Have you heard of the wedding ring effect?
The wedding ring effect is “the idea that simply by wearing a wedding ring a man is somehow imbued with a host of desirable characteristics”.
Basically, those who are in a relationship are seen as “road-tested”. They are deemed to have at least some “romantically desirable attributes” given their experience and this can lead to what we call “mate copying”.
Research show that the wedding ring effect is prevalent among younger women.
What is the value of “mate copying”? Mate-seekers can identify a passable mate- an experienced mate is deemed to be a “safer bet”. The information is free, and there is no need to go through a trial and error process.
Research also show that “romantically unavailable men” are deemed to be more attractive and desirable as long-term mates. In a study conducted in the US, men who had been in relationships lasting 3 years or more were viewed to be more romantically attractive than those whose longest relationship lasted a few months.
Romantically unavailable men in this case do not refer to married men.
In a study conducted in Sweden, women interacted with men wearing a wedding ring and men who were not wearing a wedding ring. The women found those who were not wearing a wedding ring more attractive in general. This suggests that while being in a relationship may make a man more attractive, a married man does not appear more attractive.
A more recent study shows that men experienced in relationships appeared more romantically desirable when they were described. However, being shown pictures of the men with their partner, the effect vanishes.
See: Ryan Anderson, “‘The Wedding Ring Effect’ is used to describe why married men can seem so desirable- but it’s an egregious misinterpretation of the science behind it”, Business Insider, 7 July 2017
As a divorce lawyer in Singapore, I have come across numerous cases of adultery in Singapore. I am sometimes curious about the wedding ring effect. Does it have a role to play in the marriages that break down each year?
Studies conducted on the wedding ring effect seem to debunk the theory to a large extent.
For more information on the law on adultery in Singapore, contact us today!
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