Cheating is usually the last straw in a committed relationship. There are a few exceptions, however, when someone will stick around even after one’s significant other has strayed. Men, for example, are much more willing to stay around if their spouse or girlfriend cheats… with another woman.
The study asked men and women if they would continue to date a person if they cheated in their relationship. To make the study even more conclusive, the people were asked if they would stay in a relationship whether their partner was involved in homosexual or heterosexual infidelity.
After polling 700 college students, the study showed that 50% of the men would continue dating a woman if she had an affair with another woman, and only 22% of the men would stay with her if she had a heterosexual affair.
As for the women, 28% would stay with their man if he was in a heterosexual affair, and only 21% would stay with a man who was engaged in a homosexual affair. As unusual as this sounds, there is scientific and evolutionary reason for these opposing viewpoints:
“A robust jealousy mechanism is activated in men and women by different types of cues—those that threaten paternity in men and those that threaten abandonment in women,” lead author Jaime C. Confer said in a statement.
What this means is that men’s jealousy mechanism is triggered when their gene’s reproduction is threatened, like being tricked into raising another man’s child after infidelity, for example. But if she cheats with another woman his genes aren’t threatened and might even serve to his evolutionary advantage by giving him the chance to have sex with more women and increase his gene’s chance of survival.
Unlike men, women seem to see homosexual affairs as a bigger threat to their gene’s well-being than heterosexual infidelity. The evolutionary reason being that if the man is involved in homosexual acts the woman sees this as a prelude to him abandoning her and running off with another man, leaving her to fend for herself. But if the man was to cheat with a woman, there is a much larger chance of him staying in the relationship and still providing for her and their child.
Translation: don’t cheat if you plan on staying in a relationship this Valentine’s season. Or, if you do cheat, improve your chance of preserving your relationship by weighing the evolutionary odds and sleeping with the right person.