Two-Thirds of Women Say Emotional Cheating is More Hurtful

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of'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 have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Which hurts more, the cheating — or the lying about it?

When it comes to men having extramarital affairs, new research is finding women have major concerns than their partner being sexually unfaithful. Most, as it turns out, are far more distressed by the betrayal.

This was especially found to be the case when a husband developed a genuine bond during the affair.

To study this, researchers from Kansas State University surveyed nearly 477 Americans on theoretical scenarios involving both sexual and emotional infidelity in a marriage.

Two out of three women said a situation where their husband formed an emotional bond with another woman would be more painful than a sexual affair.

However, it was exactly the opposite with men, where only one in three believed an emotional bond with a new partner would be more painful to them than a sexual affair.

“Women viewed transgressions of 

emotion more painful than physical infidelity.”

More than half of the men indicated having a bigger problem with the theoretical sex over the theoretical bond.

Eighty percent of women also had more of a jealous response to the idea of their partner being in love with another woman than the thought of him trying new sexual positions with a different partner.

Overall, according to the study, women viewed transgressions of emotion as considerably more painful than physical infidelity.

Similarly, women were found to be more bothered at the prospect of their spouse rekindling an old flame romantically as opposed to sexually, while again the men preferred a emotional bond over a sexual tryst.

For the men, according to the researchers, this may stem from a deep and territorial instinct rooted in the possible uncertainty that any offspring by a woman may not actually be their own.

Dr. Gary Brase led the research, which was published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.


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