If there’s one thing that often leads to the end of a relationship, it’s infidelity. In fact, nowadays it's even become harder to categorize with technology leading to the newly-coined term “micro-cheating.” But according to a recent paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, reported on by the Science of Us, there are potential predictors for those who cheat. While some factors are out of our control, others we can watch for at the beginning of a blossoming romance.
In the study, after watching 113 newlywed, heterosexual couples for three-and-a-half years and testing for disengagement and devaluation—which in layman's terms can be described as the ability to downplay the attractiveness of romantic alternatives—it was found that the faster a participant looked away and the more negatively they viewed other romantic alternatives, the more likely they were to avoid cheating and have a successful marriage, seems like common sense, right? Yes, looking at other women or men is not a great sign.
But what is perhaps one of the most interesting elements of the study, is that when it tracked 120 different newlywed couples over the same time frame, it was found that there were three factors which predicted infidelity within the relationship: Being younger, a history of short-term sexual partners and perhaps the most surprising: Having a good sex life. Yes, according to the study, having a good sex life means that participants had a positive attitude about sex and therefore may seek it out with other people besides their partner.
So, while it could be worth looking at your S.O.’s relationship trajectory, and maybe sticking to partners that are a little older (and hence ready for commitment) what we can also take away from the research, is that when it comes to a cheating spouse, there really is only so much you can do to look out for warning signs. The rest is a leap of faith.