Why People Cheat: 12 Differences Between Men And Women

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Cheating in committed relationships is more common than most of us would like to believe. Though the majority of Americans said in one survey that marital infidelity was always wrong, another survey found that a quarter of men and 15 per cent of women have cheated on their spouses.

Those numbers indicate that men are more likely to have cheated than women. When it comes to infidelity, are there other differences between how men and women behave? And how has that changed over the last few years?

Here are 12 things you should know about cheating — some of them might surprise you!

More Women Think Infidelity Is Wrong

In the General Social Survey, which tracks how Americans think on a variety of issues, a majority of men and women both said that infidelity when married is always wrong — but more women agree. At least 78 per cent of men think cheating is never okay when you’re hitched, while 84 per cent of women share that sentiment.

In the 1970s, those numbers were 63 per cent and 73 per cent respectively, so both men and women are more likely today to be anti-infidelity, and the gap between the sexes on the subject has narrowed over the time.

Men Are More Likely To Have Cheated

Data from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy says that approximately 25 per cent of husbands and 15 per cent of wives have had sex with someone else while married. However, the fact that people are not necessarily eager to admit that they’ve been unfaithful — even anonymously — those numbers could be higher in reality.

Women Are More Likely To Cheat Now Than They Used To

More women are committing adultery today than reported doing so in the past. A 2010 survey by the National Opinion Research Center found that women are 40 per cent more likely to cheat today than they were 20 years ago. Some researchers think this is because more of them are in the workforce, and because more women today have jobs that require them to travel.
It’s Also Not Necessarily About Looks

Neuman’s research indicated that 88 per cent of men who cheated didn’t do so with someone more attractive than or fitter than their wives. But people who are perceived as more attractive — whether it’s because they have looks, money, education, or power — are overall more likely to cheat.

Cheaters Rarely Tell

Fifty-five per cent of the men in Neuman’s study either lied when presented with evidence of their infidelity, or just didn’t tell their wives it had happened.

Men Are More Forgiving

A study from the University of Texas found that 50 per cent of men said they’d forgive their female partner if she cheated with a woman, but only 22 per cent would forgive if she cheated with a man. Women felt differently — 21 per cent said they’d forgive if their male partner was unfaithful with a man, but 28 would forgive an affair with a woman. The researchers indicated that the difference may be because many men find female-on-female sex to be erotic, and because a woman’s affair with another woman can’t result in pregnancy.

Most Men Didn’t Hate Their Marriages

In one survey, 54 per cent of men who had cheated said that before the affair, they thought their marriage wasn’t bad — or was even good. Just 34 per cent of women who had cheated felt the same. The study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in 2008, found that those who defined their marriages as “not too happy” were three times more likely to cheat than those who said their marriages were “very happy,” and even people whose marriages they described as “pretty happy” were twice as likely to cheat as the “very happy” respondents.