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Affairs: The real reason people have them

Why do people cheat on one another? It's a question that haunts many a brokenhearted spouse or girlfriend. A recent article in Psychology Today offers an interesting answer to the question why people cheat.

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Masterfile

Why do people cheat on ones they love most? It’s a question that haunts many a brokenhearted spouse or girlfriend.

A recent article in Psychology Today offers an interesting answer to the question why people cheat — and when I say interesting, I mean potentially disappointing in its simplicity.

According to the article, it’s not a bad marriage or unhealthy relationship that turns a faithful partner into a cheater — it’s golden opportunity.

“By far the biggest predictor of affairs, experts agree, is sheer opportunity — how people vary in access and desirability to others,” writes Psychology Today’s Hara Estroff Marano.  

Marano goes on to isolate the workplace as the “great benefactor, providing large numbers of people with constant contact, common interests, an income to camouflage the costs of socializing outside the office, and an ironclad excuse.”

Economic prosperity, a job that boasts plenty of travel, and individuals that possess higher education are also considered more likely to cheat — women who have a better education than their partners are more likely to have affairs.

People who live in big urban centres also have a higher risk factor for venturing outside of a monogamous relationship. Again, the idea being that there’s greater opportunity when one mixes with more people.

Call it Mad Men syndrome, but relationships in which one partner works while the other stays home also seem to contribute to the likelihood of an affair.

It’s not all bad news, however. The article also points out the emotional and psychological factors that can improve your chances of keeping fidelity alive. For example, couples who share similar conflict resolution styles are less likely to have affairs; people who are more open about their feelings are also less likely to cheat.

“Openness makes partners more satisfied with the relationship and better able to express feelings, including love,” writes Marano. “Some researchers believe that openness is essential to commitment and to enduring satisfaction in a relationship.”  

To read Marano’s full article, click here. To find out if affairs ever turn into real relationships read here.

Have you ever cheated, or been cheated on?