Verbal abuse: Insulting your woman as mate retention strategy

Say you are male and worried your female significant other is going to run off with the pool guy.  What do you do?

You cleverly devise a mate retention strategy — and what better mate retention strategy than to insult her in an attempt to make her feel as though she is unworthy of the pool guy? Brilliant.

Insulting your gal is not without cost to self, however.  The woman may say, “Enough of this nonsense, I’m leaving with the pool guy.” Nevertheless, a man who is perceived (by his mate) as having a “lower mate value” than the woman more frequently insults the woman.

Emily J. Miner , Todd K. Shackelford, Valerie G. Starratt, “Mate value of romantic partners predicts men’s partner-directed verbal insults, ”  Personality and Individual Differences 46 : 135–139  (January 2009) doi:10.1016/j.paid.2008.09.015

. . .Although both men’s and women’s mate values are related to men’s use of partner-directed insults, men’s mate value, but not women’s mate value, uniquely predicts men’s use of partner-directed insults. Put differently, independent of their partner’s mate value, men of low mate value deploy more partner-directed insults than men of high mate value. The current research documents a pattern of results for men’s mate value and partner-directed insults similar to previous results which linked men’s mate value to men’s mate retention behaviors (Miner et al., 2009). The comparable pattern of results identified in the current and previous research is consistent with other work indicating that partner-directed insults are a form of mate retention, specifically cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors (McKibbin et al., 2007). The current research also is consistent with previous results indicating that men of lower mate value perform a more diverse set of mate retention behaviors to retain their partners than do men of higher mate value (Miner et al., 2009). The current results also are broadly consistent with the Competitively Disadvantaged Male hypothesis of male sexual coercion, which suggests that low mate value men may perform more sexually coercive behaviors than high mate value men because oftheir relative inability to attract and retain faithful sexual partners
(Figueredo & McCloskey, 1993).. . .