Researchers in Hamburg, Germany have "discovered" female Homo-sapiens in so-called secure relationships are less likely to want sex than those in unsecure relationships.
I volunteer they could probably have saved the EU some research grant money by asking for a show of hands among male Homo-sapiens at the local pub/coffee shop/beer hall.
But it gets worse.
Men, apparently, are biologically different enough to stay committed to the physical aspects of a relationship undimmed over time, even as women get increasingly cool to the idea of sharing space (a euphemism).
Various evolutionary reasons are put forward, such as the need for the male of the species to guard against competitors, or that women may want the option of turning to new partners in order to secure the best combination of genetic material for their offspring.
Which brings us onto the issues of relationship failures, divorce, and the role of financial advice.
Claiming a need to find better genetic material from the wider population is, generally speaking, not a reason given or accepted by people involved in failing relationships seeking court redress.
It is interesting, however, to note a study just published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, suggesting there will be more women than men millionaires in the UK by 2020. Reasons cited include women living longer and the rise and rise of divorce payouts.
Putting the CEBR and Hamburg research together one is therefore tempted to ask whether divorce could be the mechanism chosen to ensure women do get access to the best genetic material within a legal framework acceptable to the majority of people.
Having their cake and eating it might be the expression used by lawyers for people such as Ray Parlour - the footballer ordered to pay a proportion of future earnings to his wife upon their divorce – or ‘Macca’, who allegedly stands to lose a wad of his reputed £800m-plus fortune in an ongoing relationship failure.
This writer would be the first to admit views on genetics and relative burdens of labour used to determine payouts in divorce cases could be tosh - added to the fact sexual habits rarely, if ever, determine the outcome of awards in divorce cases these days.
From the point of view of giving advice it does, however, look like another nail in the coffin of marriage as defined in law (given the research focus specifically on male-female relationships).
Why would the male of the species continue to commit to the idea of a relationship of diminishing returns, added to which is the risk of losing one’s shirt? (I know, I know, men are stupid and never ask for directions.)
The risk of financial loss can be offset by pre-nuptual agreements (depending on the jurisdiction), but of course this does not get round the apparent evidence of biological certainty offered by the Germans that after, say, five years the average relationship will be very settled (boring?) indeed.
Statistics suggest half of marriages fail anyway, but the Hamburg team's results hardly make for cheerful reading for those whose marriages survive.
Given the propensity for divorce to destroy value, and given the risk couples who remain married may maintain an increasingly dreary togetherness, perhaps it is time financial advisers added relationship gurus to their roster of staff, to provide a truly lifetime experience that will help their client couples maintain healthy relationships, and build better long-term business for the books.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Jonathan Boyd on 020 7484 9769 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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