Catch up on the UAP RT's Ultimate Affair Plan RT's Ultimate Affair Plan RT's Ultimate Affair Plan
Today's addition will discuss WHY individuals cheat. There will be more contributions to this subpart of the UAP. We will examine research published in the journal, Sexuality & Culture, titled "Understanding the Cheating Heart: What Determines Infidelity Intentions?"
A.) I would like to begin with a pretty explosive quote from this research. Remember, these are scientists that are working to understand behavior, not to cast judgment. Agreeing to what "should" or "should not" happen is unrealistic and often leads to an unfulfilling life. Instead, it is better to understand what does and does not happen and plan accordingly. Making full use of this information would imply that mate selection would be a more thorough process, involving an objective analysis of potential. Following mate selection, one would make better use of their emotional energy in the primary relationship, decreasing the chances of extradyadic behavior from their partner. A lot goes into nurturing the relational connection, and we can address that, in full, later. So, let's begin with our first quote (1).
there are a few works that suggest infidelity may have some positive effects. For instance, early work by Buunk and Van Driel (1989) reports that individuals who
were involved in extradyadic relations believe that such transgressions led to personal growth and increased self-esteem. Meanwhile, Jones and Burdette (1994)
report that individuals who engage in affairs often think that their primary relationship improved due to their unfaithfulness. Finally, as suggested by Dainton
and Gross (2008), for some individuals, engaging in infidelity may be perceived as a way to maintain a relationship by providing rewards not found in the primary relationship.
In this quote, we are not seeing the reports of individuals thinking that the affair saved their relationship, via finding a catalyst. Rather, we see evidence of men and women rationalizing their extradyadic behavior. Remember from previous posts that men are more likely to cheat out of sexual "needs not being met" and women are more likely to cheat out of lack of connection/dissatisfaction. Unfaithful men, often, report that "it's just sex", or that the primary relationship is only lacking sex, creating a need for sex-only cheating. In this mindset, the man feels that his behavior is justified, even beneficial. Think about it, if he didn't cheat, he would have to leave her, or so the logic goes. Women, on the other hand, do often succumb to infidelity out of being powerless in the primary relationship, or maybe just neglected of emotional needs. In this mindset, it is more about filling in a perceived gap, or flaw, with the attention of another man.
This research paper addresses many aspects of intentions, which I find to be somewhat of a quandary. It is my opinion that "intentions" are 99% of the problem at hand. Think about how many attempts are made to commit adultery, but the individual was rejected. There was that recent blow-up of that website promising individuals a guaranteed affair until it was hacked, exposing a list of the adulterous (mostly) men and (some) women. There were many radio shows getting reports of wives having been told by the husband that they signed up, but didn't do anything as if that was no problem. Many of you are challenging me pretty hard on the topic of blame and responsibility. Again, in a few weeks of posts, most of the context will explain why I have to say these things (logical consistency). As such, we can say that the intention to cheat is almost all of the way there, implying the same need for work on the relationship and hefty work on the one with the goal of adultery in mind. The ability to cheat, with ease, does determine (predictively) cheating, being a strong correlate.
Intentions are indicators of the degree to which an individual is willing to try and how much effort he/she is willing to make in order to perform a particular behaviour and are thus viewed as the best antecedent of actual behaviour
The problem with infidelity is that it isn't as simple as one lusting after his secretary, consciously choosing to put his marriage certificate in the shredder and jump in the sack. In the introductory post, I hinted at other realities "I tripped" and "A cry for help", meaning that a lot of the time men are completely unprepared to turn down a predatory woman, and women sometimes cheat as a cry for help - to save the primary relationship. Boundaries and Emotional Intelligence are going to be key themes in understanding what went wrong and how to ensure cheating doesn't happen again. As such, it is understandable that individuals can look at this to understand whether their current relationship is at risk
for extradyadic behavior. With statistically significant correlates, we can predict infidelity when looking at a wide enough sample of individuals.
The researchers go on, presenting three hypotheses (1)
H1: Individuals with favourable attitudes towards infidelity will have a greater intent to be unfaithful.
H2: Individuals with a social network that supports or condones infidelity will have greater infidelity intentions.
H3: Individuals who think that it is easy for them to cheat will have higher infidelity intentions.
This will help us understand the attitude towards infidelity. We will then present information that explains how attitudes imply intentions and thus creates behavioral demand. We will conclude tonight's addition by using analogies given to us by an understanding of Economics. To understand behavior, we need look no further than how individuals spend their money. We have opportunity cost, subjective value, and individually rational behavior. Why does the individual run to the Chevrolet dealer and buy a Z/28 Camaro, eagerly handing over the money? That is easy to answer, that's because the individual values the car more than the money, assuming that the car will bring more satisfaction than having the cash and continuing to hold onto it. It makes sense to him; it feels good and he is rewarded with dopamine. We also have to understand that some of the subjective value placed on the Camaro comes from society, in general. That is, he desires the car that will make him appear cool in public. An uncool car will be subjectively less valuable. The same factors are at play for those considering infidelity. One might have a lot of friends or acquaintances with positive experiences with infidelity. This adds subjective value to cheating, whereas having many very religious friends would likely deduct much subjective value, due to anticipation of judgment and feelings of guilt. They may also be encouraged to cheat, as the wife isn't holding up her end, or so it may be claimed. Looking at the three hypothesis, one may infer that there are a lot of potential warning signs that we can look for in mate selection.
I will contribute more this weekend. TBC
1: Jackman, M. (2015). Understanding the Cheating Heart: What Determines Infidelity Intentions?. Sexuality & Culture, 19(1), 72-84. doi:10.1007/s12119-014-9248-z