When it comes to romantic relationships, women tend to take the lead.
That’s according to a study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, that analyses people’s relationship dynamics based on the calls and text messages of more than three-million European mobile phone users.
After examining nearly two-billion cellphone calls and close to 500-million texts, researchers said they determined that women are more focused on relationships with the opposite sex than men are during their reproductive years, indicating that women are more invested in creating romantic ties.
“It’s the first really strong evidence that romantic relationships are driven by women,” co-author Robin Dunbar, a professor at Oxford University, told the BBC.
As women age, however, their grown-up daughters become the people they most frequently contact, replacing their spouses as their “best friends.”
“What seems to happen is that women push the ‘old man’ out to become their second best friend, and he gets called much less often and all her attention is focused on her daughters just at the point at which you are likely to see grandchildren arriving,” Prof. Dunbar said.
BBC reports that men’s phone contact with their spouses also declined over time. Men called and texted their spouse most frequently during the first seven years of their relationship, then shifted their attention to other friends. (Of course, one could arguably interpret this another way: If you’re spending a lot of time with your spouse, you’re probably not contacting them via mobile phone.)
The researchers, who had access to the age and sex of the mobile phone users, said they based their findings on the assumption that mobile-phone communication reflects the most important relationships in people’s lives and the level of closeness of those relationships.
Who calls or texts more often: you or your partner? Does your phone use reflect who’s most important in your life?