Hypergamy Delusion and Romance Scams

A Fundamental Vulnerability Shaping Relationship Choices and Leading to Relationship Scams

Primary Category: Psychology of Scams

•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Hypergamy, the tendency to seek a partner of higher socioeconomic status, influences relationship dynamics shaped by evolutionary instincts, cultural norms, and contemporary aspirations. It can play an important role in romance scams/relationship scams by leading individuals to make biased choices.

Traditionally observed more among women seeking stability and social mobility, hypergamy reflects desires for financial security and status enhancement. In contrast, men often prioritize youth and physical attractiveness, rooted in evolutionary cues of reproductive fitness.

Hypergamy manifests through curated social profiles that project wealth and success, influencing partner selection in online dating and online social interactions. However, this aspiration-driven paradigm also poses risks, as scammers exploit hypergamous triggers to manipulate emotions and perpetrate financial fraud.

Recognizing these dynamics and avoiding hypergamous choices calls for balanced relationships based on shared values and genuine connection rather than superficial status or appearance. Understanding hypergamy illustrates the complexities in modern mate selection, urging individuals to greater care with personal aspirations, awareness of societal pressures, and evolutionary biases, ultimately striving for relationships grounded in mutual respect and authentic compatibility.

Hypergamy Delusion Plays a Significant Role in Leading Victims into Romance Scams by Validating Mating Selection Biases

Hypergamy Delusion Plays a Significant Role in Leading Victims into Romance Scams by Validating Mating Selection Biases

Hypergamy delusion is the tendency to want to choose partners or mates based on appearance, social status, and other factors without much consideration of the personality – at least initially. And even afterward, it can heavily influence decisions to continue a relationship in the early stages.

Definition of Hypergamy


Origin: An American English Term

Pronounce: haɪˈpɜrgəmi


Meaning: marriage/dating with a person of a higher social class or position

Derived forms (ADJECTIVE): hypergamous (hyˈpergamous)

Word origin: hyper- + -gamy

What is Hypergamy?

Hypergamy is a social science term that describes when someone dates or marries a partner with a higher social status, education, income, or sexual capital than themselves. It can also refer to marriage to a higher caste or social group. The opposite of hypergamy is hypogamy, which is when someone marries someone of a lower social class or status.

Hypergamy is a social and evolutionary concept referring to the practice of seeking a marriage or romantic relationship with someone of higher socioeconomic status, education level, or social standing than oneself. The term is often used to describe a tendency, particularly observed in women, to prefer partners who have greater resources, social influence, or overall status. This concept can be traced back to historical and cultural practices where marrying up was seen as a way to secure economic stability, improve social status, and ensure better opportunities for offspring.

In modern times, hypergamy continues to be a topic of discussion in sociology, psychology, and evolutionary biology. It is often analyzed in the context of dating behaviors, gender dynamics, and the influences of social and economic structures on relationship choices. Critics of the concept argue that it reinforces gender stereotypes and traditional roles, while proponents suggest it reflects natural selection and the pursuit of advantageous partnerships.

Please Note

This article discusses gender roles and traditional gender-based biases as they pertain to hypergamy and partner selection. We intend to explore these concepts from an anthropological, sociocultural, and evolutionary perspective, acknowledging that these views are based on historical patterns and statistical observations. We recognize that these topics may be sensitive and potentially offensive to some readers.

Functions Like a Cognitive Bias

Hypergamy itself is not typically classified as a cognitive bias. Instead, it is considered a social and evolutionary behavior or tendency. However, certain cognitive biases influence hypergamous behavior.

Here are a few of the cognitive biases that play a role:

Status Quo Bias: This bias might make individuals prefer relationships that align with societal norms, such as seeking partners with higher status or resources.

Social Proof: People might look to the behaviors of others when making decisions about their own relationships. If they observe others engaging in hypergamy, they might be influenced to do the same.

Confirmation Bias: This bias could lead individuals to seek out and interpret information that supports their preference for higher-status partners, reinforcing hypergamous behavior.

Availability Heuristic: If examples of successful hypergamous relationships are more readily recalled or more prominently displayed in media and society, individuals might be more inclined to pursue such relationships.

While hypergamy itself is a broader social phenomenon, the decision-making processes that lead to hypergamous behavior is certainly influenced by these and other cognitive biases.

