If cheating was simply a reaction to being treated poorly, the rise in infidelity would have happened decades ago. Studies show that men and women have the same proclivity to cheat and that the best predictor of cheating is opportunity for it. The more interesting studies (to me), though, are the ones that predict why people don’t cheat. It comes down to an ability to degrade strangers’ attractiveness. Essentially, looking away, or resisting temptation. People who stare longer, cheat more. People who figure out how to divert attentions into something else don’t. And it’s true among both happily and unhappily engaged people.

So, in truth, men and women cheat for largely the same reasons (and both sides, when asked, discuss unmet needs). But the recent rise in women’s cheating is likely either for the having of more opportunities (more business travel, dating apps, etc) or a rise in whatever sense of entitlement and self-importance that cheating men have had over the years that prioritizes one’s longing gaze over the promise of being true to someone.

Or both.

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