Can Talking Prevent Cheating?

By Kait Smith for YourTango.com

We recently shared the news that fewer couples are divorcing due to infidelity, which seems like a great victory for the legions of faithful, til-death-do-us-part men and women of the world.

More from YourTango: Would You Rather Have Your Husband Cheat Or Fall Out Of Love?

But unfortunately, though it’s not causing married couples to beeline it to divorce court, the fact of the matter is this: Cheating still exists. Sometimes the significant other finds out; sometimes the act of unfaithfulness remains a secret. But at the end of the day, any type of infidelity leads to one ultimate and universal question: Why?

Researchers in Canada sought to answer that very question in a recent study of a group of 1,000 men and women. The findings, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, offered some insight into what personality and relationship factors drive people to sexually stray from their significant others.

For starters, 23 percent of the guys and 19 percent of the ladies involved in the study had previously cheated on a partner. The study defined cheating as a sexual interaction “with someone other than your primary partner that could jeopardize, or hurt, your relationship.”

More from YourTango: Study: Men Value Love 60% More Than Sex

Furthermore, researchers found that women were most likely to cheat when they felt low relationship satisfaction. In fact, a gal who felt unhappy with her partner was 2.6 times more likely to stray. Throw in some sexual incompatibility (in terms of values and attitudes) and women were 2.9 times more likely to have an affair. Meanwhile, men who report high sexual inhibition due to performance anxiety were more likely to cheat.

Yikes! From the gist of that, it seems that normal relationship woes drive people to be unfaithful. It almost makes it seem hopeless to try.

Or not.

More from YourTango: Women Lose Sleep Over Finances, Men Don’t

The lead researcher, Robin Milhausen, provides a seemingly simple solution: Conversation. And yes, sometimes having an open discussion with your partner about your needs and expectations (both physically and emotionally) is easier said than done, but looking at the above causes for infidelity, it seems like taking the plunge and having that chat is an easy alternative to having your heart broken.

Have you ever cheated? What drove you to your affair?

This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Smart Women Prevent Cheating By Chatting.

34 comments

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Connie T.
Past Member 3 years ago

When someone has serious cheating on their mind all the talking in the world isn't going to make one bit of difference.

Charli S.
Charlotte S.3 years ago

Unless everyone in the relationship is playing by the same rules there are going to be problems. My husband and I (who are best friends) were both married to cheaters and when we married decided that cheating was not allowed. When I became sick and in chronic pain I gave my husband the option of divorce so he could find happiness with another. In was insulted at the suggestion. so I told him that if he needed to find sexual release with another he had my permission. He only agreed (I think) because I told him I would divorce him if he didn't agree. He's never cheated. Should he ever "cheat" (and cheat isn't the right word here) I don't think it will bother me that much because this was MY decision. We talk frequently and are hoping that seeing a pain specialist and getting proper treatment will allow us to enjoy a full sex life again. At that point the cheating clause will be withdrawn. But the difference with our relationship is that we are best friends and talk about things. Nothing is off limit. His happiness is more important to me then mine. And the same holds true for him. That's a real relationship.

Rob F.
B O.3 years ago

it can but honoring a vow not to is the best cause not to.

Samantha Shira
Samantha Shira4 years ago

easy enough to talk

Turid K.
Past Member 4 years ago

This interesting!
Inhibited men are unfaithful more often than wild secure guys!

Maybe they are unable to see that their lack of pleasure is a result of their own shortcomings!

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.4 years ago

No! How stupid!

LM Sunshine

thank you for interesting article.

Lika S.
Lika S.5 years ago

Well, lets face it. Sex is a part of how we connect to each other. It's the most intimate part of a relationship, and also the most casual act on the planet, if you think about this.

Women give sex to get love, and men give love to get sex. (This is generally, and simplified). If men can't get the sex they crave because their efforts to love are thwarted, or the women can't seem to feel intimate with their partners, the cheating WILL happen. At least on some level.

Emotional cheating can be just as damaging, and I wonder if that would mean that the relationship isn't because the couple aren't engaging like they ought to.

When we talk we must try to not put the blame game on, because pointing fingers will just drive the couple apart further. Both sides must be willing to self reflect, and to gently explain what they would like in the relationship.

And just because it's not going to divorce court, doesn't mean it's a victory. In this bad economy, many a couples who OUGHT to be divorced are still married, still cheating, and becoming more distant. Is this the role model you want to be for your own children?

So yes, talk about it first, to try to repair the relationship. If you can't work it out, go see a marriage counselor, clergy, or other low cost places to go to.

Deborah Latter
Deborah Latter5 years ago

I wonder if there's anyone out there who has studied the effect of past sexual abuse on later cheating potential. It wasn't mentioned in the article and I've never read anything relating the two, but sexual abuse could definitely skew how love and sex are viewed by the abuse survivor.