In an article inspired by Megan McAllister, fiancee of the accused "Craigslist Killer," Newsweek lists the psychological reasons at work when "a woman makes the seemingly irrational decision to stand by her man."
Writer Wray Herbert applies to McAllister four cognitive mechanisms that are not necessarily related to the horror of finding out a loved one has committed murder. Perhaps she is suffering from "the endowment effect," which in studies showed that people who already owned tickets to a basketball game overvalued them when asked to sell. Or maybe she's experiencing "loss aversion," as she is "facing a huge loss-the end of her dreams, symbolized by her canceled summer wedding plans." We've all wondered why McAllister stuck by Philip Markoff for so long, but it's impossible to understand what she's going through from a few random findings about the human brain. But, we can guess that a man would be just as traumatized, and have just as much difficulty knowing when to call it quits, were the situation reversed.
Standing By The Craigslist Killer [Newsweek]