Black girl with Afro haircut texting her lover on cell phone while her jealous boyfriend, suspect of her betrayal, trying to read what she is typing, looking over his shoulder with curious expression
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Why do people cheat?

If you've ever been cheated on – or were the one doing the cheating – you probably want answers. Here are three science-based theories on why we cheat.

Most people would agree that cheating on a romantic partner is wrong and harmful. Yet it still happens pretty often – and hurts like hell when it does. Why is it so hard for some people to remain faithful to their partners?

Sexperts who study cheating have come up with three theories that might help explain why people do it. In a video put together for the series Love, Factually, evolutionary biologist Dr. David Barash and anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher discuss the science behind cheating.

Humans aren't naturally monogamous

Biologically speaking, monogamy might not be natural for us humans, explains Dr. Barash, co-author of the book The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People. Humans are not alone in this, he says, almost all mammals out there aren't 100 per cent monogamous.

But just because monogamy isn't natural for humans, it doesn't mean we can't learn to do it, Dr. Barash emphasizes. Hey, playing the violin isn’t natural for anyone, he points out, but you can learn with practice and it’s great if you can do it! Fidelity is something that takes effort, he argues.

So if it's not natural for humans to have one sexual partner, what are the reasons for them to have several? For men, it's pretty simple. According to the theory of evolution, the more women they have sex with the greater the chance they'll pass on their genes.

Women, on the other hand, wouldn't exactly benefit from getting pregnant every time they cheated on their partner. Even if it were possible, it wouldn’t be desirable: a whole lot of energy and resources goes into pregnancy and raising kids. But a woman could obtain support from the man she’s got on the side if her current partner were no longer in the picture, for whatever reason, says Dr. Fisher. Her lover could be there as a sort of back-up to help her out and provide for her kids if needed.

Cheating is in our genes

But if monogamy isn't natural for anyone, why do some people seem to be better at it than others? Well, one explanation is that it's in their DNA, Love, Factually's host explains. Researchers who study cheating have found two genes linked to infidelity.

The first, DRD4, has to do with the hormone dopamine, which is involved in pleasurable things like having an orgasm. The DRD4 gene comes in different sizes and one study found that people with longer versions were more likely to be into non-committed sex, whether that meant cheating on their partners or having one-night stands.

The other gene is called AVPR1A and could help explain why some women struggle with monogamy. The gene codes for the hormone arginine vasopressin, which is connected to feeling empathy and bonding with a sexual partner. Women with one version of this gene may be more likely to cheat, research has shown.

Our brain systems make us do it

Another theory on cheating has to do with the separate systems in our brain that are involved in romantic relationships and sex. Humans have evolved one brain system that's related to their sex drive, another that has to do with feeling romantic love, and a final system linked to attachment to a partner, explains Dr. Fisher.

This becomes problematic when the three different brain systems are not directed towards the same person, she says. So someone could be sexually attracted to the guy who serves them a cup of coffee every morning and at the same time feel a sense of deep attachment towards the long-term partner they sleep next to every night.

Source: Why Do We Cheat ? | Love, Factually

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Comments

My story is quite difficult. I met this girl when we were back on high school and I fell for her. So I decided to spark the flame and I told her the truth. So I finale got her heart and since then I have sworn to myself make her happy. The problems started when she was just bout to go to the University. She was a Virgin and I had big plans of how our first time would have been great as we shared our virginity but sadly that didn't happen . she instead met this guy and then poof her virginity was gone. She didn't tell me until we had Sex that's when she dropped the bomb and booom my world just sank and broke down onto a million little pieces. Somehow I was so attached to her and had made a promise to myself that no matter what I wouldn't leave her. Somehow I managed to let it go and I forgave her. I gave her a second chance. Then recently she met with this friend. I had a bad feeling bout him cause he called all the time texted and every time I picked up her phone she got defensive. Whenever he called she left to talk in the bedroom or the kitchen and I felt like there was something going on. My trust diminished in her. I kept asking her why and she got angry and defensive claiming that his her best friend. Until recently when I found out that she's been cheating on me again emotionally. This happened when she was in the University. Before she joined the University she was okay, loving and noted most things when they went wrong. Now she changed.. Completely. I forgave her again cause I keeping thinking maybe it's me, there's something I'm not doing things right. I keep questioning myself how to make this relationship better but I don't feel like she doing the same. I'm caught up and I need help. She was recently on long holiday and now she back. I'm scared the situation might go back to the way it was.. .

Hi Tony, Sorry that you are going through this. Its quite clear that you are not the one with the problem but she is. The sad reality is that you cannot change her unless she wants to change herself. She has been cheating on you and you keep forgiving her so what do you think will make her stop? You will only stop hurting if you make a decision. Either you are in an open relationship and accept it, or leave her and move on with your life. Its not an easy decision but its one only you can make. Take time and think about it then make a decision.
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