6 common relationship facts that can be explained by science


6 common relationship facts that can be explained by science

When your special someone isn't so special

By Simone Dhondy  November 1st, 2017

Ever sit around with your girlfriends gossiping about your men and realise that your relationships aren’t that different? Like when you snapped at him before dinner that day but wanted to snuggle after. Or why he keeps scolding you for hogging the blanket. These are phenomena that happen in most people’s relationships and it isn’t because you are all dating the same man. It’s as simple as gender coding — how we, as a species, have evolved into these scenarios. Whether he’s your boyfriend, fiancé or husband, science will explain most of his weird quirks and some of yours…

The scientific reason behind these familiar relationship scenarios:

When you touch your boyfriend with your freezing cold hands

While listening to his screams of shock when you place your cold palms and toes on his naked skin may be the highlight of your cuddle session, it’s also nature. That’s right, women have colder extremities than men, according to a study published in the U.K. medical journal The Lancet. On average, women's hands and feet tend to be about three degrees colder than men’s; the reason is that our bodies are better at conserving heat. Women’s bodies are more capable of drawing heat towards the vital inner organs when temperatures drop. This tends to make your hands and feet suffer while your uterus stays toasty. 

When you pick a fight before eating but want to cuddle after

Ever hang out with your significant other and then start picking a fight just because you’re hungry? Or go on a date and feel more loving towards your partner after you've had your way with the buffet? Well that may have less to do with the candle-lit meal and more to do with the actual food. A study published in the journal, Appetite, found that women respond better to romantic cues, specifically once fed. That’s right, you respond better to nookie after you eat that cookie. Twenty women were gathered for the study and were made to fast for a duration of eight hours. They were then sent into an MRI scanner and shown two sets of images — romantic and neutral. All the women showed similar levels of brain activity or inactivity. The researchers then gave each of the women a 500 calorie meal replacement shake, before putting them back into the scanner to look at the same images. This time around, their brain activity was significantly more responsive to the romantic images.

The Science: The study suggests that our brains put certain 'rewards' into categories, and these rewards interact with each other. Which could mean that your brain is clubbing food, sex and romance into one class of reward systems. So when that specific circuitry of your brain is satisfied after a good meal, it's also stimulated to seek romance. 

When you hog the blankets and turn up the temperature of your shower

Yes, this is a 'women feel colder than men' thing. Because, science. Women have higher core body temperatures as compared to men, according to a study done by the University of Maryland School of Medicine. So you would think that your core would keep you warm, right? Wrong. Your body is already used to being warm so cold air feels alien and hence, even cooler to your body. Another unfair fact? Men’s metabolic rates are 23 percent higher than women’s, which means that while he’s digesting his dinner, his body is producing — and hence, radiating — more heat. Which explains why he’s the perfect cuddle partner. This phenomenon isn’t exclusive to the bedroom, it’s also why you like your showers steaming hot and he prefers them tepid.

 

When he needs your help finding his stuff

Ever scolded your man-child for making you search for his keys and wallet? It’s normal for you to find it in five minutes flat whereas he spent the greater hours of the day doing the same. The reason, according to Keith Laws, professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of Hertfordshire, could be because women have better cognitive control. The reason we may be better at juggling tasks could go back to prehistoric times, when women stayed at home looking after children and gathering food. This skill, honed over years of evolution, has lead to women having better memories than men. So they are more likely to remember where things are and to use landmarks to help them remember. This also translates into women remembering to run errands, birthdays and anniversaries. May be your man could help out around the house to improve his memory… That is, if he remembers. 

When he refuses to stop for directions

No ladies, you can’t blame this one on his ego. It may actually have to do with the fact that his spatial awareness is better than yours. Just like foraging helped you with finding his keys, his primitive hunting skills will help him to drive and navigate. Men have a better sense of dimensions, navigation and their relation to their surroundings. So may be let him take the wheel on this one.

 

When he ignores you because he’s working. or playing video games

For the troves of women who complain every time a new version FIFA comes out, we feel you. We’ve all been there, completely ignored by our significant other when he’s got a task on hand. The reason? Male brains utilise nearly seven times more grey matter for activity, while female brains utilise nearly ten times more white matter. Translation? Grey matter areas of the brain are information and action-processing centres, which manifest as tunnel vision. Which explains why once he’s engrossed in a game or even at work, he doesn’t demonstrate sensitivity to his surroundings. Whereas white matter is the networking grid that connects the brain’s grey matter and other processing centres with one another. Which means women are better at multi-tasking. That’s why you can text your boyfriend while you run the show at your job. 

Illustrations: Yehuda Devir, Instagram