Some men see partner's success as own failure
A MODERN-DAY man may list criteria such as being smart, funny and talented, in what he looks for in a girlfriend or future wife.
However, a study has found that, subconsciously, men would feel bad about themselves if their partner has a successful life.
According to the study, published in the Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, a man's subconscious self-esteem "may be bruised when his spouse or girlfriend excels", AFP Relaxnews reported.
Yet, a woman's self-esteem was not affected by her partner's successes or failures.
"It makes sense that a man might feel threatened if his girlfriend outperforms him in something they're doing together, such as trying to lose weight," said AFP Relaxnews, quoting the study's lead author, Dr Kate Ratliff of the University of Florida.
"But this research found evidence that men automatically interpret a partner's success as their own failure, even when they're not in direct competition."
Dr Ratliff and her team looked at 900 people living in the United States and the Netherlands.
In one experiment, 32 couples from the University of Virginia were given what was described as a "test of problem-solving and social intelligence", and then were told that their partner scored either in the top or bottom 12 per cent of all college students, said AFP Relaxnews.
The study found that there was no effect on the participants' self-esteem when they heard that their partner had scored high or low on the test.
However, when the participants were tested to determine how they felt subconsciously about their partners' score, men who thought their partner was in the top 12 per cent showed lower self-esteem than those who thought their partner was in the bottom 12 per cent, said AFP Relaxnews.
In contrast, women participants said they felt better about their relationship when they thought about a time their partner succeeded, rather than a time when he failed, according to AFP Relaxnews.