Seven Truths About Infidelity
Over the last few weeks, we’ve explored gender specific reasons as to why women and men cheat. This week, we thought we’d take a gender neutral look at some of the most interesting facts surrounding infidelity. The following is a compilation of seven truths regarding extramarital affairs:
Infidelity is widespread. Although the majority of human beings will remain faithful to their partners, a surprisingly high number of men and women will commit adultery across their lifetime. Statistics dictate that 20-40% of heterosexual married men and 20-25% of heterosexual married woman will engage in infidelity at one point or another.
Brain architecture may contribute to cheating. Human beings have three primary brain functions related to love:
- Sex drive - motivates individuals to have sex with a variety of partners.
- Romantic love - influences people to focus their energy on specific partners.
- Partner attachment - encourages humans to form committed relationships which allows for successful reproduction and rearing of children.
These three neural systems interact with each other to produce a range of emotions, motivations and behaviours required to fuel the complex human reproductive process. However, the flaw with this strategy is that it’s biologically possible to feel all three of these motivations with three different partners (sex drive for one, romantic love with another, and partner attachment with a third).
Infidelity transcends culture. Cheating has been documented for centuries across a variety of different cultures and religions. Affairs were common amongst classical Romans and Greeks, pre-industrial Europeans, historical Chinese, Japanese and Hindus, as well as many other tribal societies.
Different types of infidelity exist. Researchers have expanded the definition of cheating to include:
- Sexual infidelity - exchanging sexual acts without romantic connections.
- Romantic infidelity - exchanges of romance without sexual pleasure.
- Sexual and romantic infidelity - exchanging both romantic and sexual favours for one another.
Multiple factors contribute to cheating. As explored in our previous two blog articles, there are a myriad of cultural, psychological and economic variables that can influence the expression and frequency of infidelity.
Humans are attracted to unavailable men and women. Commonly referred to as “mate poaching”, people seem to be drawn to individuals who are in a committed relationship. It is reported that 60% of American men and 53% of American women have admitted to attempting to attract and seduce an individual already in a committed partnership.
Committing infidelity doesn’t always signal an unhappy relationship. Perhaps surprisingly, 56% of men and 34% of women who have cheated rated their marriage as “happy” or “very happy”, suggesting that other factors may play a more important role in explaining infidelity.
As expert investigators, our job is to determine whether a relationship exists outside the marriage.
Then an educated decision about options and the motive can be formulated.
Don't jump the gun without proof, legal advise and some family support.