This was the finding of a small study from Bucknell University, Pennsylvia, that examined couples’ techniques for reconciling. Straight men consider a kind gesture or a sexual favour as the best form of apology.
The same study found heterosexual women prefer to spend quality time together and male tears. As such, one solution might satisfy one-half of a couple, but leave the other fuming.
74 straight men and women were asked to name five actions or behaviors that couples will engage in when they want to make up after a fight.
These were then put into 21 categories, given to a second group of men and women, who judged each technique for their efficacy.
Joel Wade, lead author of the study said: “Women may find the act of their male partner apologizing to be an effective reconciliation tactic because it is viewed as an altruistic act.”
He continued: “A man’s apology may redirect the cost of romantic conflict to himself rather than to his partner and thereby demonstrate his ability to provide emotional support and incur personal costs for his partner.”
Crying and straight up apologizing were also highly rated by women as a method for making up.
Men’s instincts for sexual activity also appear to be based on ego and insecurity (who would have guessed that one?)
Women may thereby use sexual favours as a way to reconcile with their male partner, doing so may communicate to their male partner that they are still sexually accessible and as such do not want to end the relationship.
The study ‘Sex differences in Reconciliation Behaviour after Romantic Conflict’ has been published in Evolutionary Psychological Science.