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5 things you didn’t know about infidelity:

1) Women who wear the pants in the relationship are more likely to cheat:

The imbalance of power in the primary relationship has been associated with infidelity. Edwards and Booth (1976) found that wives who reported that they “get their way” more often during disagreements were also more likely to have extramarital sexual involvements.

Source: Tsapelas, I, HE Fisher, and A Aron (2010) “Infidelity: when, where, why.” IN WR Cupach and BH Spitzberg, The Dark Side of Close Relationships II, New York: Routledge, pp 175-196.

2) An imbalance in education increases the chance of cheating:

…in a large U.S. national study of dating, cohabiting, and married women, Forste and Tanfer (1996) found that women who were more educated than their husbands were more likely to engage in sexual infidelity; but if the husband was more educated than the wife, she was less likely to philander. Level of education relative to that of the partner appears to be more important than absolute level of education.

3) Jobs have a lot to do with whether people have an affair:

Individuals who work outside the home while their partners remain in the home also express higher rates of extramarital sexual involvement (Atkins et al., 2001), perhaps because the work environment provides the opportunity and time to get to know coworkers (Treas & Giesen, 2000). In clinical samples, 46% to 62% of individuals reported that they met their extramarital sexual partner at work (Glass, 2003; Wiggins & Lederer, 1984). The likelihood of extramarital involvement is also related to the degree to which an individual’s job involves touching clients, discussing personal concerns with colleagues or clients, or working alone with co-workers (Treas & Giesen, 2000).

4) The timing of infidelity is predictable:

Among married women, the likelihood of extramarital involvement peaks in the seventh year of marriage, then declines; but among married men, the likelihood of extramarital involvement decreases over time until the eighteenth year of matrimony, after which the likelihood of extramarital involvement increases (Liu, 2000). Similarly, in a sample of couples in therapy for infidelity, sexual infidelity first occurred after an average of seven years of marriage (Wiggins & Lederer, 1984). Lawson and Samson (1988) reported, however, that the length of marriage prior to initial sexual infidelity is decreasing with younger cohorts. Certain developmental stages in a marriage, including pregnancy and the months following the birth of a child, are also high risk times for infidelity among males (Allen & Baucom, 2001; Brown, 1991; Whisman et al., 2007).

5) Most men that cheat claim to have a happy marriage:

…regardless of the many correlations between relationship dissatisfaction and adultery, Glass and Wright (1985) reported that among individuals engaging in infidelity, 56% of men and 34% of women rate their marriage as “happy” or “very happy.”

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About Eric Barker