Instead of writing poems about how much we adore our significant others’ smile or laugh, we should start writing about how large their bank account is. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, how much green our partner makes really does make a difference in long term relationships.
While not all of us subscribe to the green trumps red in true love philosophy as this study suggests, it does hint that at least some of us want to be perceived as wealthier or more well off than our peers. The study was conducted at the University of Hong Kong. Professor Darius Chan, who works in the Department of Psychology at the school, wanted to find out how big of a role money actually plays in relationships since so little is known in this particular area. “That way people would have a better perspective of the relationships they are in,” Chan said.
In order to study the importance of green in a romantic relationship, the experiments Chan and his team conducted went as follows. The team selected heterosexual couples that were in college who had already been in a relationship for a while. Depending on which scenario they were in, the couple was convinced they were either rich or poor so the research team could study how this altered their mating behavior.
Chan’s team found that men who were considered wealthy in the study were less satisfied with their partner’s physical appearance. To this group of men, short term relationships were more appealing. Men who had less money did not exhibit the same behavior and, even more interesting, wealthy women were just as satisfied with their partner’s physical appearance.
While analyzing the second experiment the team conducted, they found that those who were wealthier, male or female, interacted more comfortably and confidently with attractive members of the opposite sex. Those that were not as rich did not have as successful interactions. An interesting observation, however, was that no matter if a man was rich or poor, he chose a seat that was closer to an attractive woman. Not as many women displayed the same behavior. Biology comes into play when a woman is in a long-term relationship because, before breaking off a long standing relationship, a woman usually has to factor in reproductive costs associated with the decision.
While long ago, choosing a mate based on certain conditions was essential for reproduction, modern day humans don’t face the same urgency when in a relationship. We are, however, still susceptible to conditional mating, just in a different form. Just because we are choosing a mate for different reasons than our ancient ancestors did, Chan’s study proves that, given a factor, in this case money, a person’s mentality for what they want in a mate changes.