Friday, September 17, 2010

Falling in Love Costs You Friends

It's a common stereotype that anyone who falls in love has no time for friends - so common that it is the plot of countless Hollywood movies. It turns out that science backs up the theory. Studies of social networks - real ones, not just Facebook - show the innermost circle of friends constricts when a new love interest enters the picture.

"People who are in romantic relationships - instead of having the typical five [individuals] on average, they only have four in that circle," explained Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Oxford.

"And bearing in mind that one of those is the new person that's come into your life, it means you've had to give up two others."...

The results confirmed the widely held view that love can lead to a smaller support network, with typically one family member and one friend being pushed out to accommodate the new lover.

"The intimacy of a relationship - your emotional engagement with it - correlates very tightly with the frequency of your interactions with those individuals," observed Professor Dunbar.

"If you don't see people, the emotional engagement starts to drop off, and quickly.

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