London: Ever been dumped by a friend embarking on a romance? It may be due to the limited number of people we can have as close and intimate friends.
Oxford University scientists say that every time we begin a romance, we drop two of our closest friends as most of us simply don`t have enough time for intimate friendships with more than four or five people, reports the Daily Mail.
A new love interest causes one to dump two friends out of one`s inner circle.
Prof Robin Dunbar, a leading expert in evolutionary biology from Oxford, explained: "If you go into a romantic relationship, it actually costs you two friends in that inner core of relationships.
"Instead of having the typical five friends, they only have four in that inner circle. And bearing in mind that one of those is the new person that has come into your life, it means you have to give up two others."
Men tend to have four or five intimate friends, women five or six, he said.
However, men were just as likely to jettison friends at the start of a new romantic attachment as women, found the study of those aged 18 to 60.
"Your attention is so wholly focused on the romantic partners, you just don`t get to see the other folks you had a lot to do with before," Prof Dunbar told the British Science Festival in Birmingham. "Those relationships start to deteriorate."
But it`s not just romance that can push out close friends, he explained. Children or buying a dog can have the same effect.