Partner 'costs two close friends'
Published 15/09/2010 | 12:05
Two close friends is the average price you pay for falling in love, scientists have discovered.
Research has shown that when people start a new romantic relationship they are likely to lose two members of their inner circle of friends.
One is sacrificed to make way for the new partner, and the other disappears due to being ignored for too long, scientists believe.
Previous research has shown that friendships can wither if insufficient effort is put into maintaining them.
Psychologists also know that people have "layers" of intimate and more distant friends.
Typically, people have a small number of around five "inner circle" friends who they can confide in.
It is these friendships that can be sacrificed for love, according to the new research outlined at the British Science Festival at Aston University in Birmingham.
Study leader Professor Robin Dunbar, from Oxford University, said: "We've just shown that if you have a romantic relationship, it actually costs you two friends.
"When people are in a romantic relationship, instead of having the typical five inner circle friends on average they have only four.
"Bearing in mind that one of those is the new person who has come into your life, it means you've had to give up two others. Quite literally we've just discovered this and it's a bit of a surprise."