The Statistics on Cheating aren’t Pretty
You don’t understand why he cheated on you. You’re pretty. You have a good job. You’re smart. You’re attentive to him. So why?
You don’t understand why she cheated on you. You’re a kind man. You’re gainfully employed. You pay attention to her. So why?
Most committed partners, both married and unmarried, don’t plan on having an affair. No one looks into their new spouse’s eyes on their wedding day thinking, ‘I’m going to tear your heart to shreds one day.’ But it happens. A lot. According to facts and statistics about infidelity:
Not only that,
2% to 3% of all children are the product of infidelity.
Especially if your partner is a serial cheater, you may wonder if it’s programmed into their DNA. Well, you may not be far off.
DNA Study Connects Cheating to Genetics
Brendan Zietsch, an Australian psychologist, set out to answer the question of whether genetics can predispose someone to cheating. In other words, is the likelihood of cheating programmed into someone’s DNA? Zietsch analyzed data from 7,378 Finnish study participants: some were siblings, while some were twins. The one factor they all had in common is they had been in a monogamous relationship for at least one year.
Why use twins? Twins, both fraternal and identical, are often used to help scientists determine whether or not a trait is inheritable. Identical twins are especially useful in this case, since their DNA is 100% the same. So if there are differences, it can be assumed that they are due to environmental factors (Kim). The study’s findings were published in early 2015 in the scientific journal Evolution and Human Behavior.
Study Conclusions about DNA, Genetics & Cheating
In a nutshell:
- 8% of men admitted to having more than one sexual partner in the last year.
- 4% of women admitted to having more than one sexual partner in the last year.
- Identical twins (both men and women) showed similar cheating or non-cheating data, whereas fraternal twins and regular siblings did not.
Zietsch concludes from his research that: ‘Ã¢â‚¬Â¦an individual’s genetic makeup in general influences how likely he or she is to cheat’ (Kim). There is not a single ‘cheating gene’ in the DNA, but rather that genetic variations affect our hormone levels. These levels determine how bonded to our partner we feel.
Other Points of View
As you can imagine, this study raised skepticism. In a Washington Post article about this topic, marriage therapist Christian Jordal said about this study, ‘[why people cheat is] the same sort of mystery of the human heart: How is it that we choose to be attracted to someone? In the same way . . . we don’t have [all] the answers around infidelity issues.’
Commentator Eric Metaxas, writing for the Christian website Breakpoint says of the study’s conclusions: ‘Ã¢â‚¬Â¦this view of human behavior demeans the human person, reducing us to amoral automatons doomed to act only according to our genetic software.’
So what does all this mean? It means that as genetic science gets more and more sophisticated, more studies may (or may not!) corroborate the infidelity findings of the Zietsch study. For sure, the scientific community doesn’t have all the answers yet. And even if there is a genetic component that makes cheating more likely, in our opinion, acting on the urge to cheat is always a choice.
Of particular concern to us as a top paternity test company is that 2-3% of all American children are products of infidelity. There is a variety of important reasons why these children should know who their biological father is, and that knowledge can also strengthen families in the long run.
What do you think about this controversial topic? Share in the comments!
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Kim, Meeri. “Whether You’re a Serial Monogamist or Have a Tendency to Stray May Be Partly Programmed into Your Genes.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2015. Web. 13 Jan. 2016. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/11/06/whether-youre-a-serial-monogamist-or-have-a-tendency-to-stray-may-be-partly-programmed-into-your-genes/>.
Metaxas, Eric. “The Scarlet DNA?” The Scarlet DNA? Breakpoint, 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 13 Jan. 2016. <http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/28461?utm_source=Colson%2BCenter%2BMaster%2BList&utm_campaign=14b91288d8->.
“Truth About Deception.” Truth About Deception. Truth About Deception, 2016. Web. 13 Jan. 2016. <http://www.truthaboutdeception.com/cheating-and-infidelity/stats-about-infidelity.html>.