Beware of anyone flirting with you online – it could ruin your relationship, study claims
- Researchers had participants chat online with an attractive stranger
- They then rated how attractive they found their current partner
- When they’d flirted with a stranger, they rated their partner as less attractive
Whether it’s in your Instagram DMs or via the work Slack, many people enjoy flirting online and see it as a bit of harmless fun.
But a new study has warned that these seemingly innocent interactions could be disastrous for your relationships.
Researchers from Reichman University have revealed how online flirtations can make your current partner less appealing in the real world.
Whether it’s in your Instagram DMs or via the work Slack, many people enjoy flirting online and see it as a bit of harmless fun. But a new study has warned that these seemingly innocent interactions could be disastrous for your relationships
The dos and don’ts of flirting
Which flirting techniques work?
Women want men to be funny and generous when it comes to flirting, according to researchers in Norway.
However, on the flip side, males prefer the opposite sex to appear sexually available and to laugh at their jokes.
And which don’t?
Last month, scientists from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus revealed the 11 most off-putting flirting tactics:
- Slimy approach
- Bad hygiene
- Lack of exclusive interest
- Different views
- Vulgar vocabulary
- Lack of intelligence
- Lack of humour and self-esteem
- Excessive intimacy
- Poor looks
Previous studies on infidelity have focused on partners’ personalities or the characteristics of the couple’s relationship.
However, until now, the impact of online flirtations on relationships has been largely unstudied.
Professor Gurit Birnbaum, who led the study, said: ‘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 relationship quality and stability.’
The researchers carried out two studies in which romantically involved participants chatted online with an attractive person (a member of the research team).
Half of the participants chatted in a neutral way, while the other half flirted with the researchers over an online chat.
In the first study, the participants were asked to rate how attracted they were to their current partner, following the chat with the stranger.
They also took part in a task that examined their unconscious perceptions of their partner.
The results of this first study revealed that participants who flirted with the researchers perceived their current partner in a more negative light – on both the conscious and unconscious level.
In the second study, the participants were asked to write the first sexual fantasy that came to their mind after the chat with the stranger.
The fantasies were analysed by independent judges who examined the level of desire expressed in them towards both the current partner and the stranger.
Researchers from Reichman University have revealed how online flirtations can make your current partner less appealing in the real world
The analysis revealed that when the participants had had a flirty chat with the stranger, they were more likely to fantasise about them than their current partner.
The study comes after research found that the best tactics differ depending on your gender, with women wanting men to be funny and generous.
On the flip side, males prefer the opposite sex to appear sexually available and to laugh at their jokes, according to researchers in Norway.
‘What’s most effective depends on your gender and whether the purpose of the flirtation is a long-term or short-term relationship,’ said Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
He belongs to a research group which includes scientists from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and State University of New York at Oswego.
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