Hypergamy Effects in Online Dating

Hypergamy significantly influences online dating dynamics by shaping how individuals present themselves and choose potential partners.

Here are several ways in which hypergamy affects online dating:

Profile Presentation: People often craft their online dating profiles to highlight attributes associated with higher socioeconomic status, such as education, career achievements, travel experiences, and lifestyle. This presentation aims to attract partners seeking upward social or economic mobility.

Partner Selection Criteria: Individuals influenced by hypergamy may prioritize potential partners who display signs of wealth, education, or high social status. This can be observed in preferences for certain professions, educational backgrounds, or lifestyles depicted in profiles.

Competitive Dating Market: Online dating platforms often create a competitive environment where individuals feel the need to stand out. Those who can showcase higher status or desirable traits may receive more attention and matches, reinforcing hypergamous behaviors.

Messaging and Interaction: Conversations in online dating may quickly steer towards topics that reveal socioeconomic status, such as job roles, income levels, or social activities. This allows individuals to gauge the potential hypergamous benefits of a match early on.

Filtering and Algorithms: Many online dating platforms use algorithms that match users based on their preferences and profile information. If users prioritize criteria associated with higher status (e.g., income, education), the algorithms may reinforce hypergamous matching patterns.

Perceived Value and Desirability: Hypergamy can affect self-esteem and perceived value in the dating market. Individuals who believe they have higher status may feel more desirable and be more selective, while those who perceive themselves as lower status may feel less confident and face more challenges.

Financial Expectations and Dating Practices: In hypergamous relationships initiated online, there may be expectations around financial generosity, such as who pays for dates or gifts. This can influence the early stages of dating and set the tone for the relationship dynamics.

Gender Differences: Traditional gender roles often place more emphasis on hypergamy for women, leading them to seek partners who can provide greater financial security or social status. Men, on the other hand, might feel pressure to demonstrate their status to attract potential partners.

Catfishing and Deception: The desire for higher-status partners can make individuals more susceptible to deception. Scammers and catfishers may create fake profiles that depict them as wealthy or high-status to lure victims seeking hypergamous relationships.

Long-Term Relationship Goals: Hypergamy can influence long-term relationship goals, with individuals using online dating not just for casual encounters but to find partners who can offer economic stability and upward mobility. This affects how they approach dating and evaluate potential matches.

Cultural and Societal Influences: Cultural norms around marriage and social mobility can amplify hypergamous tendencies in online dating. In cultures where hypergamy is highly valued, individuals may be more explicit in seeking partners who can elevate their social status.

Economic and Social Trends: Broader economic and social trends, such as rising inequality and changing gender roles, can also impact hypergamy in online dating. For instance, economic instability may make hypergamous relationships more appealing as a strategy for financial security.

Hypergamy influences various aspects of online dating, from how individuals present themselves and select partners to the expectations and dynamics of their interactions. Understanding these influences can help individuals navigate the complexities of online dating with greater awareness and choice discernment.

Hypergamy in Romance Scams

Hypergamy plays a significant role in romance scams by exploiting the desire of individuals to form relationships with partners who appear to have higher socioeconomic status, resources, or social standing.

Scammers often leverage this tendency to create convincing personas and narratives that lure victims. Here’s how hypergamy can be manipulated in the context of romance scams:

Creating an Illusion of Wealth and Status: Scammers often present themselves as successful, wealthy, and well-connected individuals. They might claim to be business executives, military officers, or professionals with substantial income and assets. This perceived higher status makes the scammer more attractive to potential victims who are inclined towards hypergamous relationships.

Exploiting Desires for Security and Stability: Many people seek partners who can provide financial security and a stable lifestyle. Scammers use this to their advantage by promising a luxurious and stable future together, thus appealing to the victim’s hypergamous instincts.

Building Trust Through Generosity: Initially, scammers may send expensive-looking gifts or provide financial assistance to build trust and demonstrate their supposed wealth. This reinforces the victim’s belief in the scammer’s high status and strengthens their emotional attachment.

Using Hypergamy to Justify Requests for Money: Once the victim is emotionally invested, the scammer fabricates urgent financial needs, often framed in a way that suggests the victim’s assistance will secure their future together. The victim, believing in the scammer’s higher status and the promised rewards of the relationship, is more likely to comply with requests for money.

Manipulating Social Proof and Influences: Scammers may use fabricated social proof, such as fake profiles of friends and family or staged social media posts, to create a convincing narrative of their high status. This reinforces the victim’s perception of the scammer as a desirable partner.

