Courtship Chemistry Blog

Courtship Chemistry

CR4's only blog that examines social science. This includes anthropology, public health, history, linguistics and psychology. The principles that govern daily human life and interactions are often overlooked, but are as important as any technology.

Previous in Blog: What Women Want   Next in Blog: You Found Love Where?

Is Infidelity Predicatable?

Posted June 21, 2012 7:17 AM by HUSH

So…we're again reaching into the back of HUSH's mind to produce an anecdote that will segue into a good CR4 post for Courtship Chemistry. Are you prepared? I'm not.

A couple years ago, I was dating a very beautiful woman. Think Vicki Vale kind of beautiful. Anyway, we had spent about three months casually seeing each other, but we never had "the talk." The talk I'm referring to, of course, is the one that defines a couple's relationship. If "the truth shall set you free," then the talk will deprive you equally so.

...via Bernos

Yet, there can be a damning grey area before this talk arises. And in the case of my Vicki Vale, my procrastination of the talk tempted Vicki to the fruit of another. It was a lesson learned the hard way, as lessons of love are often taught.

I wonder though, what made Vicki consider her options? Is there a scientific conclusion? And even if Vicki didn't cheat, what causes infidelity. I did some digging, so let's see what you think about my shallow conclusions from what I found. Mmmmkay?

...via Sure Villa

It turns out fidelity is linked to something called 'attachment theory.' Essentially, attachment theory explains how people think, feel and behave in interpersonal relationships. Humans have their first experiences with attachment theory during the toddler stages of life, where the youngster uses their parents as a springboard and emotional measuring stick for their physical actions. The style of attachment between the parent and the child can be boiled down to one of four styles.

...via Wikimedia

These four styles of attachment roughly translate to romantic and sexual adult relationships. The four types of attachment for adults are secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. Securely-attached individuals are confident of their partners and relationships, and can develop a good balance of intimacy and independence. Anxious-preoccupied adults are very dependent, and seek approval and response from the partners often. These individuals are less confident of their relationships and partner, and are more prone to worry and emotional impulsiveness. Dismissive-avoidant attachment styles are characterized by suppressed feelings, extreme independence, and low-opinions of their partners. Like dismissive-avoidant individuals, fearful-avoidant individuals suppress emotions, but often believe they are the ones unworthy in the relationship.

Out of these four, secure individuals are the least likely to cheat on their partners, while anxious-preoccupied individuals are most likely to cheat. This is due to their extreme need for approval and attention, and even a mild affection holdout from their significant other could be enough to push them to "the cheating side of town." Avoidant-attachment individuals tend to have "average" rates of cheating, or at least median rates.

...via Venus Genus

However, if we're looking at cheaters as individuals, it's probably worth looking at the subjective nature of cheating. Some people may thinking cheating starts at flirting, and others may say it starts when "the nipple makes its first appearance."

Studies have found that twice as many men as women say they'd be upset more by sexual infidelity than by emotional infidelity. This could be traced back to an evolutionary behavior providing incentive for both partners. If a woman becomes impregnated by another man, then her spouse loses her ability to reproduce for at least nine months, and he'll be left with another man's child which could take resources from his own offspring. This is in contrast to if a woman developed feelings for another man, but she did not have intercourse with that man. On the flip side, a woman would care more about her male mate's emotional infidelity, because that is essentially what commits the man to the woman, the family, and their preservation. Intercourse outside of this relationship is less likely to lead to him abandoning her than if he were to develop feelings for another woman.

...via Author's Den

That's not to say males were unconcerned with the affections of their women, or that women were unconcerned with where their husbands may lie at night. Evidence only suggests that these factors are diminished in comparison. Evidence also suggest that because of the traditional male role model (tough, domineering, emotionless), men are more likely to have dismissive or fearful-avoidant attachment styles, while women-whose traditional gender roles (yuck!) instill compassion and emotional development-are more likely to have secure attachment styles. Again, we're speaking in generalizations here, so deviations always occur.

Does that make men more likely cheat? Not so, says Men's Health, who-not surprisingly with its readership base-lays the blame of male cheating on the biological need to reproduce, inattentive spouses, and boredom.

...via How to Stop Divorce

Does the perception exist that men cheat more than women? Yes. In large part this is from media coverage. TIME author Jeffrey Kluger believes that cheating men are more visible because they abuse their power. Think Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Tiger Woods. Kluger also believes that there is more public outcry, and therefore coverage, because these already successful men are living a life provided the admiration of proletariat, and they should have the moral fiber not to abuse it.

So, let's get a wrap on this. Was HUSH's Vicki Vale one of many wolves in a sheepish disguise? It seems more likely that men and women cheat at about the same rate . However, some recent studies have signaled that women cheat more than men; they're just better at keeping it a secret.


Science of Relationships - How Not to Get Played; Gurls (and Boys) Gone Wild: Commitment and Infidelity during Spring Break

News Olio: Relationship advice: What causes infidelity?

The Daily Beast: Of Sex and 'Soulmates'


Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Canada - Member - New Member Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Up North
Posts: 540
Good Answers: 30

Re: Is Infidelity Predicatable?

