People who earn less than their partner are more likely to cheat on them than those earning equal amounts, a study concludes.
Men may be more tempted to cheat in this situation because they feel threatened by their partner’s income.
However, men earning much more than their female partner are also more likely to cheat than those earning equal amounts.
Similarly, women were more likely to cheat when dependent on their partner — although not if they earned more.
Explaining the findings, Dr Christin Munsch, the study’s author, said:
“At one end of the spectrum, making less money than a female partner may threaten men’s gender identity by calling into question the traditional notion of men as breadwinners.
At the other end of the spectrum, men who make a lot more money than their partners may be in jobs that offer more opportunities for cheating like long work hours, travel, and higher incomes that make cheating easier to conceal.”
The conclusions come from a study of 18- to 28-year-old married and cohabiting couples.
All had been married for at least one year.
The results showed that men whose income is either significantly higher or lower than than their female partner are more likely to cheat on them.
Men who were most faithful generally had partners who earned around 75% of their own income.
In the six month period of the study, 3.8% of men reported cheating on their partner, while 1.4% of women reported cheating.
Women who earned more than their partners, though, were actually less likely to cheat on them.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal American Sociological Review (Munsch et al., 2015).