Preying on Loneliness and Aspirations: Victims who feel lonely or unfulfilled might be more susceptible to the allure of a seemingly perfect partner who can elevate their social and economic status. Scammers exploit these aspirations by painting a picture of an ideal life that the victim has always dreamed of.

Hypergamy plays a crucial role in romance scams by tapping into the victim’s desires for upward social mobility, financial security, and a higher-status partner. Scammers craft their personas and strategies to appeal to these desires, ultimately leading victims into emotional and financial exploitation.

Boredom as a Vulnerability to Hypergamy and Scams

Hypergamy and boredom both play significant roles in romance scams. Scammers craft their personas and strategies to appeal to the desire for upward social mobility and financial security, as well as to exploit the vulnerabilities that come with boredom and a craving for excitement.

Seeking Excitement and Novelty: Boredom can drive individuals to seek excitement and novelty, making them more likely to engage with potential romantic partners who promise a thrilling and glamorous lifestyle. Scammers often capitalize on this by creating exciting and adventurous personas.

Increased Online Activity: People experiencing boredom are more likely to spend increased time online, including on dating platforms and social media, where scammers are active. This increased exposure heightens the risk of encountering a scammer.

Lowered Defenses: Boredom can lead to a lowered state of vigilance. Individuals may not scrutinize the red flags or inconsistencies in a potential partner’s story as thoroughly as they would if they were more engaged and alert.

Desire for Change: The monotony of daily life can make the promise of a new, exciting relationship particularly appealing. Scammers exploit this desire for change by presenting themselves as the perfect solution to break the routine, offering a whirlwind romance that seems too good to be true.

Emotional Vulnerability: Boredom can contribute to feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction, creating emotional vulnerability. Scammers are adept at identifying and exploiting these vulnerabilities, providing the emotional engagement and excitement that the victim craves.

Rapid Escalation: Due to the desire to escape boredom, victims may quickly escalate their online relationships, moving faster than they normally would. This rapid escalation plays into the scammer’s hands, allowing them to deepen their influence and control over the victim before suspicion arises.

Recognizing these influences can help individuals protect themselves from falling victim to such scams.

Hypergamy and Appearance

Hypergamy, the practice of seeking a partner of higher socioeconomic status, does significantly influence choices based on the appearance of the other individual.

Here are several ways in which hypergamy affects this aspect of partner selection:

Association of Appearance with Status

Attractiveness as a Status Indicator: Physical attractiveness is often unconsciously linked with higher status. Attractive individuals may be perceived as more successful, confident, and socially desirable, traits often sought in hypergamous relationships.

Fitness and Health: Good physical appearance is often equated with health and vitality, which are desirable traits. In the context of hypergamy, a healthy and fit appearance can be seen as indicative of the ability to maintain a successful lifestyle.

Social Signals and Presentation

Fashion and Grooming: The way individuals dress and groom themselves can signal their socioeconomic status. Designer clothing, accessories, and meticulous grooming are often associated with wealth and higher social standing, making these individuals more attractive to those seeking hypergamous relationships.

Lifestyle Depiction: Through social media and online dating profiles, individuals often showcase lifestyles that include travel, fine dining, and luxury experiences. The appearance of engaging in such activities can attract hypergamous partners who are drawn to these markers of high status.

Cultural and Media Influences

Celebrity and Media Standards: Media and popular culture often portray attractive and stylish individuals as successful and high-status. This cultural narrative can shape people’s perceptions, leading them to equate appearance with socioeconomic status.

Social Proof and Popularity: Attractive individuals often receive more attention and social validation, both online and offline. This social proof can enhance their perceived status, making them more appealing to those driven by hypergamous motivations.

Evolutionary Psychology

Mate Selection Criteria: From an evolutionary perspective, physical attractiveness can be seen as a proxy for good genes and reproductive fitness. In hypergamous contexts, individuals may prioritize appearance as a sign of genetic quality, which can be subconsciously linked to the potential for better offspring.

Youth and Fertility: Attractiveness is often associated with youth and fertility, particularly in women. Hypergamous individuals may prioritize youthful and attractive partners as these traits are traditionally linked to reproductive success and vitality.

