The authors cited prior research that suggested men generally portrayed themselves as being more competent than they actually were. Being reminded of a time that their partner was successful might pose a threat to their own view of themselves.
Authors also suggested that men may feel a threat to the relationship itself if they feel they have been outperformed.
“Having a partner who experiences a success might hurt men’s implicit self-esteem because ambition and success are qualities that are generally important to women when selecting a mate,” the authors wrote. “So thinking of themselves as unsuccessful might trigger men’s fear that their partner will ultimately leave them.”
©2013 Los Angeles Times
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