Sci-Tech
Wednesday Jul 27 2022
By
Web Desk

Online flirting can jeopardise real-life relationships, study proves

By
Web Desk
A representational image. — Reuters/File
A representational image. — Reuters/File

Two studies conducted by the Israeli researcher, Professor Gurit Birnbaum of Reichman University’s Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology, revealed that flirting with people online can damage real-life relationships.

The analysis revealed that people tend to feel more passionately towards a stranger they flirt with online and by doing so, they find their real-life partner less attractive and appealing.

The studies analysed how people resist short-term temptations while being in a long-term monogamous relationship. Half of the participants were partnered with a research team member who maintained neutrality in conversations, while the other half were partnered with a researcher who flirted with them throughout the chat.

During research, it was found that participants who were flirted with saw their partner in a negative light on both “conscious and unconscious levels” compared to those who were neutral in the chat.

The second study told participants to describe a fantasy following the chats. The fantasies were then analysed by judges that examined the level of desire in both their real-life and alternative partners. The findings revealed that those who were flirted with fantasised more about their alternative partners.

“Previous studies that examined factors predicting infidelity focused on partners’ personalities or characteristics of the couple’s relationship. In the current study, I chose to focus on the behaviour of the suitors, and to assess whether a suitor who is more active in expressing his interest in an individual who is already in a relationship is better able to penetrate the defence mechanisms, jeopardizing the relationship quality and stability,” says study author Prof. Birnbaum in a media release.

The study is published in the journal Personal Relationships.