We all know that men and women can be friends. However, a new study asks the question: Should they?
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire surveyed the opposite-sex relationships of more than 400 adults ranging in age from 18 to 52. Across all but one demographic, they found that the more attracted a person was to their friend, the less satisfied they were with their current relationship.
“Attraction in friendship is happening, and it’s persistent,” says lead author April Bleske-Rechek, associate professor of psychology.
“I’d venture to say, based on all our data, that in the majority of (opposite-sex) friendships there’s at least a low level of attraction. And if it’s coming more from one friend than the other, it’s probably the guy.”
In the same study, men reported more attraction to their female friends than women did to their male friends. Men also overestimated their friend’s level of attraction and often reported a stronger desire to date their friend.
“Historically, men faced the risk of being shut out, genetically, if they didn’t take advantage of various reproductive opportunities,” explains Bleske-Rechek. “So the argument is that men have evolved to be far more sexually opportunistic.”
Whether or not an opposite sex relationship can work seems to rely on the man. This research shows that it’s usually the male who suffers issues with the relationship.