Representational image.Creative Commons.

Money might change a person or even their outlook towards life, but recent studies have shown what it can also change – or at least have an effect on – is the preferred duration of romantic relationships they choose to indulge in.

The study based on relationship preferences of 151 heterosexual male and female participants, by asking them to look at pictures of potential partners, luxury items, and partners again – in that order – concluded that after viewing the luxury images, people opted for shorter-term relationships.

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The group of volunteers studied for the research had 75 men and 76 women. They went through the first round of viewing 50 potential partners' photos and deciding for each, whether they would prefer a long-term relationship with them or a short-term.

This was followed by the second round, where they were shown a series of luxury and wealth-related items such as fast cars, jewellery, mansions, and money. The third and final step involved the participants going through the initial potential partners' images again, and making the same decision about their preferred relationship duration with each.

Results showed that after viewing the wealth-related items, both male and female participants opted for shorter-term relationships as compared to their initial responses – precisely, causing an increase of about 16 percent.

"Evolutionary psychologists believe that whether someone prefers a short-term relationship over a long-term one depends partly on their circumstances, such as how difficult it might be to raise children as a single parent," said Andrew G Thomas, from Swansea University in the UK.

Representational image.Creative Commons.

"When those circumstances change, we expect people to change their preferences accordingly. What we have done with our research is demonstrate this change in behaviour, for the first time, within an experimental setting," Thomas, who also led the research, added.

This basically works on the principle that after the participants were made aware of the environment having a lot of resources, they became more prone to opting for shorter-termed relationships.

"We think this happened because humans have evolved the capacity to read the environment and adjust the types of relationships they prefer accordingly," believes Thomas.

This can be explained by the example of an environment with abundant resources available being more convenient for ancestral mothers to raise their children without the presence or need for a significant father figure in the picture. This would make short-term romantic alliances a viable option for both sexes. "We believe modern humans also make these decisions," Thomas said.

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It's also worth noting that these volunteers for the study also changed their responses after being shown a slideshow of dangerous animals and people interacting with babies. "When the participants were given cues that the environment contained young children, they were more likely to select individuals for a long-term relationship," said Thomas.

"Dangerous environments seemed to cause both men and women to choose more long-term partners, though some women chose more short-term partners instead," he added.

Maybe it's finally time to change the age-old break-up line "it's not you, it's me" to "it's not you or me, it's the money"!