Despite the sexual revolution and the reduction of the
While the story of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's love child shocked many, others are wondering how wife Maria Shriver hadn't known about his love affair with a household employee. The fact is, though, that partners simply trust the words and promises of their husbands and wives. And why shouldn't they? But for some men, even the most honest intentions aren't good enough. Some husbands may just be destined to cheat.
The statistics on how husbands cheat are wide and varied -- mainly because people lie about sex on self-report studies -- but The Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy reports that about 60% of men cheat on their spouses.
Cheating husbands are not a new trend. After all, we are a primate society with what anthropologists like to call "perceived monogamy," meaning that while our cultures celebrate monogamy, we are sometimes polygamous. And despite the sexual revolution and the reduction of the "double standard," more men still cheat than women.
Leave it up to science to determine whether or not he might stray by asking yourself the following questions, which may even apply to you as well:
Does he have a bunch of angry exes?
There could be a genetic reason for cheating. Swedish researchers recently identified an "infidelity gene," which is present in four of 10 men. This gene can explain why some men are more prone to stormy relationships and bond less to their wives or girlfriends. If you have a history of conflict-ridden relationships, that's a red flag.
How much guilt does he feel?
Does that guilt motivate his behavior? Is he comfortable bending the rules at work, even if it might hurt a coworker? A Spanish study recently revealed that the interpersonal sensitivity (empathy) of men is low compared to that of women. This could affect his ability to empathize with your partner's feelings of betrayal, making you more likely to have affairs.
How old is he?
The same study that found men feel less guilt than women also showed that this difference is particularly stark in the 40-50-year-old age group, one particularly vulnerable to the mid-life crisis affair.
Does he fear emotional intimacy?
Men fear emotional intimacy more than do women. Believe it or not, some men find lovers so that they can avoid any real intimacy. Emotional closeness and the expression of vulnerability that goes with it scares many men, so they distance themselves from their wives by cheating on them. At the same time, they don't get too emotionally involved with their lovers. This kind of "watering down of the milk" feels safer to them.
Does he believe that a relationship should be perfect?
Men who have a distorted belief that relationships should be perfect and that arguments and disappointments are unacceptable are likely to have an affair out of anger and retaliation.
How did he score on his SATs?
One study linked monogamy to intelligence. The smarter the man, the more likely he is to be faithful.The researchers speculated that monogamy is an intellectual decision that rises above animal instincts and better provides for survival of offspring.
So what if you or your partner failed this cheater test? My solution to bullet-proof relationships is to grow a bond through emotional intimacy. To make a relationship rock-solid, one must move a step or two closer to the bone and hone some relationship skills. Compassion can be learned. Fair fighting is a skill. And stonewalling is a killer of all connection. Intimacy is neither easy nor pain-free. Extreme emotional intimacy and mutual care may involve squeamish feelings of shame, the forced expression of awkward words, an ability to see the ugly in others and still love them, and, worse, the ability to glaringly see the ugly in ourselves and still feel lovable. But the payback is pure kryptonite. An I've-got-your-back-if-you've-got-mine emotional contract that can make your relationship affair-proof.