It cannot be known for sure what makes a person wanting to commit to someone long-term. Or, what makes someone see a person as a one-night stand or as someone with whom they can only have a casual relationship.
Well, according to a new study from Swansea University, the reason may be in their environment.
The researchers behind the study looked at how different circumstantial changes and environments affected a person’s preference for a long or short-term relationship. They discovered that the wealthier the person is, the more they prefer short-term relationships over long ones.
The study included 151 heterosexual male and female participants. They were asked to look at pictures of 50 potential partners and decide whether they would prefer a short-term relationship or a long-term relationship. Then they were shown pictures of luxury things like jewelry, fast cars, mansions, money, yachts etc.
And then, they were shown the pictures of the potential partners again. The researchers found that there was an increase of 16% in both men and women in favor of short-term relationship preferences.
Well, this might seem that people are nothing but superficial hedonists and if you show them a pile of money they can immediately become interested in having a fling. However, this is not true in real life.
Contrary, the study suggests that if we repeatedly get cues about a certain environment, our whole perception about the type of mate and the kind of relationship we want could change.
“It’s unlikely that showing your partner pictures of jewelry and fast cars will cause them to become promiscuous. If our mate preferences were that fragile, then enduring relationships wouldn’t exist.
However, if someone were to be exposed to strong and persistent cues that their environment has changed in some way (e.g. following a job promotion, or during an economic recession), then that might cause them to change the type of relationship they want,” said Dr. Andrew G. Thomas, the lead researcher.
In addition, money was not the main factor that influenced someone’s need for a short or a long-term relationship. When participants found themselves in a situation when there were kids around, they preferred to be in a long-term relationship.
However, when women participants were exposed to see dangerous situations and environments, their desire for having a short-term partner was stronger than having stability and being in a long-term relationship.
According to the researchers behind the study, there is a good reason for this. And it all begins with evolution. Namely, someone’s preference for short or long-term relationship depends mainly on their circumstances.
For example, how difficult it can be for them to raise children on their own. In a wealthy environment, it is easy for the mother to raise her child without the help of the father. So, in this case, a short-term partnership is seen as a perfectly viable option.
Finally, if you suddenly find yourself craving for a fling, or you have an inexplicable need to settle down, look for reasons and clues in your environment!