Self-Enhancement and Social Climbing

Enhancing Social Standing: Being with an attractive partner can enhance one’s own social standing. This can be particularly appealing for individuals seeking hypergamous relationships, as an attractive partner can elevate their perceived status and social desirability.

Strategic Partnering: Some individuals may strategically choose attractive partners to gain social and economic advantages. The appearance of the partner can be seen as a reflection of one’s success and capability to attract high-status individuals.

First Impressions and Initial Attraction

Visual Cues in Online Dating: In online dating, first impressions are often based on visual cues. Profiles with attractive photos are more likely to receive attention and messages, leading to a higher likelihood of connecting with hypergamous individuals.

Impact of Visual Appeal: Attractive individuals may have an easier time initiating and maintaining conversations. This initial visual appeal can be crucial in the early stages of forming a hypergamous relationship.

Hypergamy significantly influences the choice of partners based on their appearance, as physical attractiveness is often subconsciously linked with higher socioeconomic status, health, and genetic fitness. Individuals driven by hypergamous motives may prioritize attractive partners, associating their appearance with the desirable qualities of wealth, success, and social standing.

Difference between Women and Men

There are significant observed differences between men and women in the tendency towards hypergamy, influenced by social, cultural, and evolutionary factors.

Here are some key points highlighting these differences:

Traditional Gender Roles and Social Expectations

Women and Upward Mobility: Historically, women have been more likely to engage in hypergamy as a strategy for social and economic mobility. This tendency is rooted in traditional gender roles where men were often the primary earners and providers.

Men and Youth/Attractiveness: Men, on the other hand, are generally less likely to seek hypergamous relationships based on socioeconomic status. Instead, men tend to prioritize youth and physical attractiveness in their partners, traits often associated with fertility and reproductive success. In other words, better sexual partners.

Evolutionary Psychology

Women’s Preferences: Evolutionary psychology suggests that women may be more inclined towards hypergamy because securing a partner with resources historically increased the chances of offspring survival. Women may therefore prioritize partners who can provide financial stability, protection, and resources.

Men’s Preferences: Men, from an evolutionary standpoint, may prioritize physical attractiveness and youth because these traits are associated with fertility and the ability to produce healthy offspring. Hypergamy, in this sense, is less emphasized in men’s partner selection criteria.

Socioeconomic Factors

Economic Independence: As women gain more economic independence and professional success, some studies suggest that the tendency towards hypergamy might be decreasing. Women who are financially secure may place less emphasis on a partner’s socioeconomic status.

Men’s Earnings: Men typically do not exhibit a strong tendency towards hypergamy based on economic status. Instead, they might focus more on factors such as physical attraction and emotional compatibility.

Cultural Influences

Cultural Norms: In many cultures, women are still encouraged to “marry up” in terms of socioeconomic status. These cultural norms reinforce hypergamous behaviors among women.

Media Representation: Media often portrays successful men with attractive, often younger, partners, reinforcing the notion that men should prioritize attractiveness over socioeconomic status.

Statistical Observations

Marriage Patterns: Studies and statistics often show that women are more likely to marry men with higher educational attainment and income levels, reflecting hypergamous tendencies.

Changing Trends: However, with increasing gender equality and shifts in societal norms, these patterns may be changing. More women are marrying partners of equal or lower socioeconomic status, reflecting broader changes in relationship dynamics.

Personal Motivations

Security and Stability: Women’s inclination towards hypergamy can also be driven by a desire for security and stability, especially in contexts where social safety nets are weak.

Partner Attributes: While women may prioritize a partner’s socioeconomic status, men may place more emphasis on traits such as nurturing ability and emotional support, which are not directly related to hypergamy.

There are observed differences between men and women in the tendency towards hypergamy, shaped by evolutionary, cultural, and socioeconomic factors. Women have traditionally been more likely to seek partners of higher socioeconomic status, driven by historical roles and evolutionary pressures. Men, conversely, are less likely to prioritize hypergamy, often valuing physical attractiveness and youth more highly. However, as societal norms evolve and gender roles continue to shift, these tendencies may also change, reflecting more nuanced and diverse approaches to partner selection across genders.

It’s Not All About Their Appearance and Profiles

It is important to recognize that scammers employ various tactics beyond merely crafting impressive social media or dating profiles to convey a sense of high status. Verbal communication plays a pivotal role in their deception, as scammers skillfully weave narratives that appeal to hypergamous desires.

