Mate Retention Strategies of Dominance-Oriented and Prestige-Oriented Romantic Partners
What mate retention strategies do dominance-oriented and prestige-oriented romantic partners use to keep their relationships intact? In the current study, 329 participants in committed romantic relationships completed measures of their dominance orientation, prestige orientation, and mate retention behavior. It was predicted that dominance-oriented partners would engage in tactics designed to force or coerce relationship commitment, whereas prestige-oriented partners (primarily men) would engage in tactics such as resource display and avoid costly strategies such as rival violence. Results confirmed these hypotheses. Dominance-oriented individuals imposed costs on their partners and intrasexual rivals; prestige-oriented individuals, in contrast, attempted to increase their partners’ satisfaction by enhancing positive aspects of their relationships. These results suggest that romantic partners engage in strategic mate retention tactics corresponding with their dispositional levels of dominance and prestige motivation. Implications for relationship satisfaction and partner-directed violence are discussed.
KeywordsMate retention Dominance Prestige Evolutionary psychology
The author would like to thank Lauren E. Brewer for helpful suggestions on a previous version of this manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Ethical Approval Statement
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed Consent Statement
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the studies.
Conflict of Interest
The author declares that there are no conflicts of interest.
- Barbaro, N., Sela, Y., Atari, M., Shackelford, T. K., & Zeigler-Hill, V. (2019). Romantic attachment and mate retention behavior: the mediating role of perceived risk of partner infidelity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36, 940–956. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407517749330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cheng, J. T., Tracy, J. L., & Henrich, J. (2010). Pride, personality, and the evolutionary foundations of human social status. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31, 334–347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.02.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cheng, J. T., Tracy, J. L., Foulsham, T., Kingstone, A., & Henrich, J. (2013). Two ways to the top: evidence that dominance and prestige are distinct yet viable avenues to social rank and influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 103–125. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030398.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Goetz, A. T., Shackelford, T. K., Weekes-Shackelford, V. A., Euler, H. A., Hoier, S., Schmitt, D. P., & LaMunyon, C. W. (2005). Mate retention, semen displacement, and human sperm competition: a preliminary investigation of tactics to prevent and correct female infidelity. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 749–763. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2004.05.028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hill, A. K., Hunt, J., Welling, L. L., Cárdenas, R. A., Rotella, M. A., Wheatley, J. R., et al. (2013). Quantifying the strength and form of sexual selection on men’s traits. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34, 334–341. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.05.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Holden, C. J., Shackelford, T. K., Zeigler-Hill, V., Miner, E. J., Kaighobadi, F., Starratt, V. G., Jeffery, A. J., & Buss, D. M. (2014). Husband’s esteem predicts his mate retention tactics. Evolutionary Psychology, 12, 655–672. https://doi.org/10.1177/147470491401200311.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Johnson, R. T., Burk, J. A., & Kirkpatrick, L. A. (2007). Dominance and prestige as differential predictors of aggression and testosterone levels in men. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28, 345–351. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.04.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kaighobadi, F., Starratt, V. G., Shackelford, T. K., & Popp, D. (2008). Male mate retention mediates the relationship between female sexual infidelity and female-directed violence. Personality and Individual Differences, 44, 1422–1431. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2007.12.010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kardum, I., Hudek-Knežević, J., & Gračanin, A. (2006). Sociosexuality and mate retention in romantic couples. Psychological Topics, 15, 277–296.Google Scholar
- Marazziti, D., Consoli, G., Albanese, F., Laquidara, E., Baroni, S., & Catena Dell’osso, M. (2010). Romantic attachment and subtypes/dimensions of jealousy. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, 6, 53–58. https://doi.org/10.2174/1745017901006010053.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Pham, M. N., Shackelford, T. K., Holden, C. J., Zeigler-Hill, V., Sela, Y., & Jeffrey, A. J. (2015). Men’s benefit-provisioning mate retention behavior mediates the relationship between their agreeableness and their oral sex behaviors. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44, 1723–1728. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-014-0371-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Pillsworth, E. G., & Haselton, M. G. (2006). Male sexual attractiveness predicts differential ovulatory shifts in female extra-pair attraction and male mate retention. Evolution and Human Behavior, 27, 247–258. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2005.10.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Salkicevic, S., Stanic, A. L., & Grabovac, M. T. (2014). Good mates retain us right: investigating the relationship between mate retention strategies, mate value, and relationship satisfaction. Evolutionary Psychology, 12, 1038–1052. https://doi.org/10.1177/147470491401200512.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- The Police. (1983). Every breath you take. In On Synchronicity [CD]. Quebec: CA: A&M Records.Google Scholar
- Van Vugt, M., & Tybur, J. M. (2015). The evolutionary foundations of hierarchy: status, dominance, prestige, and leadership. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), The handbook of evolutionary psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar