Do Women Shop for Luxuries to Fend Off Rivals?

October 28, 2013 by Norm Schneider  
Published in Women

Research says high-end purchasing deflects rivals to their mates.

That Gucci handbag or string of pearls you just bought, ladies? Was it because you wanted it or was it because showing off your latest expensive baubles will help ward off any other woman who might have her eyes on your husband or partner?

According to research conducted at the University of Minnesota, women are more likely to buy things as a way of saying, “don’t come close to my man.” With women purchasing more than $350 billion worth of products each year in the U.S. alone, the researchers delved into what some of the reasons were for women buying expensive items. Oh sure, there’s the ‘I want it factor,’ and the ‘I can afford it factor,’ but the scientists found that quite often the reason women were buying expensive luxury goods was as a way to ward off any female competition for their mate’s affections.

My Guy Is ‘Off Limits’ To You, Sister!

As odd as it may seem, say the researchers, women do want to make it known that their significant other is ‘off limits’ and one way of demonstrating that is by purchasing expensive items. The purchases, they say, indicate that the relationship is strong and that their partner is very devoted to them (the guy, the research suggests, helped out with the purchase – as much as that might suggest a little sexism).

The researchers took their theory to the experimental stage by having volunteers imagine their mates were being flirtatious at a fictional party with other women. Then they asked the offended women how much they wanted to buy a luxury item. The women significantly indicated their desire for luxury, particularly with expensive brand logos clearly evident on their products. Even the size of the products the women indicated they wanted (they were asked to draw pictures of them) was much larger than they would be in real life.

In a related finding, the researchers found that women were less likely to pursue a man if his current partner or girlfriend was wearing luxury items.

While the researchers acknowledge that protecting their territory is not the only reason women may buy expensive items, I’m not taking any chances. Not even blinking when another woman walks buy is a sure fire way to protect the relationship and save the budget!

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