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New Theories on Why Men and Women Cheat

Infidelity has been a popular talking point and contentious issue during the U.S. presidential campaign. In the U.K., a leading law firm specializing in divorce released results of a recent survey. The Stater and Gordon law firm shows that men and women differ on the definition of cheating. The firm found that 1/3 of their clients didn’t find sexting to be cheating, 34% of men and 49% women.

Women, it seems, view emotional betrayal as cheating while men view the act itself as cheating. Dr. David Buss, founder of the field of evolutionary psychology and professor at the University of Texas who authored the book “The Evolution of Desire: Strategies for Human Mating”, says,

Men are more likely to define infidelity narrowly, strictly on sexual infidelity terms. Women define infidelity more broadly, to include “emotional infidelity” or a partner becoming psychologically intimate with someone else.

Breaking up is hard to do

Breaking up is so hard to do

The question arises as to why bonded partners cheat. The reasons people cheat on their partners are varied. Some partners are bored while others seek sexual variety. Some do it for revenge. Others stray because they are spiritually or emotionally dissatisfied. Adventure seeking is another, as is seeking a replacement mate. Men seem to cheat more for sexual variety. Women tend to cheat because they are unhappy, seek to get out of a bad relationship, to see if someone better is out there or to ‘trade up” to a better mate.

Duana Welch, PhD, a developmental psychologist and relationship expert and author of “Love Factually,” says,

We know from science that for women, two major reasons are loneliness and the search for better genes. The first reason is conscious: women are aware that they’re lonely, and loneliness does make women more vulnerable to involvement with someone else who makes them feel heard and loved. The second reason is totally non-conscious where they chose the best-looking man around. Women did choose men who were best-looking to have affairs with; those men do in fact have superior immune systems that aid their children’s survival and the women tended to have sex with these guys during their fertile days of the month, having “maintenance sex” with their mates on non-fertile

As for men, Welch adds,

Happily married men are as likely to cheat as unhappily married men. The more chances there are and the greater number on women who express sexual interest, the higher the odds that a man will cheat.

Recent studies have shown that, in the end, the woman whose man has “done her wrong,” ends up the winner. Dr. Craig Morris, behavioral anthropologist, evolutionist and research associate at Binghamton University in New York State conducted a scientific study.

Love may, or may not, prevail in the end.

Love may, or may not, prevail in the end.

Researchers from Binghamton University and University College in London anonymously surveyed 5,705 participants from 96 countries. The online survey was the largest study ever conducted on relationship dissolution. The researchers observed the long-term consequences of losing a mate to cheating as it relates to personal development. The results were interesting.

Dr. Morris says,

Our thesis is that the woman who “loses” her mate to another woman will go through a period of post-relationship grief and betrayal, but come out of the experience with higher mating intelligence that allows her to better detect cues in future mates that may indicate low mate value. Hence, in the long term, she “wins.” The “other woman” conversely, is now in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception and, likely, infidelity. Thus, in the long-term, she “loses.”

Is it any wonder that people who cheat on their spouses tend to be married three or more times?