So, there’s evidence that cheating is in our DNA. Huh.
When you think about cheating, it’s only natural to think of John Mayer or Alex Pettyfer-esque philandering. But did you know that women are just as guilty? In a study by scientists and psychologists from the University of Texas and California State University, heterosexual women in relationships are likely to seek out alternative mates in what they call a “mate-switching hypothesis”, which says that humans have evolved to keep testing their relationships and looking for better partners for the long haul.
The study takes into account the behaviour of past societies, stating that our female ancestors faced three kinds of scenarios that would prompt them to switch mates — a perceived decline in value of their current partner, an increase in their own value, and the presence of potential partners of higher value that weren’t around before. Perhaps you can also add to that, the ever-tempting gallery under the hashtag #ManCrushMondays.
Another study by the University of Queensland put it down to hormones like vasopressin — it influences feelings of empathy, trust and affection, so it makes sense that it would have an effect on sexual behaviour. Whether or not the gene mutates is dependant on your parents, since you get one from each of them. However, beyond running a gamut of tests, it ’s not easy to find out if you carry this mutation. You know when he says “it ’s not my fault ”? Yeah.
Now, we’re pretty sure that, when it comes to cheating, most of us don’t immediately think “secret bae will be a better provider for me in the future” and jump ship. More common reasons tend to be emotions like loneliness, unhappiness in the relationship, or even revenge.
Anoushka Beh of Abehpsych Counselling says, “Women usually cheat because they feel in some way that they have been abandoned in the relationship. They may feel [their partner] is not supportive or attentive on an emotional level, or perhaps even in terms of intimacy. Of course, there are a host of other reasons why women cheat, some of which may include differing sexual needs from their partners, as a form of rebelliousness or punishment.”
Don’t berate yourself every time someone other than bae makes your heart skip a beat. Interestingly, wanting to cheat may not necessarily be a bad thing. “Shaming yourself for feeling this way can be counterproductive,“ says Anoushka. “This desire may be an opportunity to review whether something in your relationship is missing and that work is needed to heal and reconnect. It may also be a sign that your relationship is not aligned with your needs, and a chance to consider if you need to move on.”
The discovery of the so-called “cheating gene” has sparked a debate as to whether genetic testing should be used to see if mates are bad prospects. Just imagine if you could find out if your boyfriend would stray, just by a blood sample. Hello, Tinder? Time to add one more feature to your profile categories.