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  • Hubert Marlin

Money won’t buy love Financially dependent men cheat more on their spouses


If you're economically dependent on your spouse, you're more likely to cheat on them In 2010 a study presented at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association,made on a survey of about 2,800 people between ages 18 and 32, suggests that a person who is completely economically dependent on their spouse is more likely to be unfaithful. That's especially true for a man who relies financially on a woman. Fifteen percent of men who are completely financially dependent on their wives’ cheat, compared to 5% of dependent women.

Interestingly, men are less likely to cheat the more money they make relative to their spouse — until they bring in 70% of the household income, at which point they become more likely to cheat again. Women are also less likely to cheat the more money they make relative to their spouse — but their cheating rates don't seem to go up at any point. Some would think that people would not want to ‘bite the hand that feeds them’ so to speak, but that is not what my research shows,” says study author Christin L. Munsch, a University of Connecticut assistant professor of sociology. “Instead, the findings indicate that people like to feel relatively equal in their relationships. People don’t like to feel dependent on another person.” According to Munsch, in an average year, there is about a 5 percent chance that women who are completely economically dependent on their husbands will cheat, whereas there is about a 15 percent chance that men who are entirely economically dependent on their wives will have an affair. Although Munsch found that economic dependency increases the likelihood of engaging in infidelity for both men and women, there appears to be something that makes men who are not primary breadwinners even more prone to cheating compared to women who are not primary breadwinners. “Extramarital sex allows men undergoing a masculinity threat – that is, not being primary breadwinners, as is culturally expected – to engage in behavior culturally associated with masculinity,” Munsch says. “For men, especially young men, the dominant definition of masculinity is scripted in terms of sexual virility and conquest, particularly with respect to multiple sex partners. Thus, engaging in infidelity may be a way of reestablishing threatened masculinity. Simultaneously, infidelity allows threatened men to distance themselves from, and perhaps punish, their higher-earning spouses.”“Women who out-earn their husbands challenge the status quo,” says Munsch, who noted that women are least likely to engage in infidelity when they make 100 percent of a couple’s total income. “Previous research finds that women who are primary breadwinners are acutely aware of the ways in which they deviate from the cultural expectation that equates men with breadwinning. Consequently, previous research finds these women suffer from increased anxiety and insomnia and engage in what sociologists call ‘deviance neutralization behaviors.’”For example, she said, women who are the primary breadwinners in their marriages often minimize their achievements, defer to their spouses, and increase their housework. “This emotional and physical work is designed to decrease interpersonal conflict and shore up their husband’s masculinity,” Munsch says. “It is also aimed at keeping potentially strained relationships intact.”Among men, those who are completely economically dependent on their spouses are the most likely to cheat. Meanwhile, as the money men make relative to their spouses increases, their odds of committing adultery decrease until their total contribution to the pooled income reaches 70 percent.

Men are least likely to cheat when they bring home 70 percent of a couple’s total income. After 70 percent, however, men become increasingly more likely to stray. “These men are aware that their wives are truly dependent and may think that, as a result, their wives will not leave them even if they cheat,” Munsch says. “They also might be cheating in search of a partner who will contribute more economically to the relationship. A husband who earns significantly more than his wife and has an affair , like celebrities, athletes, and politicians, is regularly more likely to cheat than men in equal-earning relationships or relationships where they make a little bit more than their wives. “What is surprising, though, is that the increase in the likelihood of men engaging in infidelity that occurs as they make significantly more than their wives is relatively small, compared to the increase in the likelihood of cheating that takes place among men as they become more economically dependent.

It's also relevant to note that, the attractiveness of the woman may play a role in her medium income. The less attractive women seeming always to do better in school, thus they end up getting highly paid job after, and may attract men who interested by their money will no less look outside to satisfy their carnal instincts In general, the tolerance of cheating varies by genders, while DNA might be a decisive factor in the behavior of cheaters. A 2008 study published in the journal Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes found that after men flirted with an attractive person of the opposite sex, they were less tolerant of their partner's transgressions. Women, on the other hand, were more so. A growing body of research suggests that certain people are more likely to be unfaithful, depending on their biology, with hormones like Vasopressin and Oxytocin playing key roles. For example, one study from the University of Queensland Australia , published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, found that infidelity was more common among people who had specific types of oxytocin and vasopressin receptor genes.

As Richard Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, explained in The New York Times, vasopressin is a hormone related to social behaviors including trust, empathy, and sexual bonding.

Released directly into the brain from the hypothalamus, according to some studies it plays an important role in social behavior, sexual motivation and pair bonding, and maternal responses to stress. Oxytocin mainly secreted by women is normally produced by the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and released by the posterior pituitary It plays a role in social bonding, sexual reproduction, and during and after childbirth. Oxytocin is released into the bloodstream as a hormone in response to stretching of the cervix and uterus during labor and with stimulation of the nipples from breastfeeding. This helps with birth, bonding with the baby, and milk production According to the results of that study, a whopping 40% of instances of infidelity in women and 62% in men had to do with genetics. Other studies confirm that oxytocin and vasopressin are linked to partner bonding, which bears on the question of promiscuity since emotional bonding is, in a sense, the inverse of promiscuity. Hasse Walum at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that in women, but not in men, there is a significant association between one variant of the oxytocin receptor gene and marital discord and lack of affection for one’s partner. In contrast, there was a significant correlation in men between a specific variant of the vasopressin receptor gene and lower marital quality reported by their spouses.

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