- Shutterstock/Ana Blazic Pavlovic
- According to some research, a higher IQ means you’re less likely to want to cheat in your relationship, if you’re a man. However, this doesn’t take into account other variables such as someone’s personality, and mate choice. The reasons men and women decide to cheat vary greatly.
The common stereotype is that men are more likely to cheat on their romantic partners than women. It falls into the old stories of men not being able to resist female attention, and the fact women supposedly have more self-control.
In fact, although this may have been based on truth in the past, women have been catching up to men with infidelity over the past few years. One study from Kinsey Institute at Indiana University found that women are cheating at nearly the same rate as men. The 2013 General Social Survey in the US found that the number of wives who reported having affairs rose almost 40% over the past two decades, while the number of men stayed pretty much consistent.
If it’s not as simple as a gender divide, then other aspects of our personalities could be to blame.
Men with higher IQs are less likely to want to cheat.
Some people claim that cheating on your partner is a sign you get bored easily, and therefore you must be more intelligent. In reality, scientific research doesn’t back this theory up.
One study from 2010, published in the journal Social Psychology Quarterly, found that men with higher IQs were less likely to want to be unfaithful to their partners. However, this doesn’t mean they cheat less.
The author, Dr Satoshi Kanazawa from the London School of Economics and Political Science, analysed the results of two major US surveys which had answers from thousands of teenagers and adults.
“More intelligent men are more likely to value monogamy and sexual exclusivity than less intelligent men,” the study concludes. However, preference and behaviour are two different things, and Kanazawa found that more intelligent men simultaneously are both more likely to value sexual exclusivity and more likely to engage in extramarital affairs.
One explanation for this could be supported by the findings that the same was not found for women. Their perceived level of intelligence did not affect how much they were unfaithful. Sex and mating are, usually, matters of female choice, Kanazawa said, so what men want or prefer doesn’t matter.
It comes down to how relationships have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. Back when human relationships were basic and new, it was in the male’s favour to mate with as many females as he could, in order to produce more offspring.
The evolutionary advantage isn’t as vital to the modern man. Kanazawa theorises that it’s the less intelligent men who aren’t able to shed their basic instincts, and thus cheat on their partners.
Women, on the other hand, have always seen the advantage of having one partner, because they have a finite number of eggs with which to reproduce. With females, it has always been quality over quantity, so it makes sense that there wouldn’t be a perceived difference in intelligence and their infidelity record.
Results from another study from 2008, published in the journal American Sociological Review, suggest that people who are financially dependent on their partner are more likely to cheat. This was especially true for men who depended on women.
On the other side of the equation, when women are the breadwinners of the relationship, they are less likely to stray. When men are, and particularly when they earn more than 70% of the household income, they are more likely to cheat.
Men and women cheat for different reasons.
A poll earlier this year found that the reasons men and women gave for being unfaithful were very different. The number one answer among women was they felt that their partner had stopped giving them the attention they needed. The top reason for men simply came down to finding a new person attractive.
Other reasons women cited were the person they cheated with being there for them. They also cited having doubts about their relationship.
Another reason from men were they weren’t having enough sex in their current relationship.
In an article in The Independent, Swiss journalist and author of “Cheating: A Handbook for Women” Michèle Binswanger explained why women seem to be more concerned with emotional affairs, and men by the physical aspects.
“For men it’s often a question of opportunity,” she said. “If they get a perfect opportunity and the risk of being caught is very small, they might be more likely to cheat. Women usually have more opportunities, but other motivations… Many felt undesired, unheard or just unhappy, so they started looking for excitement.”
Other research has shown that once a cheater, always a cheater, could actually be true. So instead of stressing about your partner’s IQ, clues about whether they’ll be faithful or not could simply lie in their past. If their history is clean, it might be a case of innocent until proven guilty – you decide.
This article was updated to clarify the difference between male preference and behaviour.