When two people enter into a relationship, the quality of that relationship is typically defined by how each person treats the other. Outside factors such as finances, children, and employment-related stresses certainly play a role, but the behavior of the individuals involved is usually the determining factor in whether the relationship lasts or not.
Science has long studied the link between hormones and human behavior, particularly in regard to how such hormones affect sexual relationships. High levels of testosterone in men, for example, have been regularly linked to attracting sexual partners and more aggressive sexual behavior. Relatively little research, however, has been conducted to examine how testosterone levels may affect other aspects of human sexual relationships. A new study from a research team in Canada sought to do just that.
A New Look at Long-Term Relationships
A group of researchers from the Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario, decided to examine the relationship between male testosterone levels and long-term relationships. Lead author and associate professor Steven Arnocky observed that increasing knowledge in this area is important “because unlike most other mammalian species, humans generally pair-bond.” While we may not mate for life, he said, we do “form relatively long-term mating relationships” and two-parent child-rearing situations.
The team measured the testosterone levels of more than 100 male undergraduates and then asked them to answer questions about how they protect a sexual relationship. Protective behavior was divided into two categories: mate retention and intrasexual competition. Mate retention was further broken down into benefit provisioning behavior—such as doing nice things or buying gifts for a partner—and cost infliction—such as monopolizing a partner’s social life and threatening other men to stay away.
The study found an indirect relationship between higher levels of testosterone and mate retention behaviors. The relationship was more significant and direct, however, between high testosterone and intrasexual competitiveness. Feelings of competitiveness against other men could prompt mate retention behaviors, but usually in the form of cost inflicting. In other words, higher levels of testosterone were linked with behaviors that focused on the relationship in terms of other men, rather than the subject’s partner.
Get the Help You Need
Ironically, certain types of cost infliction behaviors can have a negative impact on the relationship that they are intended to protect. For example, a man who monopolizes his partner’s time to prevent her from having a social life of her own can be smothering and unhealthy, regardless of the intentions. When these types of actions cause a relationship to break down, a divorce may become the couple’s only option.
If you are considering a divorce, an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can provide the guidance you need. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.