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Being attracted to someone else - New study launched

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A study at the University of Auckland is exploring a topic most adults probably experience at one time or another - fancying someone other than a person they are in a relationship with.

The researchers say there have been very few studies either in New Zealand or internationally that have explored this particular topic even though it’s not uncommon.

"In a way it’s surprising more research hasn’t been done on being attracted to someone else, how someone dealt with that including whether they talked about it at the time," says researcher Gina Broom of the University of Auckland’s School of Psychology.

"We want to know how people make sense of their thoughts, feelings or experiences when these don’t necessarily line up with the norm or the ‘moral ideal’."

In committed relationships, it is not uncommon to develop an attraction or "feelings" for someone other than a partner, Ms Broom says. This might progress further, into infidelity or "cheating" but there are many instances where people don’t act on their feelings or even talk about them.

"These types of experiences can be confusing and difficult to make sense of in a culture which places high value on monogamy and the "happily ever after" narratives which dominate societal understandings of relationships so that people struggle with concepts of what’s normal, or natural," she says.

The researchers are keen to talk to people with a range of experiences, including, for example, where feelings are openly communicated and acknowledged and partners can choose to be non-monogamous.

And the study is not just about sexual attraction, Ms Broom says.

"It may be an emotional connection, or some other kind of connection. But whatever the experience, any adults who could share their thoughts with us on that experience are very welcome to participate in the research."

Participation will involve an interview at the University of Auckland of approximately an hour or slightly longer and a brief demographic survey. All responses are kept confidential and no identifying details of participants will be released or published.

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