It’s got a lot to do with money, apparently…
In interesting research news, Science Daily report that your other half is more likely to cheat if they are financially dependent on you, or vice versa. Why is this? According to this new study from the June issue of the American Sociological Review, “people like feeling relatively equal in their relationships.”
Makes sense, but does cheating really balance the power scales?
“You would think that people would not want to ‘bite the hand that feeds them’ so to speak, but that is not what my research shows. Instead, the findings indicate people like feeling relatively equal in their relationships. People don’t like to feel dependent on another person,” said Christin Munsch, lead author of the study.
Munsch examined data from over 2750 couples aged between 18 to 32. The researchers found that there was a 5% chance that women depending on men, financially, would cheat at any given time, while – and this one’s interesting – there was a 15% chance that men would stray if they weren’t the prime earners. Furthermore, when the household income balanced out between partners, the chances of cheating massively decreased.
Is this an indication that men are still largely uncomfortable with the idea of their female counterpart earning more than them? Or is this just a convenient coincidence?
Not only is it suggested that men more likely to cheat when they earn way less than their partner, they are also apparently more likely to stray when they earn 70% or more of the household income. This, Munsch explains, is because “these men are aware that their wives are truly dependent and may think that, as a result, their wives will not leave them even if they cheat,” so they’ve got nothing to lose.
A depressing theory, if it’s to be believed.
Meanwhile, women who out-earn their male partners are less likely to cheat because, by holding the bread-winning position, they’re already challenging the status quo. Conversely, these women will be more likely to engage in “deviance-neutralizing behaviors.” As Time put it, they will be less likely to dabble in extramarital affairs “to buoy their husband’s masculinity.”