Women reveal, men conceal: Current relationship disclosure when seeking an extrapair partner

Susan M. Hughes, Marissa A. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study examined sex differences in disclosing current, committed relationship status to potential extrapair copulation (EPC) partners. We hypothesized that women in a committed relationship would be more likely to reveal their relationship status to a potential EPC partner. When a woman reveals this information, it may appeal to a man's evolved psychological preference for short-term mating, which increases his chance of reproduction without commitment. We also hypothesized that men in a committed relationship, in contrast, would be more likely to conceal their current relationship from a potential EPC partner. A committed man would be less able to provide time, commitment, and resources for which women have an evolved preference. The extrapair woman could sustain enormous costs should she bear offspring without his support. Responses from a heterosexual community sample of 322 women and 262 men (N = 584), with a diverse age range (M = 30.7, SD = 11.4), showed that women, compared with men, indeed indicated statistically more hypothetical and actual committed relationship status revelations to a potential EPC partner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-277
Number of pages6
JournalEvolutionary Behavioral Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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