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Study Shows Cheaters are Driven by Dissatisfaction with Their Relationship

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of DatingAdvice.com's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles and reports have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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What most drives a person to cheat on their partner?

Is it the sudden opportunity for a quick fling, or is it an indicator of trouble in the relationship?

A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research found those who report a decreased satisfaction with their partner are more likely to cheat.

The study also found couples that report higher levels of negative communication and lower levels of dedication to their relationships are most likely to cheat or be cheated on.

Researchers attempted to pinpoint the common markers by interviewing 933 unmarried couples twice across a 20-month period.

They were looking for participants who were not initially cheating on their partner, but who admitted to being sexually active with someone other than their partner by the second interview.

“Those who report a decreased

satisfaction are more likely to cheat.”

The participants were between 18 and 35 years old and self-identified as being in a serious relationship for at least two months.

Of the couples involved, 14 percent were found to have at least one partner who was unfaithful.

Those who reported higher use of alcohol were also found to be more likely to cheat, as well as those whose parents had never married.

In each interview, they were asked about their level of satisfaction in the relationship and how often they were sexually active.

The intent was to find which type-markers would prove strong indicators for someone to begin cheating on their partner.

As individuals, common factors included those who do not share their partner’s desire to get married and those who suspect their partner of stepping out.

As for the qualities that seem to deter an errant partner, study co-author Galena Rhoades, Ph.D., of the University of Denver, found a common pattern.

“Overall it was the characteristics of the relationship that mattered most – things like commitment, communication and satisfaction,” Rhoades said.

Source: The Journal of Sex Research.

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