There are lots of signs we've all been told to look out for when it comes to the potential of our relationships failing, and you probably know what most of them are: Your partner is acting distant; the two of you can't stop fighting; you just don't feel the spark anymore; it doesn't feel like they're attracted to you anymore; you know they're lying to you; your friends don't approve of the relationship. But, typically, having lots of amazing sex with each other all of the time isn't a sign that your partner is going to stray. In fact, a new Florida State University cheating study found that young couples who have experience more sexual satisfaction in their relationships are also more likely to cheat on each other.
In order to conduct their study, the researchers commissioned 233 newly married couples. First, they had the participants share every intimate detail of what was going on in their marriage. For three-and-a-half years, these couples were asked to share every thought and feeling regarding their marriage with the researchers. Throughout this time, participants weighed in on every aspect of their relationship, from how satisfied they felt to how faithful they were.
Based on that study, researchers determined that the younger your spouse is, the more likely he or she is to get freaky behind your back. The next indication that they might cheat on you? If your partner is a man, the researchers found that having had more short-lived sexual flings prior to your relationship makes them more likely to cheat. On the flip side, if your partner is a woman, they found that having had more short-term partners prior to your relationship makes her less likely to cheat.
And here's where things get really wild. The study actually found that people who claimed to be happy with their sex lives at home were more likely to also be getting sex elsewhere. The researchers hypothesize this could be because these people just simply enjoy sex more than others and are more prone to looking for it in other places. So, if your partner winds up cheating on you, don't blame your skills in bed. It really is them and not you.
Next, the researchers tested two psychological processes that people in serious relationships typically use to remain faithful, "attentional disengagement" and "evaluation devaluation." Business Insider reports that attentional disengagement is "the ability to direct attention away from someone who is particularly good-looking." You know, like when you see the literal hottest person you've ever seen in your entire life but barely even notice because you're just too dang in love.
Business Insider describes "evaluation devaluation" as "the tendency to trick yourself into thinking someone is less good-looking than they are." You know, like when you see that same super hot person and convince yourself they're actually not that all that because you're just too dang in love.
In order to test these processes, the researchers showed the participants pictures of both super hot and super average-looking people and paid close attention to how they reacted. As you can imagine, the people who took longer to stop looking at the pictures were more likely to be unfaithful.
According to Jim McNulty, a psychology professor from FSU and the lead author of the study, these reactions aren't really up to our conscious minds:
People are not necessarily aware of what they're doing or why they're doing it. These processes are largely spontaneous and effortless, and they may be somewhat shaped by biology and/or early childhood experiences.
It's easy to build sex up to be more than it is within the confines of a relationship but, if this study is an indicator of anything, it should be that there are many, many other important pillars of a healthy relationship. Of course, having a great sex life doesn't necessarily mean your partner is going to cheat but it also doesn't signify a strong relationship so try to focus more attention on building trust and a bond outside of sexual attraction.
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