TL;DR: Recent research reveals 10 statements to use in predicting if a partner will be unfaithful.

A recent article published by the Social Sciences academic journal describes a 10-item scale that quantifies someone’s “propensity towards infidelity,” or the likelihood someone will cheat on their partner.

“Marital infidelity is one of the most cited causes for divorce and one of the most commonly cited reasons why couples seek therapy,” according to the group, led by Carmen Lisman of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași in Romania. “At the same time, infidelity is a very difficult problem to address in couples therapy.”

To better understand the factors that can cause a breach of romantic trust, researchers developed 25 statements corresponding to one of the following motives for infidelity:

  • Sexuality: Feelings of incompatiblity with partner, or the need for sexual variety.
  • Emotional dissatisfaction: A lack of intimacy, emotional connection, or intellectual stimulation.
  • Revenge or hostility: A partner cheats in order to get revenge on their partner or punch them.
  • Attitudes: Someone is surrounded by people with more relaxed views on sex and relationships.
  • Social context: Someone is spending a lot of time with co-workers of the opposite sex or being physically distant from their partner.

Respondents of the study were asked to rate the 25 statements. Then, using statistical techniques, researchers identified the 10 most influential statements and developed the “propensity towards infidelity” scale.

The infidelity scale statements, rated from strongly agree to strongly disagree.
  1. If my spouse would be unfaithful, it would seem natural to me to have an extramarital relationship.
  2. Flirting with another person would make me feel wanted.
  3. The lack of sexual relations with my spouse would be a reason for me to have an extramarital relationship.
  4. It is plausible for me to have a relationship with someone else than my spouse if I feel emotionally bonded to him/her.
  5. My spouse’s long-term absence would make me engage in relationships with other people.
  6. Colleagues of the opposite sex represent a potential opportunity for an extramarital affair.
  7. If I knew that my spouse would never find out, I could have an extramarital affair.
  8. There are certain contexts in which it would be plausible to have an extramarital affair.
  9. My spouse’s close relationship with a colleague of the opposite sex would make it likely for me to engage in a relationship with someone else.
  10. The fact that other married friends have had extramarital relationships makes me think that it can happen to me.

“The main goal of this research was to develop an instrument measuring the propensity towards infidelity of heterosexual people in marital relationships on the bases of the five major categories of infidelity motives,” say the researchers. “The instrument developed and examined here addresses people’s motivational intensity towards infidelity—i.e., their psychological proneness or susceptibility to engage in such behaviors under certain circumstances.”

(NOTE: This article is not a diagnosis. Always seek out a qualified counselor for advice on treatment plans)


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