There are many consequences when someone cheats on their partner; very often, one of those consequences is not being sure who is the biological father of a child . As a top paternity test lab, we talk to these parents (or the grandparents of a child) every day and their stories are gut-wrenching. It is a love-sabotaging behavior from which some couples never recuperate. So how does it happen in the first place? Why do seemingly loving and committed couples betray that relationship by cheating? Here’s the truth about some of the most common two-timing myths.
Cheating Myth #1: Men Cheat More Often Than Women
This may have been true in the past, but recent data, including a 2015 Indiana University study, suggests otherwise. In fact, men and women are now in a statistical dead-heat: 20% to 20%. Kristen Mark, Ph.D., one of the researchers who contributed to this landmark study, the reasons for the equalizing numbers aren’t absolutely clear. It may be that more women are cheating now, or it may be that – in this age of baring it all on social media – women may be more willing to admit it.
Why does a woman cheat?
According to psychologist Dr. Janne Lomasky, these are the eight main reasons why a woman cheats:
- Lack of intimacy and attention.
- Revenge after her mate cheats.
- Her mate is selfish during sex.
- She experiences weight loss or plastic surgery and feels more attractive.
- She achieves financial independence.
- She has low self-esteem and needs to seek validation from other partners.
- She feels underappreciated.
- She’s bored with her relationship.
If a woman (or a man too, for that matter) goes in search of greener pastures, even for a few months, the new relationship may result in the need for a paternity test.
Cheating Myth #2: Men who Cheat No Longer Love their Partners
Clinical psychologist Dr. Andra Brosh asserts that men who cheat are often still very much in love with their partners. Your first thought might then be, ‘Well, if he loves me so much, how could he do this to me?’
Why does a man cheat?
Just as a woman does, a man has a deep-seated need to feel wanted, to be wooed, and to feel physically attractive to and desired by a partner. Brosh says that men frequently suffer in silence; they want to feel loved by their partner but feel like they can’t get what they want from her. So although they love their partner and children, some men risk it all to get these needs met through cheating.
Cheating Myth #3: Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater
Psychologist Dr. Diana Kirschner insists this statement is a myth, plain and simple: With the glaring exception of sex addicts, there are people who learn and grow from the painful emotional hurricane and the loss of closeness in the relationship that are the aftermaths of cheating. How do you tell when someone has truly changed their cheating ways? According to Kirschner, they’ll express true remorse, cut off contact with the lover, show renewed devotion, and be willing to participate in counseling.
There are proactive things a partner or a couple together can take to help prevent someone cheating again. A 1988 study by researcher D.M. Buss shows that taking active and positive steps to keep a relationship healthy is the best approach and is much more effective than passive-aggressive behaviors or outright threats. Participants in the study said they are more likely to refrain from cheating if they enjoy these behaviors from their mate:
Actions that communicate love and care: Physical signs of affection, verbal declarations of love and appreciation, and expressions of gratitude.
Enhancing physical appearance: Making the effort to improve looks with a fitness regimen, new clothes, or make-up (for women) helps to keep a mate’s attention where it belongs. Although it may seem shallow, it’s a reality.
Rewarding your partner: It can be as simple as a small gift, a night out, or extra sexual attention. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but it makes a huge difference in how connected your mate feels toward you.
The Bottom Line
For most couples who experience cheating in their relationship, it’s a “make or break” event. If you or a partner has strayed and want to stay together for the sake of the kids or because you are truly committed to your future together, then your relationship can be repaired. But, like anything worthwhile, it takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and patience. As the old saying goes, ‘What it takes to get a partner is what it takes to keep a partner.’
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