When you survey the complete time course of a short-term and long-term relationship -- from the moment you meet someone until the moment the relationship is over for good -- it takes a while for the differences in short-term and long-term relationships to emerge."Long-term and short-term trajectories typically pull apart after you've known someone for weeks or months," said Paul Eastwick, an associate professor of psychology at UC Davis who is the lead author on a new study published in the ."Some of the most interesting moments in these relationships happen after you meet the person face-to-face, but before anything sexual has happened," Eastwick added. But at some point, romantic interest tends to plateau and decline in short-term relationships, while in long-term relationships, it continues to ascend and reaches a higher peak.
But new research out of the University of California, Davis, suggests that -- at first -- long-term and short-term relationships may look more or less identical."In the beginning, there is no strong evidence that people can tell whether a given relationship will be long-term and serious or short-term and casual." More than 800 people surveyed Eastwick and his co-authors surveyed more than 800 people from a wide range of ages.They used a state-of-the-art "relationship reconstruction" survey in which people reproduce the events and experiences they had in their prior real-life short-term and long-term relationships.However, although users were more open to short-term, casual sexual relationships than the average person, this doesn't mean that they have more sexual partners than non-users who also prefer casual sex. But to a large extent, the people using them are the same ones you find dating other ways," says co-author professor Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair. Women have more to lose by engaging with low-quality sexual partners than men do.The responses also showed that the apps were used differently by men and women. That's why men swipe right more often than women do," says Kennair.