Through persuasive storytelling, they paint a picture of success, wealth, and influence, often employing verbal clues that trigger aspirational sentiments in their targets.

Scammers adeptly use language to create an illusion of affluence and sophistication. They may boast about their prestigious career, elaborate on their global travels to exotic locations, or casually mention connections to influential figures or exclusive events. It also applies to crypto investment scams by talking about their investing skills and success. These verbal cues are strategically designed to evoke admiration and awe, enticing victims who aspire to elevate their own social and economic status through association.

Scammers exploit hypergamous triggers by tailoring their stories to align with the desires and fantasies of their targets. They understand the human inclination to seek partners who offer financial security and stability, social prestige, and a glamorous lifestyle. By leveraging verbal clues that reinforce these aspirations, scammers effectively manipulate emotions and build trust, ultimately paving the way for financial exploitation.

Recognizing these verbal tactics is vital for individuals exploring online relationships. Being vigilant about inconsistencies in stories, questioning exaggerated claims of wealth or status, and verifying information through independent channels can help mitigate the risk of falling victim to scams fueled by hypergamous triggers. By understanding how scammers use verbal communication to enhance their deception, individuals can better protect themselves from financial and emotional harm in the realm of online dating and social networking.

A Final Thought About Divorce

Hypergamy can play a role in the psychology of divorce too.

Here are several ways in which hypergamy may influence divorce dynamics:

Initial Partner Selection: If one partner married primarily for hypergamous reasons—seeking upward social or economic mobility—there might be a disconnect if the partner’s status or resources decline or if the initial expectations are not met. This can lead to dissatisfaction and contribute to the decision to divorce.

Financial Expectations and Realities: Hypergamous marriages place high expectations on financial and social status. If the reality of the marriage does not meet these expectations, it can create strain. For instance, if a partner’s career falters or financial stability is lost, it can undermine the perceived benefits of the union and lead to divorce.

Power Dynamics: Marriages influenced by hypergamy have inherent power imbalances, where one partner holds more economic or social power. These imbalances can lead to feelings of inequality, resentment, and lack of fulfillment, contributing to marital breakdown.

Changing Social and Economic Status: Over time, the social or economic status of individuals can change. If one partner significantly improves their status or wealth (potentially through their own hypergamous behavior), they might feel less inclined to stay in the marriage if they perceive they can find a ‘better’ partner.

Midlife Reassessment: Individuals might reassess their life choices during midlife, questioning whether their marriage aligns with their personal growth and status aspirations. Hypergamous motivations might resurface, leading some to seek new relationships that better reflect their evolved social or economic aspirations. In other words, they deserve better.

Societal and Cultural Influences: Societal norms and cultural expectations can pressure individuals into relationships that are not fulfilling. Over time, the stress of living up to these expectations can lead to marital dissatisfaction and eventual divorce.

Infidelity and Hypergamy: Hypergamous tendencies might also lead to infidelity if one partner continually seeks higher-status relationships outside the marriage. This pursuit erodes trust and leads to divorce.

Post-Divorce Hypergamy: After divorce, individuals may engage in hypergamous behaviors, seeking partners who can provide better economic or social opportunities, or other factors as defined above. This can shape the dynamics of post-divorce relationships and remarriage, generally leading to relationship failures.

Gender Dynamics: Traditional gender roles often place more emphasis on hypergamy for women, which can affect divorce psychology. Women may feel pressure to leave marriages that do not elevate their social status or secure their financial future, especially if they have the opportunity to enter a higher-status relationship.

Appearance Factors: People change over time, and the appearance aspects of hypergamy play a role in leading people, men especially, into choosing new partners who are more attractive and alluring.

Emotional and Psychological Impact: The emotional toll of constantly striving for a higher-status partner can lead to feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and dissatisfaction in marriage. This emotional strain can contribute to the decision to divorce, as partners seek to resolve these feelings through separation or finding new relationships.

Hypergamy can influence various aspects of marriage and divorce, from initial partner selection to long-term satisfaction and the decision to end the marriage. Understanding these dynamics can provide insight into the complex motivations behind marital breakdowns and the pursuit of new relationships.

Recognizing Your Own Hypergamous Tendencies

Recognizing that one is buying into the hypergamy delusion when choosing new partners involves a combination of self-awareness, critical thinking, knowledge of cognitive biases, and taking practical steps to evaluate relationships objectively.

