Romantic Jealousy and Sexual Conflict

Achim Schützwohl

in The Oxford Handbook of Sexual Conflict in Humans

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195396706
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Romantic Jealousy and Sexual Conflict

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This chapter is concerned with sexual conflicts in romantic jealousy. An outline of the indispensable ingredients and boundaries of romantic jealousy is followed by a description of the functioning of the psychological mechanisms underlying romantic jealousy. This description is guided by (a) evolutionary psychological assumptions about emotions in general, and (b) two conceptually important distinctions concerning romantic jealousy. The first distinction refers to whether the partner’s infidelity is merely suspected or has actually occurred. Following Parrott (1991), the two variants of the jealousy mechanism are referred to as suspicious and fait accompli jealousy. The second distinction refers to the nature of the infidelity and its implications for men’s and women’s reproductive success. An evolutionary view of romantic jealousy suggests that a partner’s sexual infidelity is more threatening to male than female reproductive success, whereas emotional infidelity poses a greater threat to female than male reproductive success. Some suggestions for future research on romantic jealousy conclude this chapter.

Keywords: romantic jealousy; evolutionary psychology; sexual conflict; suspicious jealousy; fait accompli jealousy

Article.  8393 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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