A wealthy man is off on a business trip. After a tough day of board meetings, he’s relaxing with a martini in the swanky hotel bar. Across the room, he locks eyes with an attractive woman.. clearly not his wife. He approaches and offers to buy her a drink.
You know how the story goes. Or do you?
A recent study looked at who were the the most likely candidates for marital infidelity. Apparently, those most likely to cheat on their partner are the stay at home, lower paid spouse. The lower paid and/or stay at home spouse, reporting experiences more loneliness and a greater sense of lacking something… and as a result they are more prone to cheat.
This finding really surprised me. I had always thought/heard that the primary predictor of martial infidelity was opportunity. And that wealthy men cheated more because they spent more time travelling for work and, therefore, had more opportunities to cheat.
This is fascinating to me, because it offered a tremendous insight into why people really cheat. The conventional wisdom was that – to simplify- people cheat silly because they can. They want to get their rock off. This seems pretty selfish, but also pretty innocuous. It doesn’t necessarily call into question the sanctity of the relationship.
This new study, however, highlights a deeper problem. People cheat because they are lonely and – presumably – very dissatisfied in the relationship they are in. While this may better justify the cheating, it also points to what may be a deeper problem in relationships.
Its hard to say which is worse – cheating because you’re unhappy or cheating simply because you can.