Here are some ways individuals can identify if they are influenced by hypergamy in potentially unhealthy ways:

Reflect on Motivations: Assess why you are attracted to a particular partner. Are you primarily drawn to their wealth, status, social standing, appearance, age, or ‘sexiness’? If these factors outweigh personal compatibility, shared values, and emotional connection, hypergamy may be the cause.

Evaluate Relationship Dynamics: Consider the balance of power and equality in the relationship. Are you overly focused on what your partner can provide materially or socially? Healthy relationships should involve mutual respect and contribution beyond financial or social status.

Seek Objective Opinions: Talk to trusted friends or family members about your relationship. They may provide an outside perspective and help you see if your attraction is disproportionately influenced by your partner’s status rather than their character and how they treat you.

Look for Red Flags: Be aware of behaviors that might indicate you are prioritizing status over substance. Do you ignore or justify red flags because of your partner’s high status? Are you staying in the relationship mainly for the perks it offers?

Assess Your Values and Needs: Understand your core values and what you truly need in a relationship. Reflect on whether your partner meets these needs and aligns with your values beyond their status and wealth. But beware of other cognitive biases that can distort those wants and desires.

Consider Past Relationships: Reflect on patterns in your past relationships. Have you consistently or mostly chosen partners based on their status or what they can offer you materially? Have you walked away from people that might have been a perfect match but did not have the status you were looking for? Recognizing these patterns can help you make more balanced choices in the future.

Focus on Personal Fulfillment: Ensure you are not seeking a partner to fill a void related to self-esteem, financial security, or social standing. Work on personal growth and self-sufficiency so that your relationships are based on genuine connection rather than a desire for upward mobility.

Take Your Time: Avoid rushing into relationships based on initial impressions of wealth and status. Take the time to get to know your partner’s true character, values, and how they make you feel. Genuine compatibility often reveals itself over time.

Educate Yourself: Learn about the concept of hypergamy and its potential impacts on your relationship choices. Understanding the psychological and social dynamics at play can help you make more informed decisions. Learn about cognitive biases as well.

Seek Professional Guidance: If you find it challenging to navigate these complexities on your own, consider seeking help from a therapist or counselor. They can provide support and strategies to develop healthier relationship patterns.

By consciously examining your motivations, relationship dynamics, and personal values, you can better recognize if you are falling into the hypergamy delusion and make more balanced and fulfilling choices in your relationships.


Throughout history, hypergamy has shaped partner selection criteria, often emphasizing financial security, social status, appearance and desirability, and perceived societal norms. This phenomenon manifests differently across genders, with women traditionally more inclined towards hypergamous relationships as a means of securing stability and upward mobility. Meanwhile, men often prioritize traits such as physical attractiveness and youth, reflecting distinct evolutionary preferences tied to reproductive success.

Hypergamy continues to influence how individuals present themselves and select partners, particularly in the digital age of online dating and social media. Profiles are meticulously curated to showcase wealth, achievements, and lifestyle, catering to aspirational desires and societal expectations. However, amidst these portrayals lie risks of deception and exploitation, as scammers adeptly utilize hypergamous triggers to manipulate emotions and solicit financial gain.

Understanding hypergamy involves acknowledging its historical roots while understanding its implications in today’s diverse relationships. Awareness of these dynamics helps to create informed decision-making and encourages critical scrutiny of personal motivations and societal pressures. Ultimately, building healthy relationships requires balance—a recognition of shared values, mutual respect, and emotional connection that transcends superficial attributes of status or appearance. By embracing authenticity and mutual understanding, individuals can forge meaningful connections built on genuine compatibility and shared aspirations for personal growth and fulfillment.

By staying vigilant, critically assessing new relationships, and being aware of one’s emotional and psychological state, individuals can better avoid the pitfalls of hypergamy-driven romance scams and bad relationship choices.

