(ORDO NEWS) — Even innocent, at first glance, flirting in chats and social networks can make a real partner unattractive in the eyes of the second half, which can lead to a breakdown in relationships. This conclusion was reached by a psychologist from Israel.
It would seem that light flirting on the side should have a healing effect on relationships in a couple. Professor Gurit Birnaum from Reichmann University (Israel) conducted two studies and came to very different conclusions.
In both of the professor’s studies, participants (a total of 130 university students) in a romantic relationship interacted online with an attractive person of the opposite sex who was actually a member of the study group.
Half of the volunteers – the control group – participated in a chat that was neutral in content, the second half – in a chat where the interlocutor flirted with them.
After interacting with a stranger, subjects in both groups during the first study reported the degree of attraction they felt for their current partner, and also took part in a task that examined their unconscious perception of a partner.
It turned out that the participants with whom they flirted began to perceive the latter in a more negative light, both on a conscious and unconscious level, compared to the subjects from the control group.
In the second study, after interacting with a stranger , participants wrote down the first sexual fantasy that came to mind.
These fantasies were analyzed by an independent group of psychologists in order to find out the degree of expressiveness of the desire of students in relation to a real partner and a virtual stranger.
It turned out that the participants in the “flirting” chat fantasized more about alternative partners and expressed more desire for them than the subjects from the control group.
Based on this, Gurit Birnaum concludes that such “exercises” can disrupt relationships in a couple and lead to a real break.
And if interaction with potential sexual partners in real life can be avoided relatively easily, then it is more difficult to do it on the Internet.
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