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In Hollywood storylines, a cheating spouse is frequently portrayed as a confident if not snide type, selfishly serving his or her own needs.
Yet in many cases, the emotions and motivations are not as dramatically clear, and experts tell us some spouses cheat, in part, because of insecurity.
In a newly released study, spouses with insecurities specifically related to their own partner’s commitment were found more likely to cheat themselves.
The research involved more than 200 couples, all recently married. The group was extensively questioned about their levels of sexual activity, their own marital satisfaction and how they view infidelity. Personality testing was also done.
Florida State psychologist V. Michelle Russell lead the research, which was published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
“Spouses with insecurities
were more likely to cheat.”
Russell points to spouses with signs of “anxious attachments.” These can include a fear of being abandoned or those who were found to be “clingy” with their spouse.
These individuals were found to be more likely to cheat compared to spouses displaying more confidence in their partner.
Russell described a scenario where a so-called clingy spouse is in need of a response from their partner, and absent that, is more vulnerable and likely to seek out other possibilities.
“Individuals high in attachment anxiety tend to feel that their needs for intimacy are not being met in their current relationships and use sex to meet their unmet needs,” Russell said.
Additionally, Russell found the same spouses who display these needier tenancies were also more likely to be cheated upon.
Russell sees it as almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, where a person can fixate on a perceived problem so much that they actually create an environment that welcomes it.
From: Journal of Family Psychology.