Important Information for New Scam Victims

If you are looking for local trauma counselors please visit counseling.AgainstScams.org or join SCARS for our counseling/therapy benefit: membership.AgainstScams.org

If you need to speak with someone now, you can dial 988 or find phone numbers for crisis hotlines all around the world here: www.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines

Do Your Own Research:

We suggest you investigate credible sources where you can find more information about hypergamy:

  1. Academic Journals: Search platforms like Google Scholar or academic databases such as JSTOR for studies on hypergamy, evolutionary psychology, and mate selection.
  2. Books: Look for books on evolutionary psychology, sociology of relationships, or gender studies that discuss hypergamy. Authors like David Buss, Helen Fisher, and Geoffrey Miller often cover related topics.
  3. Research Institutions: Websites of universities or research institutions specializing in sociology, psychology, or anthropology may publish articles or studies on hypergamy.
  4. Online Articles: Credible news outlets or online magazines (e.g., Psychology Today, Scientific American) sometimes publish articles summarizing research on mate selection and evolutionary psychology.
  5. Encyclopedias and Handbooks: References like the Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science or The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology can provide comprehensive overviews.

It is important that you explore these topics to both gain a greater understanding of the topic but also to confirm our findings.

Statement About Victim Blaming

Some of our articles discuss various aspects of victims. This is both about better understanding victims (the science of victimology) and their behaviors and psychology. This helps us to educate victims/survivors about why these crimes happened and to not blame themselves, better develop recovery programs, and to help victims avoid scams in the future. At times this may sound like blaming the victim, but it does not blame scam victims, we are simply explaining the hows and whys of the experience victims have.

These articles, about the Psychology of Scams or Victim Psychology – meaning that all humans have psychological or cognitive characteristics in common that can either be exploited or work against us – help us all to understand the unique challenges victims face before, during, and after scams, fraud, or cybercrimes. These sometimes talk about some of the vulnerabilities the scammers exploit. Victims rarely have control of them or are even aware of them, until something like a scam happens and then they can learn how their mind works and how to overcome these mechanisms.

Articles like these help victims and others understand these processes and how to help prevent them from being exploited again or to help them recover more easily by understanding their post-scam behaviors. Learn more about the Psychology of Scams at www.ScamPsychology.org

SCARS Resources:

Psychology Disclaimer:

All articles about psychology and the human brain on this website are for information & education only

The information provided in this and other SCARS articles are intended for educational and self-help purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional therapy or counseling.

Note about Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices have the potential to create psychological distress for some individuals. Please consult a mental health professional or experienced meditation instructor for guidance should you encounter difficulties.

While any self-help techniques outlined herein may be beneficial for scam victims seeking to recover from their experience and move towards recovery, it is important to consult with a qualified mental health professional before initiating any course of action. Each individual’s experience and needs are unique, and what works for one person may not be suitable for another.

Additionally, any approach may not be appropriate for individuals with certain pre-existing mental health conditions or trauma histories. It is advisable to seek guidance from a licensed therapist or counselor who can provide personalized support, guidance, and treatment tailored to your specific needs.

If you are experiencing significant distress or emotional difficulties related to a scam or other traumatic event, please consult your doctor or mental health provider for appropriate care and support.

If you are in crisis, feeling desperate, or in despair please call 988 or your local crisis hotline.

PLEASE NOTE: Psychology Clarification

The following specific modalities within the practice of psychology are restricted to psychologists appropriately trained in the use of such modalities:

  • Diagnosis: The diagnosis of mental, emotional, or brain disorders and related behaviors.
  • Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals to understand and resolve unconscious conflicts.
  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of trance in which individuals are more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a type of therapy that teaches individuals to control their bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, and pain.
  • Behavioral analysis: Behavioral analysis is a type of therapy that focuses on changing individuals’ behaviors. It is often used to treat conditions such as autism and ADHD.
    Neuropsychology: Neuropsychology is a type of psychology that focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior. It is often used to assess and treat cognitive impairments caused by brain injuries or diseases.

SCARS and the members of the SCARS Team do not engage in any of the above modalities in relationship to scam victims. SCARS is not a mental healthcare provider and recognizes the importance of professionalism and separation between its work and that of the licensed practice of psychology.

SCARS is an educational provider of generalized self-help information that individuals can use for their own benefit to achieve their own goals related to emotional trauma. SCARS recommends that all scam victims see professional counselors or therapists to help them determine the suitability of any specific information or practices that may help them.

SCARS cannot diagnose or treat any individuals, nor can it state the effectiveness of any educational information that it may provide, regardless of its experience in interacting with traumatized scam victims over time. All information that SCARS provides is purely for general educational purposes to help scam victims become aware of and better understand the topics and to be able to dialog with their counselors or therapists.

It is important that all readers understand these distinctions and that they apply the information that SCARS may publish at their own risk, and should do so only after consulting a licensed psychologist or mental healthcare provider.


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