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Is this why they cheat?

Cheating may be a man’s way of trying to restore his gender identity when he feels it is under threat, say experts. A study found that men whose partners were more dependent on them...

sex and relationships Updated: Sep 12, 2010 01:08 IST

Cheating may be a man’s way of trying to restore his gender identity when he feels it is under threat, Christin Munsch, a sociology doctorate candidate at Cornell University, says in the study, which she authored and presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

“Making less money than a female partner may threaten men’s gender identity by calling into question the traditional notion of men as breadwinners,” said the study’s author Christin Munsch, a sociology doctorate candidate at Cornell University.

The study also found that men whose partners were more dependent on them were also more likely to cheat, making it a lose-lose situation for women. Dr. Kamal Khurana, Marriage and relationship expert says, “When the man earns less, he feels incompetent and this leads to a low self esteem. To compensate this low feeling he unconsciously, tends to interact with another woman.”

Cheating"The interaction deepens and leads to a physical intimacy. He feels happy because he has conquered the woman. Getting physical is more of an attempt to gain power, to dominate and to gain back what he thinks he has lost."

Dr. Gitanjali Sharma, Marriage expert says, “I get such cases regularly. As the man is earning less, he feels insecure. His male ego remains unsatisfied. And to look after his happiness, he opts for the short term pleasures.”

It’s different for girls, though. If a woman is the main breadwinner in the family, she’s more likely to cheat — it would seem that relationships where women earn more than men really are doomed — and if she depends on her male partner for money, then she is less likely to cheat. The study indicates ways to prevent one’s partner cheating without giving up the well-paid day job.

Both sides being satisfied in a relationship is a sure-fire way to make infidelity disappear. Also, the more regularly an individual attends a religious service, the less likely he or she is to cheat, the study says, adding “the more education one reports, the less likely he or she is to engage in infidelity.”

Munsch analyzed data on 1,024 men and 1,559 women who were married or living with a partner for at least a year for the study, which also found that, for whatever reason, men were around twice as likely as women to be unfaithful — 6.7 per cent of men cheated in a six-year period versus 3.3 per cent of women.

AFP Relax News (Inputs from Kinni Chowdhry)