Is it because cheaters are just risky types anyway? Or do they like kidding themselves they were swept away in the heat of the moment?
You might promise your partner you’ll never be unfaithful – and truly believe it yourself – but the statistics tell a different story.
Between 13 to 25 percent of married people cheating on their partners, studies have found. And the figures are even higher among couples that are dating and living together. Other surveys found that as many as four out of five men in the USA and the UK had cheatingon their current partner.
“We know that cheating ranges between 50 and 75 percent, depending on the survey you look at,” says US sociologist Eric Anderson. He reckons monogamy is a myth.
But cheating can do more harm than just breaking hearts. To add injury to insult, cheaters can also put their partners at risk of catching a sexually transmitted disease if they’re not having safe sex with their secret lovers.
The study by psychologists at the University of Michigan surveyed 308 people who confessed to being unfaithful in relationships that were supposed to be monogamous. The researchers also talked to 493 people who had made a deal with their partners to have an open sex life.
Cheating was defined as either having vaginal or anal intercourse, or any other kind of genital touching with someone other than a main partner.
The unfaithful people in the monogamous relationships were much less likely to use condoms than the people in the open relationships. The cheaters were also less likely to talk about STD histories with their lovers, or properly clean sex toys before sex.
And not surprisingly, they were much less likely to or own up to their main partners that they’d had sex with someone else.
Reasons for riskiness
The reason for the cheater’s unsafe behaviour may be they’re just risky types anyway, the researchers say. It’s could also be that they think not using condoms makes their fling look less planned. Or they like telling themselves that they’ve been swept away in a fit of passion so they don’t have condoms at the ready. Or maybe they just don’t properly understand how their fooling around is threatening their partner’s sexual health.
Drink and drugs also seem to play a role in the risky behaviour. Unfaithful people are more likely to be drunk or high when they cheat than people who openly have more than one lover.
Plan for cheating
Husbands and wives or boyfriends and girlfriends should look at the statistics and not just assume they’ll never be unfaithful, the researchers conclude. They would do better to talk to their partner’s about how they’d cope if one of them gave in to temptation.
They could plan for dealing with heartbreak, and also for safer sex. Then if the worst happened, at least they’d be less likely to end up with an STD into the bargain.
*To protect the identity, names have been changed and the person/s in the picture is/are models.
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