You know what they say, cliches about cheaters exist for a reason.
Because cheaters really never do win (winning meaning staying in happy, fulfilling relationships), leopards don’t change their spots, and you can pretty safely bet that if someone’s cheated a few times before, they’ll probably do it again.
But it’s not their fault. Sort of. A lot of cheater’s tendencies for infidelity are down to genetics.
And while we can all get a bit ranty about how it’s possible to ignore your baser instincts and do the right thing, the fact is that it really is harder for some people to keep it in their pants.
Here’s how, as superbly explained by AsapSCIENCE.
Dopamine – the pleasure hormone released after exercise, eating delicious things, and having orgasms – plays a big role in whether or not someone will cheat.
50% of people who have the long allele variant of the dopamine receptor have cheated on their partner, versus 22% of people with the short allele variant.
Long allele peeps are also more likely to be risk-takers, and engage in pleasure-seeking behaviour like excessive drinking and taking drugs.
In simple terms, this implies that there’s a genetic variation in cheaters, that marks them as a cheating-type from birth.
On to the non-genetic factors. AsapSCIENCE says that men who make more money than their female counterparts are more likely to cheat.
But on the other end of the scale, men are also more likely to cheat if they’re stay-at-home dads and their wives work. Sh*t.
The best scenario for monogamy is both people making around the same amount of money.
The vasopressin hormone
Similar to oxytocin, the vasopressin hormone affects trust, empathy, and social bonding.
Scientists have done studies in which they’ve injected naturally polygamous animals with the hormone, and found that the animals were more likely to stay monogamous.
Human studies confirm vasopressin’s impact, with a study of 7,000 Finnish twins finding that cheating women had a variant in the gene that lowered their levels of vasopressin.
Does this mean we should start injecting cheaters with loads of vasopressin? Maaaaybe – we’d need to do a lot more research. But again, it’s another genetic factor that has an impact on whether someone will be a cheater for life.
Obviously, plenty of emotional stuff comes into play. Unresolved issues, baggage from past relationships, and weirdness with intimacy, will all have an impact on whether someone will cheat.
And while this may seem like no excuse compared to the hard-wired genetic stuff, it’s also pretty tricky to overcome. Especially if the person isn’t up for changing.
The lesson from all of this: it’s proooobably not a great idea to get in a relationship with someone who has a long history of cheating.
Watch all the science-y stuff in video form below:
The more you know.