Can someone’s motivations for cheating manifest into the kind of affair they’ll have?
According to research, there’s a correlation.
A recent study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy highlights how a person’s intentions for cheating can affect how the affair is played out,
PsyPost reported that researchers discovered that those who admitted to cheating out of a lack of love or resentment toward their partners had affairs that lasted longer and were more likely to end their primary relationship.
Cheating was more common in situations like alcohol and stress, which resulted to shorter and less satisfying engagements.
Numerous studies have examined the issue of infidelity. Most have focused on cheating during a bad relationship.
However, study authors Dylan Selterman, the University of Maryland Department of Psychology, and his colleagues note that people’s experiences with infidelity vary.
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They can be motivated by personal goals such as increasing one’s self-esteem or seeking out a diverse sexual partner.
Researchers wanted to determine if the various reasons for cheating could be linked to certain emotions, behaviors, or outcomes after an affair.
The study involved 495 individuals who had been convicted of at least one act. Participants completed questionnaires detailing their motivations, actions, and the results.
Eight reasons were identified by the researchers for cheating. Indirectly, four were related to the primary relationship — anger towards one’s primary partner, loss of love for one’s primary spouse, lack of commitment to one’s primary partner, and perceived neglect from one’s primary partner.
Also mentioned were concerns over one’s self-esteem, desire to have more sex and need for more partners.
The results showed those cheaters motivated by a lack of love for their partner had more emotionally, intellectually, and sexually rewarding affairs.
Affairs motivated by lack love, sexual variety, and self-esteem were more popular and lasted longer. However, situationsal affairs were less publicized, less sexually, emotionally, or intellectually satisfying and lasted less time.
It was also related to the length of the primary relationship. Cheating out of anger or lack of commitment was more common. They were also more likely to be left alone after the affair.
People who cheated intentionally were less likely to end their relationships.
The deficit hypothesis of adultery states that cheating occurs due to unfulfilling relationships, including lack of dates, public displays affection, and uttering “I love you,” for example.
Not all affairs are created equal.
“The specifics of the affair can be linked with the motivation to have an affair in the first place,” Selterman told PsyPost.
Selterman and the team further shed light on people feeling shortcomings in their central relationships as they “may be seeking a deeper quality of romantic connection or intimacy” in affairs to supplement how they think about their ‘primary partners.”
People who cheated with anger were more inclined to confess to their partners, whilst those less angry were more likely to keep it hidden. A higher rate of sexual desire and diversity was also associated with confessing.
Selterman and colleagues still believe that infidelity experiences can vary from relationship to relationship. Recognizing the intricacies is key to understanding situations.