People are hardwired to fall out of love and move onto new romantic relationships, shows research from Saint Louis University.
“We have a mechanism in our brains designed by natural selection to pull us through a very tumultuous time in our lives,” said Brian Boutwell, associate professor at Saint Louis University. “It suggests people will recover; the pain will go away with time. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel,” he added.
Boutwell and his colleagues examined the process of falling out of love and breaking up and moving on to develop a new romantic relationship. Men and women might break up for different reasons. For instance, a man is more likely to end a relationship because a woman has had a sexual relationship with another man.
“For evolutionary reasons, men should be wired to try and avoid raising children that are not genetically their own,” the authors wrote. “Men are particularly sensitive to sexual infidelity between their partner and someone else,” Boutwell said. “That is not to say women do not get jealous. They certainly do but it is especially acute for men regarding sexual infidelity.”
On the other hand, a woman may be more likely to break up if her partner has been emotionally unfaithful partly because of evolutionary reasons. Over the deep time of evolution, natural selection has designed mate ejection in females to avoid the loss of resources, such as help in raising a child and physical protection, that their mates provide.
Sometimes both men and women end a relationship for the same reason. “For instance, neither gender tends to tolerate or value cruelty on the part of their partner,” Boutwell noted.