One thing that you should not do, is cheat. It’s not very nice and is generally frowned upon – stop it, if at all possible. But what constitutes as cheating? In my opinion, if you’re not sure, then it’s probably cheating. Best to stay on the safe side.
But hey, people are people, and people cheat. Business Insider recognised this, and compiled 13 very important facts about infidelity, which you should probably know. Would you like to know them? Yes you would. Proceed:
1. If you're economically dependent on your spouse, you're more likely to cheat on them
An American Sociological Review study conducted in 2015 spoke to 2800 people from 18-32 and found that someone who is completely dependent on their partner (in terms of money) is more likely to cheat. Particularly if they’re a bloke: 15% of men who were completely financially dependent on their wives cheated, but only 5% of women did.
2. Men and women react differently to flirting outside their relationship
A 2008 study in Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes found that after men had a bit of a naughty flirt with someone, they were less tolerant of any naughty flirting their partner was doing. Women felt the opposite: after flirting, they were more likely to let their partners off.
3. We feel differently based on the sex of the person our partner cheats with
A 2015 study in the journal Personal Relationships, in which people read about hypothetical scenarios in which their partner had shagged away, found that the sex of the person being shagged changes things. Men were more likely to be angry and call things off if their wives had done it with a bloke, but were more likely to be aroused if they’d bumped uglies with a lady.
Women, however, were more inclined to end their relationships if their partners had a same-sex fling.
4. We think everyone is cheating, except our partner
The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found in 2015 that the average person has a 42% chance of cheating. But those asked reckoned there was only a 5% chance that their partner had strayed away from home in the past, and an 8% chance that they would in the future. In reality, 9% admitted (so there were probably more) that they already had done a whoopsie.
5. Straight men are more distressed by sexual infidelity; straight women are more distressed by emotional infidelity
Research published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology found that most heterosexual men would be irked if their girlfs were having sex with someone else, but were not in love with them. Women felt the opposite way: they’d be sadder if their boyf had fallen in love, but not actually gone there.
6. Men are more likely to cheat when they have a milestone birthday coming up
In 2014, research into the creepy dating site Ashley Madison found that men were more likely to want to “spread their wings” when their age ends in the number 9. So basically, right before they reach a nice even milestone age. The effect was similar with women, but not as prominent.
7. Your genes may influence how likely you are to stray
A study conducted at the University of Queensland found that you can actually be biologically more likely to cheat. Infidelity was way more common in people who had particular types of oxytocin and vasopressin receptor genes, annoyingly. Vasopressin is a hormone that’s related to social behaviour, involving trust, empathy and the ole chestnut: sexual bonding.
Those clever science bods Down Under found that this genetic make up lead to 40% of cheating sessions in women and 62% in men. What a fantastic excuse. I’m using it.
8. It's possible to repair a relationship after someone's cheated
Obviously this one is true – you’ve just got to go about it the right way (the repairing, not the cheating). M. Gary Neuman, creator of the Creating Your Best Marriage video programme, has three steps to mending a damaged relationship. They are, for your reference, as follows:
1. The cheater has to feel some remorse and want to change their life
2. The victim has to make sure the cheater has completely stopped cheating
3. The victim probably shouldn't ask sensitive questions about what exactly went on between the cheater and the other person
So no asking how big his willy was, basically.
9. Women are now just as likely to cheat as men
Although the common idea is that men are all sex-having truants, New York Magazine found that actually, they’re about as likely to do it as women are.
A 2011 study in Archives of Sexual Behavior found that 23% of men and 19% of women in heterosexual relationships admitted to being a bad boyfriend/girlfriend and playing in an away match.
10. Younger people are now less likely to cheat than older people
An analysis by Nicholas Wolfinger at the Institute for Family Studies found that Americans over 55 are the naughtiest age group, while those below that are a bit nicer. This is a new thing though: back in 2000 it was the youngsters who were testing the greenness of the grass on the other side of the fence. Wolfinger reckons that it’s down to people in their 50s and 60s coming of age during the sexual revolution. The dirty old sods.
11. Emotional affairs are becoming increasingly common
Research carried out by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy found that 45% of men and 35% of women admitted to having an ‘emotional’ affair (so no sex, essentially). Only 20% of the same people admitted to actually touching genitals rather than brains.
12. Morality is the main factor keeping married people from cheating
Slightly obvious this, but a 2017 study in the Journal of Sex Research found that it was our old friend, morality, that stopped the most people from cheating. Other reasons included the effect it would have on the children, the fear of being alone forever, and the effect on other people, including the sneaky extramarital employee. Morality was most common amongst religious people, and those not interested in the big man in the sky chose the effect on children as their main reason.
13. You're more likely to cheat if you've cheated before
A 2017 study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior followed 500 adults through two mixed-gender relationships. The people in the study were asked to admit if they veered off course, and also if they suspected their partners of borrowing their neighbour’s sugar. The results were interesting: those that had made the beast with three backs in their first relationship were a whopping three times more likely to cheat again in the next relationship. Those that didn’t cheat were most likely to stick to their guns and not do it in the future.
Also, those who had been cheated on in the past were more likely to suspect their current partner was being a sneaky Simon behind their back.
So yeah, some good facts there for you. But really, if you’re going to take anything away from this article, it’s quite simple: do not cheat.
Unless they’re really, reeeeeally fit. No. Sorry. Just don’t do it.
(Image: Sabina Ciesielska)