Generally, most people have a repetitive way of telling people that they are in a relationship, and that their partner is taken. Researchers have chosen to call these actions “mate retention behaviors” as they tell people outside of the relationship that they are off-limits to them.
The Mate Retention scale was developed in 1988 by Buss, it was developed to measure how often people use certain actions, to entice their current partners to stay with them. And also, toward interested third parties to stay away from their partner. The Mate Retention scale, is obviously higher the harder a partner tries to activate it.
Good Behaviors vs. Bad Behaviors
Interestingly, people with low values, and lower levels of mate value, are more likely to use negative methods of mate retention. This may be because of their fear of losing their partner. Research has suggested that the more likely they are of losing their partner, and the greater the attachment anxiety a person feels, the more likely they are of inflicting negative emotions toward their partner.
On the other hand, people who have higher mate values, are more than likely to use positive mate methods to reinforce their feeling and values to prolong their relationship. Couples who both express high mate values, tend to encourage each other to stay at a similar level (Salkicevic et al., 2014).
Resource display can be classed as giving thoughtful gifts to your partner and looking for events and places that may interest your partner, these could be, tickets, music gigs, and trips to places of interest.
Intimacy inducements can be classed as showing your appreciation towards your partner in an intimate way. This can be expressed through things like, making yourself available, long gazes, and engaging in sexual activity that your partner will enjoy.
Appearance enhancement can be classed as making an effort to have a nice appearance for your partner in order to attract them more than you normally would. This can be done in many ways, to include; weight loss, make up changes, wearing new clothes or mixing up original clothing styles. Even acts such as hair flipping can be classed as appearance enhancement, this tends to be done unconsciously, and is normally an acquired response to drawing attention to one’s self, to attract a partner.
Love and care
Love and care can be classed as a way of communicating with your partner to express the love you have for the other one. It also can involve the continuous involvement of behaviors that shows how much you care for your partner.
Submission and debasement
Submission and debasement can be classed as a way one partner will act submissive, and back down to do things the other wants to do. This act can be quite a worrying phase for a relationship, and should be addressed if it prolongs for a long period of time.
Verbal possession can be classed as a way of verbally sharing affirmation with people of how close your relationship is and sharing your relationship status with the majority of people that you meet.
Physical possession can be classed as claiming your partner via physical ways, these can be; holding hands in public spaces, linking of arms, which can be summarised as public displays of affections.
Possessive ornamentation can be classed as giving your partner gifts, examples of gifts could be; clothing, accessories, and jewelry. These gifts when associated with possessive ornamentation are intended to command ownership on your partner.
Actions within a relationship can definitely show an onlooker a lot, and normally more than what the partner who is subject to biased mate retention can see. On the other hand, an onlooker can also see when a couple is in a genuine matched mate retention relationship.