Study: Cheating Upsets Men and Women for Different Reasons

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Categories: Dating and Relationships

A partner’s infidelity is enough to anger any man or woman, but according to a new study cheating upsets men and women for different reasons. 

“Relative to women, men are more distressed by sexual infidelity, and women are more upset over emotional infidelity, relative to men," said study author Barry X. Kuhle, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Scranton.

Men, Kuhle says, focus more on the sexual aspects of infidelity, asking unfaithful partners questions like “Was she/he better in bed than me?” and “How many times did you have sex with him/her?”. Women, on the other hand, are more troubled by the emotional side of cheating, asking “Who do you love more?”. 

Strangely enough, researchers arrived at this conclusion after studying the love triangle confrontations featured on the popular reality show Cheaters (video below). After watching 102 confrontations and examining the cheating victims’ response to their partners’ infidelity, researchers found that 57% of male cheating victims focused on the sexual aspects of the affair, while 71% of female cheating victims focused on the emotional side.

So why do men and women respond differently to cheating? Kuhle, an evolutionary psychologist, says a fear of cuckoldry may be to blame.

"Modern men have inherited an evolved wisdom from a long line of ancestral men who could never be 100% certain that a child was actually theirs,” he explains.

In other words, men were, and still are, afraid of being tricked into raising a child that isn’t theirs and are therefore more concerned with the sexual side of cheating rather than the emotional side. As women don’t share this concern, they worry more about the love, time, and attention their partner is lavishing on another person. 

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Below is an excerpt from Cheaters. In this episode, a woman learns that her boyfriend is engaged to another woman and confonts him at his wedding.


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