Infidelity Causes and Predictors

Ifidelity Explained By la Jolla Lawyer
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La Jolla, CA – Studies show that 93 percent of Americans think infidelity is morally wrong.

Still, it happens. And according to a survey by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, female philanderers are catching up with their male counterparts for the first time on record, CBS reported.

The Kinsey Institute found that 19.2 percent of women admit to cheating during their current relationship, compared to 23.2 percent of men.

Psychotherapist Esther Perel, who has studied infidelity for more than a decade, chalks up the narrowing of the gap between the sexes to “emancipation.”

“Leaving, the potential of being able to go, the potential of not having to accept it,” Perel told CBS Sunday Morning recently. “I mean, part of why families have been preserved is because women made the compromise more than men.”

Some experts say infidelity is part of nature. People are equipped to love more than one person, said Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at the Kinsey Institute.

Fisher studied adultery in 42 cultures and discovered that “they all fall in love, they all marry, and they all are adulterous. Not everybody’s adulterous, but in every single culture that I’ve looked at, there’s some people who are adulterous, which maybe you have to wonder why?”

“Let’s go back a million years,” she continued. “A man has one wife and has two children. But if he occasionally goes over the hill and sleeps with another woman and has two extra children, he’s doubled the amount of DNA he has sent into tomorrow.”

Signs of Infidelity

Still, adultery causes a great deal of pain. How can you tell if you’re in a relationship with someone who may act upon their wandering eyes?

A study published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” in February identified factors that lead to infidelity, and ways of preventing it, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Florida State University psychology researchers tracked 233 newly married couples for more than three years and documented intimate details about their relationships, including whether either of the partners in each couple had ever strayed.

To determine the likelihood of infidelity, the researchers tested two psychological processes that everyone shares in varying degrees: attentional disengagement and evaluative devaluation of potential romantic partners.

Disengagement from possible partners is the ability to direct attention away from an attractive person who could be considered a romantic option, the Tallahassee Democrat article stated. Devaluation of possible partners is the tendency to mentally downgrade the attractiveness of another person, even if he or she is especially pleasing to the eye.

In a test involving couples who were recently married, researchers showed them images of attractive and average-looking men and women. They found that participants who quickly disengaged their attention from an attractive person were less likely to be unfaithful. In fact, those who looked away “in as little as a few hundred milliseconds faster than average were nearly 50 percent less likely to have sex outside marriage,” the article stated.

On the other hand, those who gazed longer at the images of attractive people before looking away were at increased risk of infidelity.

The reactions tend to be automatic, researcher Jim McNulty told the Democrat.

“People are not necessarily aware of what they’re doing or why they’re doing it,” McNulty said. “These processes are largely spontaneous and effortless, and they may be somewhat shaped by biology and/or early childhood experiences.”

The strongest indicators of infidelity identified in the study included:

  • Age- Younger people were at higher risk of being unfaithful
  • People who are less satisfied with their relationships
  • People who were satisfied with sex in their relationships

Among women, infidelity rates were higher the less attractive the women were. Men also were more likely to be unfaithful the less attractive their partners were.

No Fault

Infidelity hurts, but in California, it doesn’t give you an advantage during a divorce if you’ve been cheated on. California was the first to pass no-fault legislation in 1970. California is among multiple states that only allow you to file for divorce on no-fault grounds. The laws don’t offer an option to cast blame.

If you’re considering divorce, speak to an attorney who specializes in family law and can help you navigate the process appropriately. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.

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