What’s the cost of love?

18 Sep

So I’m in London at the moment and posts will be sporadic at best. But, I was watching the local news and this particular item caught my eye. New research has confirmed the widely held view that love can lead to a smaller social support network:

Oxford University researchers asked people about their inner core of friendships and how this number changed when romance entered the equation. They found the core, which numbers about five people, dropped by two as a new lover came to dominate daily life

This will hardly come as a surprise to those fond of the adage “Bros before hoes” or “Sisters before misters”. The research was conducted by Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Oxford who, notably, has previously shown that the maximum number of friends it is realistically possible to engage is about 150.

“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.

“What I suspect happens is that your attention is so wholly focussed on your romantic partner that you just don’t get to see the other folks you have a lot to do with, and therefore some of those relationships just start to deteriorate and drop down into the layer below.”

So is the cost worth it? You be the judge!


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