Firstly, before we look at why we cheat, let’s examine what is it to love?
The last 45 years of psychological research has established some commonalities that happen when you fall in love.
1. A person takes on special meaning, the world has a new centre in the person that you have fallen in love with. Love is blind and you can easily ignore the things that you don’t like about that person.
2. You become sexually possessive of them.
3. An intense craving to be around that particular person. You want to spend any and every part of your life with them.
4. You have a motivation towards this person, which becomes an obsession. You would die for that person without a second thought.
A research piece studied the same amount of people who were in requited love and unrequited love. The study involved the participants looking at a photograph of their loved one against when they weren’t.
Here are the results:
Romantic love is a physical response, it’s not an emotion. It is spurred from the wanting and craving part of the mind that is a driving force a little like what makes us strive for a work promotion.
This driver is more powerful than the desire for sex. Because this is only an emotion. And emotions only last a maximum of 90 seconds. Think about it this way, we die for love but if we’re rejected sexually from someone we brush it off and move forward.
This could explain why we cheat, Or even why people become serial cheaters. We’ve all heard men justify to their wives that ‘it didn’t mean anything.’ This may be true. But to a woman who has fallen foul to point two above, she is sexually possessive and is not at all bothered about whether the sexual interaction was meaningful.
This could also account for a similar response from a man who is outraged at an emotional affair his wife is having. In this situation, it’s likely that nothing physical has happened, but because of point one, the emotional possessiveness is in play.
What are the recent reasons for cheating?
When we talk about cheating most people think about a men. It’s how our brains are wired, but they are cheating with someone. In the traditional line up of a relationship comprising male and female, we’re then looking at a man running off for a non-meaningful sexual encounter with a woman who is more predisposed to falling in love. This imbalance can cause issues and is why men have, throughout history, found professional women for their philanderings. Because surviving infidelity is tricky at best.
Here are the two most profound social trends that have an impact on lust, romantic love and deep attachment to a partner. And hence on why cheating is so much more accessible.
Women moving into the workforce.
Everywhere in the world women are moving into the job market and are closing the gap between men; economically, health wise and education wise. Men and women are different, our brains are different.
Women have a better verbal ability to men
,Finding the right words is a powerful force. 54% of American writers are women because they are imaginative, can plan through web thinking and can put them into complex patterns and see outcomes.
Men focus more, they move in a step-by-step thinking pattern.
This creates a collaborative society where women feel more able to reciprocate where they would in the past have deferred male advances.
In short, women are starting to express their sexuality. Women also start sooner and have more partners. They have kids later and are generally more free. This means that men have a choice of people to sleep with.
We’re also seeing a rise in romantic love, people will not marry anymore if they are not ‘in love’. Arranged marriages are on their decline. It is thought that marriage may become more stable.
There is an ageing population, some research suggests middle age should be 85 because it’s not until we get to this age that there’s something really something wrong with us. And the older we get, the less likely you are to divorce. But do you still need the chemical hit associated with the rush of new love.
Is this also a contributing factor inot why we cheat?
Women have never been more educated, interesting, and able to be a good partner.
If this is the case, why do we cheat?
An orgasm creates a dopamine spike which can genuinely cause the person to fall in love, or at least feel that deep attachment for someone else. And these can work hand in hand with our deep attachment to our long-term partner. In short, it is chemically possible to be in love with more than one person at the same time. This is natural for us.
This is where the problems start.
If we think of a quickie, then that doesn’t seem emotionally complicated. Except that, as we’ve discovered, having an orgasm can stimulate the chemicals that make us fall in love. And who wants their marriage risking for the sake of a quickie?
If you’re attracted to a person, do you start out cheating, without wanting to fall in love. But, then you naturally enter the proverbial triangle we have talked about above.
We know now from research it is possible to be in love with more than one person at the same time. Research has shown this. Whilst it may all seem great at the start, does it ever stay that way? Messy!
Many people end up on antidepressants. And that has a complication all of its own.
The role of antidepressants in love and whether we cheat.
Antidepressants add drugs, serotonin enhancing chemicals into our system, which suppress the dopamine circuit.
Dopamine is associated with romantic love. Antidepressants also kill your sex drive which kills orgasm and in turn, kills the flood of positive chemicals associated with attachment.
When you tamper with the brain in one place, physics means it alters another. It’s impossible not to. And so we end up living in a world without love.
Without love, we have even less reason not to cheat.
Why do you fall in love with one person rather than another?
Timing is important when falling in love, proximity too, but also mysteriousness because this elevates dopamine. This could explain why people cheat.
Likewise if you go off and do something unique with someone, this also elevates dopamine. This is how affairs can lead to issues, and why it’s important to see a professional such as having a massage with hand relief — it gives the physical release without the emotional complications. In the long run it’s a lot cheaper too.
Here’s a story about love to finish with.
One grad student in love with another. The love was not returned. Knowing the above how about doing something unique with a person can help to improve your chances of love. The guy asked the girl to go on a rickshaw ride with him. She obliged, loved it. And after it was finished, she threw up her hands and said, “That was wonderful. And wasn’t the rickshaw driver handsome.”