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Personality Traits That Predict Infidelity

When choosing a life partner, it is important to know what you’re looking for. Whether you are after good-looks, a particular body type, a sense of humor, or reliability, be sure to also consider faithfulness to the relationship. Most people rank fidelity very high on the list of desirable traits. In fact, 95% report that infidelity in a partnership is immoral and 65% say they would not be prepared to forgive their partner if caught in an extra-marital relationship. If we could predict infidelity in a individual, we would likely not partner with that person. But how does one predict such a thing? How could one know? Unfortunately, many young lovers assume it falls down to the degree of inloveness. But the data show that nothing is further from the truth. Nearly 95% of unfaithful men report they do not wish to end their relationship. Yet they cheat on their beloved. Understanding the personality components of the cheater may help protect against choosing a partner who will break your heart. Following, are some things to watch for. In an attempt to find out, Tan, Hwong, and Lee (2016) reviewed 326 research studies conducted between 2000 and 2015. These findings may prevent the soul-crushing aftermath of infidelity.

Neuroticism — is characterized by excessive worry, guilt, depression, and anxiety. Studies have indicated that those who score high on measures of neuroticism may be more prone to have extramarital affairs. This tendency was found to be stronger among female cheaters than male. It may be that cheater’s fear of being alone leads him to seek out multiple partners.

Psychopathy — is the tendency to disregard the moral code, rights of others, and act purely on one’s own behalf. Psychopathy appears to have a strong correlation to infidelity among both males and females, with an 95% likelihood that the individual will engage with other sex partners outside of the core relationship. And, psychopaths tend toward a higher number of sex partners than do those with neurosis.

Narcissism — is hallmarked by grandiosity, and conceit. The narcissist believes he is better-looking, smarter, fitter, and more worthy than his spouse.

Machiavellianism — is the use of cunning and duplicity in social or career matters. Machiavellianism is highly correlated to infidelity.

Sexual excitation — is a measure of how often and to what degree one becomes sexually excited. It has been found that males who are high in sexual excitation are more likely to commit sexual infidelity. Sexual excitation is not related to sexual infidelity in females.

Sensation seeking —is the tendency to seek out exciting and possibly dangerous situations. Sensation seeking has been found to be predict sexual infidelity, particularly in men.

Other factors — Some other findings include evidence that those high in extraversion but lower on honesty-humility, agreeableness and openness are more likely to cheat on their partners. Emotional stability, or the ability to calm oneself, is also indicative. And finally, valuing emotional connection is negatively related to infidelity.

Tan, L. J., Hwong, K. I., & Lee, M. C. C. (2016). A review of personality factors on infidelity. Jurnal Psikologi Malaysia, 30,1, 126-141.

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