Evolutionary psychology is a theoretical approach that attempts to explain how human behavior has been shaped by natural selection and adaptation. It suggests that humans are naturally wired to think, feel, and behave in certain ways based on their evolutionary history. According to this theory, Dylan’s first wife Whitney may have stayed with him even though she knew about his infidelities for several reasons.
First, it is possible that Whitney was engaging in a form of “mate retention”- the tendency of individuals to try and keep their partner from straying (Buss & Shackelford 1997). By staying with Dylan despite his infidelity, Whitney may have hoped to maintain some level of control over the relationship and ensure her status as his primary partner. Through mate retention behaviors such as investing resources into the relationship or remaining sexually available (even if not actually engaging in sexual activity), Whitney could have sent Dylan a clear message that she was still invested in their relationship and he should remain loyal to her (Charnigo & Stafford 2007).
How could evolutionary psychology explain what would make Dylan’s first wife, Whitney, stay with him even though she knew about his infidelities
Second, it is also possible that Whitney stayed with Dylan because of what is known as “the cooling off effect,” which states that people who find out about a partner’s transgressions tend to remain emotionally attached due to an increased investment in the relationship (White et al., 2004). When someone finds out about an unfaithful partner, they often become more aware of all the positive aspects of the relationship—the things that brought them together initially—which can make it difficult for them let go despite all other potential costs (Finkenauer et al., 2001). This could be why Whitney chose to stay with Dylan instead of leaving him after she found out about his infidelities; perhaps she had already invested too much time and emotion into their relationship for her just walk away.
Finally, another possibility is that Whitney may have chosen to stay with Dylan because doing so offered her better survival prospects than leaving him would have. Studies suggest women prefer men who provide stability since these partners can help protect against threats posed by unfamiliar environments or predators (Gangestad & Simpson 2000). IfWhitney felt like having access to Dylan’s resources—whether emotional or financial—would give her greater security than being alone then this may have motivated her decision making process when deciding whether or not leave him after discovering his affairs.