Love and Deceit: Who Gets Cheated On More In Relationships?

Who Gets Cheated On More? Personality Type

When it comes to love, the question of who gets cheated on more remains elusive. Join me as we navigate the complex landscape of relationship dynamics.

Cheating in relationships is unacceptable, and it never ceases to be painful. But one thing should be considered when it comes to infidelity, and that is – what type of person is more likely to be cheated on? And is there actually some specific personality traits that contribute to that person getting cheated on?

It’s the ultimate betrayal: Cheating. Research on infidelity has explored many facets of the experience, including how often it happens, qualities in a relationship that may lead to cheating, and traits of those who are more likely to cheat (Fincham & May 2017). 

But, to this point, research has largely ignored the non-cheater—the person uninvolved in committing infidelity but gets cheated on.

Though their partner’s unfaithful behavior certainly isn’t their fault, understanding as many potential factors related to cheating is important because the research is clear: Cheating harms relationships.

The more we learn about contributing factors the better our chances of minimizing infidelity’s prevalence and impact.  

In a just-published 2020 study, Meghna Mahambrey of the Ohio State University seeks to answer the question, “Who gets cheated on in relationships?” Specifically, she was curious about which aspects of a person’s personality may make them more susceptible to having their partner or spouse commit infidelity.

Study participants came from a large nationally representative sample with analyses focusing on 1,577 participants, 898 of whom were married, in middle/late adulthood, who completed a telephone interview and a self-report survey. Across the entire sample, 19% reported being cheated on at some point.

The researcher gathered information on personality by asking participants how well 26 different Big Five personality traits described them:

  • Openness (e.g., adventurous, curious, intelligent).
  • Conscientiousness (e.g., responsible, hardworking, organized).
  • Extraversion (e.g., friendly, outgoing, talkative).
  • Agreeableness (e.g., caring, softhearted, sympathetic).

To gauge cheating, they also listed a series of life experiences and asked participants to check any that applied, including “Spouse/partner engaged in (marital) infidelity.”

Related: 12 Key Reasons Why Some Women Cheat In Relationships According To Psychologists

Findings – who gets cheated on more?

Obviously, a lot of things contribute to cheating in a relationship, beyond personality. In her models, the researcher accounted for factors such as age, education, gender, race/ethnicity, and religiosity.

Even after statistically accounting for those (i.e., controlling for them), she found that across the entire sample, those who were less conscientious (i.e., more careless, less hard-working, and organized) were more likely to have a partner cheat on them. 

When she did similar analyses on the subsample of married individuals, she found the same pattern for conscientiousness, but also found that people who were more agreeable (i.e., more warm and helpful) were more likely to have their spouse commit infidelity. 

What These Results Mean – What Type Of Person Is More Likely To Be Cheated On?

First, what it doesn’t mean: This isn’t a justification to blame the victim. Finding a correlation between certain personality characteristics and a partner’s unfaithfulness does not show that you are to blame if you happen to be an agreeable or non-conscientious person. The cheating partner is the one who violated the relationship’s trust; it’s their fault.

Though being agreeable is generally a desirable trait, in the context of cheating it’s possible that having a more agreeable partner emboldened the cheater to feel that their transgression would be more easily forgiven.

Having low conscientiousness could also cause problems: As the researcher explains, “Having an unreliable, immature, or lazy partner could increase stress and conflict when navigating day-to-day responsibilities such as paying bills, doing household chores, attending work events, honoring personal commitments, and so on.”

None of these excuses cheating, but other research does show that when participants described their partner as low in conscientiousness and agreeableness, they reported lower marital satisfaction (Shackelford et al., 2008). 

We also know that individuals who themselves are low in conscientiousness and agreeableness are more likely to cheat (Schmitt, 2004). It is logical that those same traits also play a role in the uninvolved partner.

People who get cheated on in a relationship also share qualities with people who are least likely to cheat in their relationship.

Related: Why Infidelity Isn’t Always Black And White As People Believe It To Be

That study found that people who were highly conscientious and agreeable, along with low openness tended not to commit infidelity (Apostolou & Panayiotou, 2019). Taken together, these studies show the importance of conscientiousness and agreeableness in relationship dynamics.

It’s important to note that the present study’s results only apply to participants who knew their partner cheated; if anything, the overall cheating rate of 19% is likely an underestimate.

We should also note that the type of infidelity was not specified, so the researchers relied on participants’ own definition, which could include a range of behaviors from emotional infidelity to sexual intercourse.

Ultimately, while being more conscientious certainly can’t guarantee that your partner won’t cheat, exuding greater responsibility, self-discipline, and helpfulness can benefit your relationship. 

Love relationships? To learn more, see my new book Stronger Than You Think: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship…and How to See Past Them

You can also follow me on Twitter: @LewandowskiPhD

References:
Apostolou, M., & Panayiotou, R. (2019). The reasons that prevent people from cheating on their partners: An evolutionary account of the propensity not to cheat. Personality and Individual Differences, 146, 34–40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.03.041 Fincham, F. D., & May,  R. W. (2017). Infidelity in romantic relationships. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 70-74. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.03.008 Mahambrey, M. (2020). Self-reported Big Five personality traits of individuals who have experienced partner infidelity. Personal Relationships. Online first (Version of Record online: 10 June 2020):  https://doi.org/10.1111/pere.12315   Schmitt, D. P. (2004). The Big Five related to risky sexual behavior across 10 world regions: Differential personality associations of sexual promiscuity and relationship infidelity. European Journal of Personality, 18, 301–319. https://doi.org/10.1002/per.520 Shackelford, T. K., Besser, A., & Goetz, A. T. (2008). Personality, marital satisfaction, and probability of marital infidelity. Individual Differences Research, 6, 13–25 Retrieved from https://www.toddkshackelford.com/downloads/Shackelford-Besser-Goetz-IDR-2008.pdf 

Cheating is always a painful thing to go through, and no matter how much someone tries, there is hardly any justification for it. Being conscientious is a good thing, and you should not let go of something good in you just because someone else is unable to appreciate it.

