Just like herbal medicine, oily fish and stomach crunches (except much worse), being cheated on is an excruciating, painful and vomit-inducing experience… but the long term benefits are surprisingly positive.
This is not a woman-to-woman pep talk. It’s science people.
New research has found women who’ve been cheated on are the “winners” in the long run. It’s all down to “mating intelligence”, and how your behaviour evolves after the experience. Being cheated on strengthens your resilience, enhances your self-awareness, and helps hone the radar on your bulls**t detector.
(Plus, you were better off without him anyway).
The researchers from Binghamton University in New York looked to 5,705 participants (men and women) from 96 different countries – 85% of these subjects had experienced at least one severe breakup.
They confirmed the obvious – that break ups, particularly those involving infidelity, often leave you with feelings of depression and low self-esteem. But for women who’d been cheated on, this experience helped develop a more acute awareness in choosing partners, leading to smarter choices and stronger relationships in the future.
“Our thesis is that the woman who ‘loses’ her mate to another woman will go through a period of post-relationship grief and betrayal, but come out of the experience with higher mating intelligence that allows her to better detect cues in future mates that may indicate low mate value,” lead author on the study Craig Morris said in a press release. “Hence, in the long term, she ‘wins.’”
It's all down to evolution. The emotions that arise after losing a mate – particularly when infidelity is involved – will feel devastating at the time but, over the long-term, these reactions will manifest into behaviour that will help you detect and avoid similar scenarios in the future.
But this doesn't happen immediately. It needs time... and tissues.
“The women who reported being ‘stronger’ after losing a mate to another woman reported that this realisation came only after suffering through post-relationship grief,” Morris said.
If the promise of a stronger, happier and smarter 'you' isn't enough to kick-start the healing process, the plight of the 'other woman' just might afford a glimmer of satisfaction.
Remember our habit of blaming or punishing the 'woman who slept with my husband'? It seems evolution is on the same side.
"The 'other woman' is now in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception and, likely, infidelity," Morris said. "Thus, in the long-term, she 'loses'."