According to a new study, men are more likely to cheat when they’re financially dependent on their wives. In fact, the study found that men are three times more likely than women to be unfaithful when placed in this position.
The study, which was led by University of Connecticut sociology professor Christin Munsch, is based on the collection of data associated with roughly 2,800 married people whose ages ranged from 18 to 32. The data were collected through the US National Longitudinal Survey of Youth between 2001 and 2011.
Munsch and her team found that when men were in a position of economic dependency–meaning they rely on their wives more than vice-versa–there was a 15-percent chance they would cheat. Reverse the situation, meaning wives are dependent on their husbands, and the chance of cheating is just 5-percent.
Munsch admits she was surprised by the findings. “You 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,” she said.
“Instead, the findings indicate people like feeling relatively equal in their relationships. People don’t like to feel dependent on another person.”
Munsch believes the cheating is about loss of masculinity–meaning men may be searching for a way to accommodate their loss of control. “Extramarital sex allows men undergoing a masculinity threat…that is not being primary breadwinners, as is culturally expected…to engage in behaviour culturally associated with masculinity,” Munsch said.
“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,” Munsch added.