Could a Sexy Stranger Jeopardize Your Relationship?

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

See full bio »

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!
Advertiser Disclosure

Will a bit of manufactured flirtation from a good-looking individual cause most people to second-guess the value of their relationships?

Yes, says a new study.

Just being made to feel attractive by someone we deem as attractive, even if it’s entirely manipulated, can cause us to think less of our partners and subsequently more of ourselves.

That was the conclusion New Zealand researchers came to in a recent study, which was published in The Journal of Social Psychology.

How they did it

The researchers essentially tricked 81 young people, the average age being 19, into believing they were sampling a new dating program for its developers.

Each participant was involved in a committed relationship at the time of the study and was asked to rate that coupling in terms of satisfaction and their own level of commitment to it.

They also were asked to rate their self-esteem.

They would then participate in mock interviews, which actually consisted of prerecorded videos from members of the opposite sex deemed to be attractive.

Afterward they would find out if any of the “daters” expressed an interest in seeing them.

“When someone attractive expressed

interest, participants rated their partner lower.”

The conclusion

At the very conclusion, they would again be asked to rate their current relationship, as well as their self-esteem.

When a person was told they received positive feedback, meaning someone attractive expressed an interest in seeing them, they were more likely to rate their partner and relationship lower while offering higher numbers on their self-esteem.

Likewise, when they received negative feedback, they were more likely to view their relationship more favorably while downgrading their own self-esteem.

Both satisfaction level and commitment to the relationship improved when a person found out the attractive daters were not interested in them. The exact opposite happened when they were told the person had expressed interest.

Some have interpreted the conclusions to suggest we are more prone to cheat, or even potentially break up, should the opportunity to “trade up” present itself.

Advertiser Disclosure is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.