06/21/2012 8:37 AM

It seems to me that if we spent more time making sure we've got the right partner...

You never mentioned what age group, country or economic situation these people fit into.

I got married late in life. My late teens, twenties and most of my thirties were spent chasing, apprehending and conquering a wide variety of women. I was also gainfully employed, which helps. During that time, I learned what woman want, what I like in a woman, what women like about me and who I am. I was 36 when I met Mrs. North. I knew I had a keeper fairly early on, and I like to think it's because of what I learned throughout my life. She knew early on too due to her own life experiences.

We just celebrated 12 years of marriage last week, and we're going strong. We've got two beautiful children, a wonderful home and power tools. I've never wanted to stray and she knows I adore her. Why would either of one of us take a chance and wreck it all? Besides, there's no need to stray. I guess we are both "secure" in our relationship with eachother.

Steve of the North...since 1962.
CR4 Admins - CR4 Admin - CR4 Admin Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member United States - Member - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - Ingeniería en Español - Nuevo Miembro - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Crime Alley, Gotham City
Posts: 688
Good Answers: 8
In reply to #1

Re: Is Infidelity Predicatable?

06/21/2012 9:02 AM

You make a good point SotN. Attachment styles are relevant across cultures; the only change is how they are expressed due to cultural customs. There is also little difference between the age of the person and the attachment style--whatever has worked for them in the past tends to be the style they use going forward.

I'll do some digging as far as socioeconomic factors and how they relate to attachment styles.

PS. Congrats to you and your Mrs. North.


Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Kansas, USA
Posts: 748
Good Answers: 64

Re: Is Infidelity Predicatable?

06/22/2012 10:57 AM

If we follow this thought process we would come to the conclusion that we are products of our environment, which is true to a certain small point, but we are much more than that.

There is also a spiritual component to our actions, either positive or negative, depending upon which one we choose to follow. My wife and I will have been married 36 years this July and it isn't so much the environment we were raised in or our personality types that keeps us together. There are many factors, not the least of which is a level of commitment that says "I will until". It's a done deal! There aren't any other options than to stay together, because that's what we said we would do on July 24, 1976.

Many people who get married start out with the premise that if things "don't work out" or get hard, they can just quit and start over. That is simply planning to fail. We usually get what we expect.

I understand that there are occasions when someone goes off the deep end and gets so screwed up in their lives that things really go wrong and there are issues of abuse, emotional and physical, where one party needs to get out, at least till things get straight again.

One thing that helps us nurture the relationship is making decisions that promote the priority of marriage. I have made it a point not to do or see anything that doesn't reinforce my relationship with my wife. Pornography, scantily clad women, etc. do nothing to help me value my wife so it is not part of my life in any way. There is a restaurant here in Wichita called Twin Peaks, it's like a Hooters only with higher- end food (steaks, etc.). I won't go there because it doesn't help me value the relationship I have with my wife. It's a small thing but "problems don't get better with age or neglect" and problems in action start with the thinking process.

People quit on their relationships because they haven't taken the time to learn about their spouse and what nurtures them. Read Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Personality Plus by Florence Littouer, The DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley. Many times people are listening to the wrong people for advice. Just an example, there is a gal on the radio that gives advice on relationships and life and she has been married 3 or 4 times. She doesn't have much to offer with failured relationships like that.

Many people are just selfish in their lives and this is also hugely detrimental to a healthy long-lasting marriage.

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do. Ford, Henry
Reply Good Answer (Score 4)

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Glen Mills, PA.
Posts: 2385
Good Answers: 114

Re: Is Infidelity Predicatable?

06/22/2012 4:45 PM

This sounds like another idea with the mistaken logic:

All sailors are liars, all sailors are men, therefore all men are liars.

It does not follow that if all people who cheat have this certain characteristic, all people with this characteristic will cheat.

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell
Popular Science - Evolution - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member

Join Date: May 2006
Location: The 'Space Coast', USA
Posts: 11112
Good Answers: 918

Re: Is Infidelity Predicatable?

06/24/2012 9:20 PM

I think it boils down to two things:

1. Failure in the communication channels between couples.

2. A culture of easy-divorce. It is socially acceptable to divorce and considered passé.

The failure to communicate is the seed that leads to disaster. We need to learn how to communicate our feelings and to understand the feelings of others. This should be done before entering a deep relationship so as to foster the best relationship.

When a culture easily accepts divorce as a solution there is less emphasis on resolving problems in a relationship. Cheating is not the problem, but a symptom of a deeper problem within the relationship. Infidelity is a statistically predictable outcome with a pathological relationship.


Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 117
Good Answers: 6

Re: Is Infidelity Predicatable?

06/26/2012 4:44 PM

As Dalai Lama recently stated regarding women,

"Too much trouble".

I think he's right.

Coincidentally, today is our 35th wedding anniversary:)


"There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new order of things." - Niccolo' Machiavelli
Reply to Blog Entry 6 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Hero (1); facilitiesmgr (1); HUSH (1); passingtongreen (1); Steve of the North (1); Vince GEntile (1)

Previous in Blog: What Women Want   Next in Blog: You Found Love Where?