Don't share lunch with an ex, says study
Fri, 13 Jul 2012 12:00p.m.
By 3 New online staff
If you want to avoid making your spouse jealous avoid sharing a meal with an ex-partner, reveals a new study by an American University.
Researchers at Cornell University say compared with other non-food-related activities, such as having a coffee, phoning or emailing, sharing a meal with an ex-partner elicited the most jealousy.
Of those surveyed, most felt sharing food is linked with – or can lead to – something “more than food”.
The study, carried out by Kevin Kniffin and Brian Wansink, asked undergraduate students at a private US university to rank their jealously levels in various scenarios involving their partner contacting an ex-partner.
The findings were similar across both male and female, with the more direct the communication with the former partner the higher the level of jealousy.
Researchers say the study shows the influence of food upon social behaviour and the significant function of food in relationships.
Dr Nickola Overall, a senior psychology lecturer at Auckland University, says food is important in both the development and maintenance of romantic relationships.
She says sharing meals is important during the courting phase and later in the relationship, with “date nights” and ritual family dinners.
A shared meal also implies a level of intimacy that other contact does not, she says.
Alcohol is often involved and people are more likely to be “dressed up” – increasing the attractiveness of the partner.
Victoria University’s Dr Marc Wilson says food is full of social rituals and symbolism.
He says because we both kiss and eat with our mouths there is an intimate link between food and romance.
“Sharing food is particularly powerful because it represents a conscious violation of another person's boundaries and concerns about hygiene - it shows trust and intimacy that merely sitting at the same table doesn't necessarily show."
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