Share your thoughts on who gets cheated on most in the comments below!


Written By Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. 
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today
Who Gets Cheated On More In Relationships pin
What Type Of Person Gets Cheated On Most?
who gets cheated on most
Ads

— About the Author —



Up Next

10 Unexpected Signs Of Cheating: How To Tell If Your Spouse Is Having An Affair

Unexpected Signs Of Cheating: Beyond the Obvious

If you are googling “surprising and unexpected signs of cheating” at 2 in the morning, then you’ve come to the right place. Well, we all have been there. Suspicion and doubt can sneak up like an uninvited guest when it comes to your spouse; something tells you that something is wrong, but you just can’t put your finger on it.

When it comes to infidelity, it’s not always about the lipstick on the collar or mysterious phone calls at night. There can be many subtle signs of cheating that you might overlook and miss out on.

So go grab some coffee (or something stronger) and explore all the hidden signs you spouse



Up Next

The Cheaters’ Playbook: 3 Types Of Men Who Have Affairs

The Cheaters' Playbook: Types Of Men Who Have Affairs

Have you ever wondered why do some men have affairs? It isn’t always because they’re just looking for excitement or are bored. There’s usually more to it. There are actually 3 types of men who have affairs, and we are going to do a deep dive into that today.

In a perfect world, love would keep everyone on course, but the truth is we often have to deal with betrayal and heartbreak. We’re going to take a close look at the 3 types of men who have affairs, some of the glaring traits of men who cheat, and most importantly, why do men have affairs.

Let’s start with understanding the traits of men who cheat.



Up Next

How Does A Narcissist Act When Caught Cheating? 6 Things A Narcissistic Partner Might Say

How Does A Narcissist Act When Caught Cheating? Statements

How does a narcissist act when caught cheating? If you have ever been with a narcissist, you know what happens when a narcissist is caught cheating, and all the absurd things they say to justify their actions. Let’s explore 6 statements a narcissists makes when a narcissist gets caught cheating.

KEY POINTS

A narcissistic partner may routinely say six things when they are caught cheating.

These statements are manipulative and are meant to get you to believe that you are the one at fault.

An understanding of how these statements influence your judgment may help.



Up Next

How To Get Over Emotional Cheating: 10 Practical Tips

Practical Tips On How To Get Over Emotional Cheating

Finding out that the person you love the most is in love with someone else can be one of the most heartbreaking experiences. Emotional cheating can not only shatter a relationship, but it can also traumatize and emotionally break the other partner. Let’s learn how to get over emotional cheating and start the healing process

What Does Emotional Cheating Mean?

Also known as emotional infidelity or emotional affair, it refers to a relationship where one person falls in love with, becomes emotionally intimate or develops a romantic bond with someone else outside their primary relationship or marriage.



Up Next

The 3 Most Common Types Of Cheaters: Uncovering The Love Fraudsters

Most Common Types Of Cheaters: The Silent Echoes Of Deceit

In every love story, the sweet haze of romance often hides some unsettling figures lurking in the shadows—figures of deceit that can turn sweet stories bitter. When it comes to infidelity and cheating, you might be a bit surprised to know that there are different types of cheaters, mainly 3 types of cheaters.

Revealing these types of cheaters might bring out uncomfortable truths, but they’re important for understanding the complex world of human emotions. Through their different ways of dishonesty, they show the complicated and tangled nature of cheating. Each one represents a warning about the rough patches that love can sometimes



Up Next

Can A Narcissist Be Faithful? 18 Reasons Why They Cheat (And Why They Don’t)

Can A Narcissist Be Faithful? Reasons They Can Be

Can a narcissist be faithful? This question delves into the intricate world of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and the complex dynamics of relationships involving narcissists. 

Understanding the psychology behind this topic is crucial for those who have encountered or are currently involved with narcissistic individuals. Let us explore the nature of narcissism, the reasons why a narcissist can be unfaithful, as well as the factors that might lead them to exhibit faithfulness. 

Can a Narcissist be Faithful in a Relationship?

Can a narcissist be faithful? This is a nuanced question and doesn’t really have a straightforward answer.



Up Next

The 3 Least Loyal Zodiac Signs Who Seem Allergic To Commitment

Three Least Loyal Zodiac Signs: A Guide To Avoid Red Flag

The precious bond that fortifies connections and defines true devotion is loyalty. But these three least loyal zodiac signs are masters of unpredictability, challenging the very essence of commitment.

While the zodiac can offer insights into our strengths and weaknesses, it’s also known for pointing out our less desirable traits. 

Brace yourself, for we’re about to unveil the truth about the least loyal zodiac signs. From the silver screen to real life, these signs have left a trail of disloyalty that’s hard to ignore. 

So, if you’re ready to dive into the drama, let’s explore the traits of these most disloyal zodiac signs!

Read more he