Feeling detached from their partner and having low satisfaction with the relationship are among people’s top reasons for cheating, a study shows.
Availability of another suitable partner is also a crucial predictor of whether people cheat or not.
Factors that surprisingly did not have much impact were relationship commitment and length, the University of Queensland study found.
Both personality factors and relationship history were also important in whether people cheated on their partner.
People who are more impulsive were more likely to cheat.
Impulsive people tend to act on their immediate thoughts and emotions without thinking about the consequences.
Cheating was also more likely by people who had had more sexual partners.
The conclusions come from a survey of 123 heterosexual people aged 17 to 25, all of whom were currently in a relationship.
Among many questions, they were asked whether they had cheated by kissing or having sex outside the relationship.
The study’s authors found…
“…quality of alternatives to be the strongest predictor of both extradyadic sex inclination and extradyadic kissing inclination, suggesting that it may be a key determinant of individuals’ inclination to engage in extradyadic activities.”
Those who have had more sexual partners in the past may be more inclined to cheat because they have learned the ‘trick’ of seduction.
The authors write:
“Participants who had experienced sexual intimacy with a greater number of partners also reported greater extradyadic sex and extradyadic kissing inclination.
This inclination may be attributable to the individuals’ skills at recognizing sexual advances or recruitment of sex partners.”
Finally, men were more likely to cheat by having sex outside the relationship.
However, both men and women were equally likely to cheat by kissing outside their relationship.
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 British Journal of Psychology (McAlister et al., 2005).