Helen Fisher, PhD, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University, sought to find out why couples cheat on each other. Her studies concluded that 56 percent of men are happy in their marriage; yet, they still cheat.
However, the statistics compiled by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy suggest that 25 percent of men reported having sexual encounters outside of their marriage. The association goes on to say that if simple kissing is included in the definition of sexual encounters then the statistics jumped to about 45 percent.
On the other, Helen Fisher found in her study, that 34 percent of women who were happy in their marriage had an extramarital affair. These statistics differ from the statistics offered by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy noting, 15 percent of women admit to cheating, and like the men, if we add simple things like just kissing the statistics go up to 35 percent.
The men in Helen Fisher’s study were often motivated by the thrill of the sexual encounter; whereas, the women wanted to supplement their marriage with a new sexual partner. Or, they wanted to end their marriage because of it. From both sources of statistical findings it can be extrapolated that women are less likely to cheat on their husbands.
More demographics on cheating
According to the National Marriage Project study, more educated individuals are less likely to cheat on their spouse. The study points to 13 percent of college educated couples who report having cheated, 19 percent of people who hadn’t completed college, and 23 percent of individuals with high school education or less who have reported cheating on their spouse.
One interesting finding coming out the Cornell University study is that men are more likely to cheat on their wives when their wives are the main breadwinner in the family. However, the research qualifies that when other factors were taken into consideration such as education, relationship levels, income levels, and religion beliefs the statistics even out.
In addition, the same study found that, men are also more likely to cheat if they are the main breadwinner. They seem to be less likely to cheat if their spouses make an equal salary or up to 75 percent of their salaries.
Difference reasons for cheating on a spouse.
According to WebMD reasons for cheating are different for men and women. As stated above, men often look for an affair for sexual gratification. They often want the special attention they receive from the other person. Women, on the other hand, seek out a new sexual partner because of an emotional need. They are often lonely.
Though one would think that infidelity is the main reason for a divorce, WebMD states that, the stats show that incompatibility or failure to communicate are the reasons most often cited as for a marital breakup.
Do cheaters leave subtle clues indicating they may be cheating?
The experts say there are certain cues that may indicate that a spouse is cheating. These clues include constant criticism of their partner. This behavior is used to justify their reason for cheating, by making the partner out to be the one at fault. A sudden change in appearance and unsolicited gifts may also be indicators of a cheating spouse. Of course, we must take into consideration that a spouse may not be cheating even though they exhibit these behaviours.
Some isolated research on cheating
Though there is no solid proof, some new research shows that the DRD4 gene, which is associated with feeling good, can contribute to infidelity, the same way that it can lead to excessive eating, drinking, or gambling.
What you should do if you think your spouse is cheating
It is common knowledge that a healthy marriage involves trust. On that premise, WebMD advises, that betrayed spouses must discuss their feelings about the situation. It is much better to get the feelings and solutions out in the open, before the situation gets worse.
However, WebMD cautions against snooping to find out for sure. The trouble with snooping is that it also destroys trust in the marriage. WebMD states that, oftentime, one can prove that a spouse is cheating, but it is much harder to prove the reverse. WebMD goes on to say the damage from the breech of trust in a marriage is often worse than the infidelity.
Couple therapy is often beneficial for couples facing issues of infidelity. If the marriage is to survive trust must once again prevail. Couple therapy can help rebuild the trust within the marriage.