Sorry ladies: Men feel the least stressed and most secure when they are with their bros, not their romantic partners.
That's the conclusion of a study conducted late last year by researchers from Germany's University of Gottingen.
The team studied the influence different social environments had on the stress levels of Barbary macaques, apes that closely resemble the behavior of humans when they are grouped together, according to Daily Mail.
In the study, male macaques were put under stress while they were with either their female partners, family members or other male macaques.
Researchers did this by lowering the temperatures around them or making them feel threatened by an outsider to their social circle.
The male apes became very stressed in these situations when with their partners or relatives but didn't panic as much in the company of their male friends.
This was the case for both highly authoritative males at the top of their social hierarchy aand those much lower in rank.
Researchers also found the only males with stress-related illnesses were those with female partners.
They ultimately determined that, very much like humans, macaques find safety in numbers and feel more relaxed when they know it's not solely up to one of them to protect their company.
Dr. Christopher Young, who works at the school's Primate Social Evolution Group, said,
Male macaques form social bonds similar to human friendships that buffer them against day-to-day stressors. If male primates live in multimale groups they usually fight fiercely over access to females, but males can develop friendly relationships with a few group mates. The strength of these 'friendships' has now been shown to buffer against the negative effects of social and environmental stressors.
It seems that male apes are more stressed around their female partners in part because the females wouldn't be able to provide the same protection as other males should a threat arise.
The team noted that male apes picking bothersome insects out of each other's hair is a gesture to show that they have a friend's back by keeping an eye on his well-being.
This research was originally published in scientific journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.