Cheating on Significant Others

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Women tend to have a higher rate of cheating when they are young but as men move on to an older age group they have higher rates of cheating (Wang). There are different types of cheating a different way people around the globe would define it as. The most common type of cheating that most people think of when they here infidelity is physical, where one of the partner in a relationship have a sexual relationship with another person outside of the relationship. The other type of cheating is emotional, where one of the partners in a relationship has feelings and emotions for someone outside the relationship. The 40% increase of cheating in the United States is caused by a society’s diminishing morals and ideals, evolutionary instincts, or biological factors, but much can be prevented by having strong communication. Cheating at its base “brings together the three key elements: a secretive relationship…; an emotional connection to one degree or another; and a sexual alchemy” (Perel).

Infidelity can be defined in different ways by contrasting groups, some view partners watching porongraphic films as cheating and some do not. It also depends on what a person considers an ideal and perfect relationship, whether letting their partner view explicit content or other things of that nature was ever a part of a quintessential future. Marriage used to be different “marriage was an economic enterprise, infidelity threatened our economic security. But now that marriage is a romantic arrangement, infidelity threatens our emotional security’’ (Perel). In the early 20th century relationships and marriage was to stay wealth or have enough money to get by, but now it is for a deeper reason, love.

Factors from how a person grew up and the environment contribute to the likelihood of whether someone might cheat or not. Males are more likely to cheat on a partner than females, those who attend church once a year or less are more likely to cheat than those who attend once a week or several times a month, and democrats are more likely to than republicans and independents (Wang). The little daily habits and predispositions that everyone has can make them more or less likely to cheat, but just because someone falls into one of the characteristics does not mean that they will ever cheat within their lifetime. Going to church, the cultural environment, and even the status of parents relationship while growing up can affect the morals and ideals of future and current relationships. The technology that has been rapidly developing in recent years also affects the chances of cheating on a spouse due to it being easier to communicate with more people and because of that “it's never been easier to cheat, and it's never been more difficult to keep a secret” (Perel).

Biological and evolutionary instincts may be a reason for infidelity within a relationship. The way we think naturally may be to blame if a partner choose to cheat on the other, women may cheat due to a natural urge to reproduce and if she does not have a current suitable partner then she may seek out one that is (Cox). People have what is called a “biological clock” its when the reproductive organs start to decline in productivity, that is why women need feel the need to reproduce early on in life or they may fail to do so, and for men biologically there is no need for them to stay around and raise the children (Cox). People may also cheat because humans have the ability of loving more than one person at a time, “you can feel deep attachment to a long-term partner while you feel intense romantic love for somebody else, while you feel the sex drive for people unrelated to these other partners” (Fisher). Infidelity may be caused by a desire for a sexual, romantic, or attachment relationship (Fisher). Due to a society that tells people that monogamy is the only way to go and that polygamy is a taboo, people must find one person to fill all of the needs that humans naturally lust for.

Infidelity may be a hormone produced by the brain or one of the many genes lurking in DNA. Vasopressin, a hormone produced in the brain, may cause more infidelity associated behaviors and “women who carry certain variants of the vasopressin receptor gene are much more likely to engage in ‘extra pair bonding’” (Friedman). In women there was found to be an understandable link between vasopressin and infidelity like behaviors although it is inconclusive in men, vasopressin creates behaviors such as trust and sexual bonding (Friedman). Dopamine is the hormone that makes a person feel good and a variation of the D4 receptor may lead to more “infidelity and sexual promiscuity” (Garcia). In the Dopamine study there was a significant percentage more of people who partook in sexual promiscuity with the 7R+ variation than those with the 7R- variation of dopamine (Garcia). Studies focused on different hormones reveal that genes play a significant role in whether a person might or might not cheat on their spouse or significant other. Having any of these genes tested mat never give a definite answer to whether cheating might be at play, trust in a partner is the only solution.

Cheating on a partner can not always be pinned on genetics or the environment sometimes people just have to change communications methods and coping skills. Many use negative ways to prevent their partner from cheating on them such as crowding them and prevent them from forming outside relationships, threatening the other that they might might leave or hurt themselves, or manipulating the other into feeling guilty (Nicholson). People use these negative tactics to control their partner ruling in fear rather than what a relationship is supposed to be which is full of love. Other than those methods being a horrible way to treat a significant other “techniques that were violent, negative, or directly controlling tended to be less effective” (Nicholson). The obvious and most basic solution would be strengthen the communication between partners because that would lead each partner knowing exactly what the other wants out of the relationship. Other approaches you can take are emphasizing love and care by verbal and physical declarations of love, enhancing physical appearance by dressing up a little, and rewarding them with attention or gift (Nicholson). Though it may be first instinct to yell or manipulate the other person into the “perfect partner” there is no such thing real love is dealing with all of the other persons idiosyncrasies and accepting them for who they are.

Out of a survey of currently married or those who have been married before there was 16% of people who had extramarital relationships (Wang). At the end of the day what is really considered cheating, viewing porn, having dating apps, talking to those who are the opposite sex? Humans have evolved and have created more than could ever been dreamed but humans will still have the instincts they have had for the past thousands of years and continue to have them as the future marches on. What we are made up of can define a person or they can define themselves. People must start using positive reinforcement instead of being the nightmarish dictator villainized in the media, trust and support is the only thing that will pull a relationship along its tracks and over all the bumps in the road. Relationships can be broken by the factors of someone's environment, genes, or instincts but people should not let that define who or what they will be in life.

Works Cited

  1. Cox, Donald. “The Evolutionary Biology and Economics of Sexual Behavior and Infidelity.” Boston College, Dec. 2008.
  2. Fisher, Helen, director. Why We Love, Why We Cheat. Ted, Ted, Feb. 2006,
  3. Friedman, Richard A. “Infidelity Lurks in Your Genes.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 May 2015,®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=37&pgtype=collection.
  4. Garcia, Justin R., et al. “Associations between Dopamine D4 Receptor Gene Variation with Both Infidelity and Sexual Promiscuity.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, 30 Nov. 2010,
  5. Nicholson, Jeremy. “How to Prevent Infidelity and Adultery.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 31 Jan. 2014,
  6. Perel, Esther, director. Rethinking Infidelity... a Talk for Anyone Who Has Ever Loved. Ted, Ted,
  7. Mar. 2015,
  9. Wang, Wendy. “Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Infidelity in America.” Institute for Family Studies, 10 Jan. 2018,
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Cheating on Significant Others. (2021, Dec 28). Retrieved September 30, 2023 , from

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