When a woman's partner cheats on her, the betrayal and grief she experiences afterwards can be difficult to get over.
But researchers have found that women who lose their unfaithful man to another women may actually be winners in the long run.
They say the experience she gains from the infidelity of their partner helps them make better mate choices in the future.
And perhaps most gratifyingly of all, their partner's new woman is actually the ultimate loser.
Dr Craig Morris, an evolutionary biologist at Binghamton University in New York, who led the study, said: 'If we have evolved to seek out and maintain relationships, then it seems logical that there would be evolved mechanisms and responses to relationship termination.
'Over 85 per cent of individuals will experience at least one (break up) in their lifetime.
'Our thesis is that the woman who "loses" her mate to another woman will go through a period of post-relationship grief and betrayal, but come out of the experience with higher mating intelligence that allows her to better detect cues in future mates that may indicate low mate value.
'Hence, in the long-term, she "wins". The "other woman", conversely, is now in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception and, likely, infidelity.
'Thus, in the long-term, she "loses".'
Working with colleagues at University College London, Dr Morris conducted an online survey of 5,705 people in 96 different countries about their relationship breakups.
Their findings showed that while discovering an unfaithful partner could have negative short-term effects, in the long run it actually benefited women.
They said women who had been cheated on tended to be more psychologically attuned to making better choices about partners in the future.
Writing in the Oxford Handbook of Women and Competition, Dr Morris and his colleagues said this may have evolved to help women cope with competition for partners.
'Female competition for male attention is multifaceted,' the researchers said.
'Typically psychological and relational in nature, this competition may be no less damaging than physical violence more commonly used between males.
'If negative emotions exist because they provide an evolutionary advantage then emotions arising from the loss of a mate to a sexual rival may potentially motivate actions that could make one avoid this scenario in the future.'
The experts added that as well as helping women make better choices about their future partners, it may also aid their personal development in other areas of their life.
Dr Morris said the findings could also help women cope better with the emotional trauma that follows a relationship breakup.
He said: 'They can learn that they are not alone - that virtually everyone goes through this, that it's okay to seek help if needed and that they will get through it.'
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