infidelity or relationship breakdown.

In addition, research results have shown that partner retention strategies are related to partner value and affect relationship satisfaction because partner retention is a function of self-assessment of a partner's worth and a partner's value in both men and women, defined as material or genetic support transmit and refer to her desirable ability in the mating market, including her physical characteristics (e.g. lower waist-to-hip ratio in women, high shoulder-to-shoulder ratio in women than in men) and social attributes (e.g., social status, intelligence).

Direct and inciting intersex Negativists are also more likely to engage in violent behaviour with their partners when they suspect their partner is having an affair. In addition, men who engaged in partner retention tactics in the vigilance category (i.e., those who regularly monitored their partner's activities) were likelier to commit IPV when suspiciously suspected of adultery. Men's use of IPV can punish partners, prevent them from committing adultery in the future and signaling to same-sex competitors that they have the potential to inflict violence on others.

Ultimately, IPV may represent a costly sexual retention strategy that some men and women use when other sexual retention tactics are unavailable or have failed to reduce the likelihood of a successful sexual encounter partner's infidelity. Forced intercourse in a couple.

Men who found their partner unfaithful were just as likely to engage in forced intercourse as a couple. Men's use of FIPCs and other sexually coercive behaviours has been linked to their use of costly partner retention tactics such as punishment if partners threaten infidelity, emotional manipulation, insults—competitors and violence against opponents. Compensatory partner retention behaviours compensate for additional factors that increase the likelihood of a partner having an affair or running away from the couple. These factors include time away from a partner and an individual's mate value. As the percentage of time a couple spends together decreases, the partner's likelihood of infidelity increases.


Mate retention strategies cover various behaviours, from acts of kindness and resource provision to vigilance, manipulation, and violence. Attempts to retain a partner often occur in response to a perceived or actual relationship threat. Gender and individual differences exist in using specific partner retention tactics, which share the common goal of reducing the likelihood of a partner defecting or having an affair. To understand the origins of these behaviours, it is necessary to understand the underlying processes of mate selection and the adverse effects of partner loss.

Updated on: 19-Apr-2023


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