As much as there is more and more talk of open relationships and that polyamory is no longer a taboo subject, for most couples infidelity is a direct blow to the heart.
It does not have to be definitive, since many manage to forgive themselves and get ahead, but it is still understood as the greatest of grievances to trust between two people who love each other.
So, if they could know if their partner will cheat on them or not, many would prefer to know the truth, because no matter how loving and attentive your lover is, always, however small, the doubt persists: and if .
That same uncertainty was what encouraged Dana Weiser of Texas Tech University and Daniel Weigel of the University of Nevada to conduct research on patterns that could help us predict the future of our relationship.
They propose in ‘Personal Relationships’ that, of the many ways to define infidelity, the best option must include “the cover-up of behaviors” and “the resulting emotional fall”.
Indeed, the result within a monogamous relationship can be psychologically disastrous both for those who suffer it and for those who commit it. So if it is already known in advance that it will cause such an emotional uproar, what leads to person to commit adultery?
For those who had known what infidelity is in the family environment, trust played a very small role in relationships
It is true that each of us may have individual inclinations or that the relationship takes us to the limit of our patience, but it is not necessary to break our heads either, since the conclusions of their study point to a very specific characteristic: how are the parents of the another person. Instigated by certain suspicions that other studies had already mentioned, the researchers analyzed intergenerational patterns to determine the chances of adultery.
In this way, they deduced that if you see it at home, it is more likely that you end up doing it at adulthood. They use the theory of social learning (people learn behaviors through what they observe in their environment) to ensure that from childhood we develop “complex schemes on romantic relationships” that will ultimately influence their own.
One of the investigations they carried out consisted of conducting surveys in which the participants had to answer the following questions: if a relationship can be strengthened after an infidelity (positive results), does it mean that the couple has ended (negative results)), whether it is okay to have sex beyond the romantic relationship (acceptability) and how likely they were that they could adopt this type of behavior. The correlation was clear: for those who had learned about infidelity at home, trust played a very small role in relationships.
They use the theory of social learning to demonstrate that the behaviors seen at home from childhood influence (and a lot) in adult life
However, it was another test (with a larger and more diverse sample) that qualified the previous conclusion and put another factor on the table: the level of communication about parental infidelity.
In other words, it is one thing to have a discreet extramarital affair and another that is evident, either by open behavior or by listening to arguments between parents. In this way, this openness plays a much more important role than the mere exposure to adultery in the family environment.
Although its authors assure that the results still require further verification, this is the first intergenerational study and its conclusions are promising for understanding the psychological and contextual reasons that lead to infidelity.
In this regard, psychologist Susan Krauss explains in ‘Psychology Today’ that one can apply this research to their own life: “If you have been in a relationship for many years and your partner has remained faithful, chances are you do not have what to worry about.
However, if you are trying to analyze the level of commitment your partner has with you, and you do not know her very well, finding out what the family context was like can give you the basis to predict what your relationship will be like.
”Without a doubt, says the psychologist, it is not a good topic to take out during a romantic dinner, but it is something that can be learned as the relationship progresses. What is clear is that understanding where your partner comes from and the environment in which he has been formed will help you to form a more rewarding and lasting relationship.