For centuries, men and women have drifted astray into the fray of infidelity. Humans, still in our infancy on an evolutionary timescale, look at this contemptuous behavior with evil eyes. The incompetence to remain faithful to your partner has a natural corollary: a tempestuous break-up and a surrendering of friendship. Let’s face it: most of our partners are concomitantly our best friends. Lying, a by-product of deception, can tear down a relationship far worse than one could have ever envisioned. Most people are in cheating-denial, but when push comes to shove, they find themselves unexpectedly compelled and tempted to do things that are ignoble in the light of romantic etiquette. There are plenty of causes that foment someone into the dark realm of cheating, and this cynical dystopia can be prevented if people learn to be more introspective and to empathize more thoroughly.
According to the Associated Press Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 57% percent of men admit to having been unfaithful whereas this figure is 54% for women. It’s important to note that this is only the people who admit their wrongdoing; the bleak side of this is that it may be a lot more prevalent than the statistics show.
Another study published at Texas A&M University devised a way to indicate the strength of sexual impulse by rating people on their attraction to an unavailable member of the opposite sex, revealing that men and women have nearly the same amount of self-control, but men are burdened with stronger sexual impulses that override that threshold of self-control. Paul Eastwick, a professor in the department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the university of Texas states, “Men have plenty of self-control — just as much as women…However, if men fail to use self-control, their sexual impulses can be quite strong. This is often the situation when cheating occurs.”
Disloyalty wasn’t born overnight; it has been embedded in our DNA as a result of our ancestors’ survival. The reason is that men, however unwise and flighty they may have been, looked to propagate their genes with a number of women to produce a plethora of offspring. Conversely, women embarked on their journey of infidelity in order to find Mr. Perfect. They painstakingly selected a male whom was viewed as responsible and with some kind of high social status. You don’t want to procreate with someone who’s a deadbeat, which depressingly, so many people end up settling for nowadays.
One of the things that keeps cheating at bay is religion. On the big day, you’re sworn to abide by God and his commandment, [Thou shall not commit adultery]. However, divorce rates are just as high in the religious community, which is surprising, given how taboo the Bible portrays adultery. But, maybe it’s deeper than that. People who are radically devoted to religion may be beholden to God to save their marriage, which often doesn’t happen. Thus, discontentment arises and people take the path of infidelity only to worry later to repent for such iniquity. The ever-spinning gyroscope of repentance is what builds the hypocrisy of religion: if people were really religious they’d follow the “infallible” word of their beloved God; instead they cherry-pick religious texts and remain no more or less moral than the rest of society.
Now, let’s get down to the brass tacks. Men find opportunistic ways to cheat, and most of the time it’s derived from being immature. Whether they keep “their” women around as “insurance”–just in case something goes awry with their other women–their never-ending dalliances should be a giant red flag to women. Most men cheat because they know they can get away with it. The old platitude, “What momma don’t know, won’t hurt her”, is what every man tells himself while partaking in unfaithfulness. Some men certainly are more prone to cheat than others, and these men are not the ones who should be getting married first. Jumping into the sea of commitment comes with a barrage of responsibility, but many males don’t acknowledge this and think they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it. Unfortunately, the bridge is in plain sight right after that protruding bump in the road. If you’re “sexually curious” or “looking for the extra thrill” it isn’t worth the subsequent consequences because everything you do will come to fruition, one way or another: lies smell, so while we can cover them up, that stench will make its way to the surface eventually.
The rules of cheating apply for women just as profoundly. Females, however unknowingly, can megalomaniacally manipulate most men without even speaking. From non-verbal cues to subtle gestures, men succumb to beauty nearly as much as money these days. Given their endless power in terms of their physical traits, women receiving a dearth of intimacy or battered by a dysfunctional relationship can snap their fingers into the world of deceit. It’s no surprise that women between the ages of 25-34 tend to have the most affairs. Still vibrant and vivacious, denying them affection while temptation is on every corner is no way to keep women dormant. Women are often confounded by strong emotions that dictate the status of their current affiliation with someone. When qualms start to arise, the floodgates open, and this becomes a slippery slope. Also, many women are vindictive and vengeful. And, as they should, they forgive but don’t forget. So at any moment when a male flounders, they use cheating as a crutch to justify their man’s initial misconduct. Although I may be biased because I’m a male, I find that women tend to be crueler when it comes to cheating. They simply have more options. The notion of being coquettish can make men try even harder than they normally would (see the movie Election for evidence).
Cheating is even more accessible today, given the different outlets through which one can pursue it. Social media makes this process remarkably easier. Albeit, we’re social creatures who desperately need interaction on many different levels. There’s no more paging someone to meet up for a tryst. Instead, you can set up your liaison with a couple swipes to the right. My advice is this: if you’re prone to cheating, do not commit. You may be still evolving and shaking off your demons. There’s no rush; well, unless you feel she’s pressuring you into a relationship, this would be something you have to mull over, punctiliously. We all don’t intend to hurt our partners; it just springs up on us like seaweed in the ocean. But, there will be times when you are staring in the face of temptation with no one around you to dissuade you of what you’re about to do, and in this moment it’s best to be provident, and ask yourself, “Is it really worth all the bullshit?”
Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Henderson