The 4 Personality Types Most Likely To Cheat, Based On Their Myers-Briggs
When a girlfriend of mine discovered her partner of four years had been cheating on her, all of her friends were left scratching their heads over whether there were signs we had somehow missed. “He was pretty outgoing,” said one friend. “And sooo charming,” added another — as if these should have been clues to his unfaithful ways. Which begs the question: are there personality types most likely to cheat on their partners?
The Myers-Briggs Type indicator can tell you a lot about how someone behaves in a relationship. The test, which was published in 1943, was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs (who was only 14 years old when she attended college) and her daughter Isabel Briggs. The test focuses on four different dimensions of a person’s personality, with two possibilities for each: Where your attention is focused (Extraversion or Introversion), how you take in information (Sensing or Intuition), how you make decisions (Thinking or Feeling), and how you deal with the world (Judging or Perceiving). The four letters that make up your type encompass which trait you embody for each category. There are sixteen different possible personality types, and they can reveal a whole lot about how a person interacts with the world — including whether or not they're likely to cheat.
Indeed, Myers-Briggs personality types can be useful in terms of defining our relationships with others — and it makes sense, too. Our personalities can affect our needs, desires, insecurities, and fears in a relationship. They can also dictate some of our tendencies – and infidelity is no exception. However, it's worth noting that they in no way determine who you are or predict what you might do. Every individual has the power to make their own decisions, regardless of their personality type. Alas, here are the four MBTI types that may be tempted to be unfaithful.
One might be surprised that an introvert would be more likely to cheat — but here’s the thing: ISFPs like to live in the moment. Not only that, but they value their freedom and independence a lot. This combination of traits can make them slightly more likely to stray.
Let’s break down one of the facets of this personality type: Sensing. While Intuitive types tend to think about the bigger picture in any situation, always thinking ahead, Sensors types are more focused on the here and now. Since they’re living in the moment, they’re less likely to think ahead about the consequences of their actions.
“Individuals who have a hard time controlling their impulses may cheat because they are thinking about immediate gratification rather than the long-term effects or consequences," says licensed therapist Dr. Melanie Shapiro.
True to the name, sensors often rely on their senses in their immediate environment to make a decision (which is important to take into account when a person is faced with temptation). On the other hand, intuitive types lean on patterns and thoughts about future possibilities when they make decisions, which means they may be more likely to think about the impact that cheating could have (thus making them less likely to follow through).
“Thrill-seekers” may be the best way to sum up this personality type. ESTPs need a lot of social interaction, as well as a lot of freedom — they’re daring and adventurous. As PersonalityPerfect puts it, “ESTPs leap before they look, fixing their mistakes as they go.” In other words, they tend to think on their feet before fully evaluating every aspect of a situation. This tendency may translate into cheating because they are more likely to act without considering how their decision may impact a partner.
This personality type also actively seeks out new challenges and experiences — and in some cases, may find a thrill in taking risks. They also tend to focus more on living in the present than dwelling on how their actions could impact the future. As a result, they can be somewhat unpredictable partners. As they are especially good at telling a story (and improvising), they may also be better at hiding their indiscretions.
The thinking aspect of this personality type is worth exploring as well. As one might expect, feelers tend to make their decisions based on their value system and compassion versus logic or reason. They place more emphasis on the people involved when making decisions, considering how something they might do or say may affect that person’s feelings. As such, they may be quicker to weigh how cheating could be detrimental to their relationship. When thinkers make decisions, take more impersonal approach — in other words, they try not to let any other people's wishes influence them. If a thinker is less likely to think about how their actions will affect their partner, they are also more likely to go through with the infidelity.
“Individuals who are empathic are able to put themselves in the situation of their partner,” explains Shapiro. “If someone can imagine what it would feel like if they were in a situation that person would be more likely to protect their partner than harm them (by cheating).”
While there are obviously many positive traits that come along with being a thinker (logic, organization, objectivity) the negative traits include failing to notice other peoples’ feelings and misunderstanding others’ values. These characteristics can obviously prove a bit problematic when it comes to considering how your behavior will affect your significant other.
There are lots of benefits to dating an ESTP — they’re passionate, charming, and energetic. On the other hand, as ESTPs are also always trying to keep things exciting, less in tune with others’ feelings, and tend to live in the present as opposed to thinking long-term. As such, it may be difficult for them to make a long-lasting commitment without seeking out the novelty that comes with an affair.
“Most Likely to Experience FOMO.” That’s the superlative that ESFP would’ve won in high school, and for good reason. This personality type — which is sometimes referred to as “The Entertainer” or “The Performer” — is super social, fun-loving, friendly, and spontaneous. It’s all about living in here and now with an ESFP, which means there’s never a dull moment when you’re dating someone with this type.
However, that spontaneity, can come at a price: They’re typically more concerned with what they’re doing right this second rather than thinking about their future. Whereas a future-oriented person is more likely to weigh the consequences of cheating, an ESFP may get caught up in the moment and seek out that instant gratification without thinking about the long-term effects.
On top of that, ESFPs can get easily distracted, which may explain a tendency to have a wandering eye when they’re in a relationship. Basically, these pleasure-seekers are a little more at risk for giving into temptation than some other personality types.
You may notice that every personality type listed here includes Perceiving. While Judgers prefer order and a plan, Perceivers prefer things to be spontaneous and flexible — open-ended, if you will. That means they like to stay open to new experiences, and as such, they’re more likely to decide to do something in the moment as opposed to planning something in advance, do something last minute, or postpone a decision on what to do to see what their other options are.
Perceivers tend to be more open to new ideas (and less hung-up on traditional notions of morality). To boot, some of the negative traits associated with being a Perceiver include being indecisive, and not controlling their circumstances, both of which can obviously prove to complicate things when someone is faced with the opportunity to cheat.
ENTPs have lots of positive qualities — they’re resourceful, analytical, and great at reading people. However, they also get easily bored by routine — in fact, you’ll rarely see an ENTP do anything the same way twice. For an ENTP, the rules were made to be broken, which means they’re less likely to conform to norms. They find rules to be constraining, and they are pretty adept at finding the loopholes that will give them a leg-up. All of these characteristics may make them more prone to cheating, because they’re not as likely to make a decision based on what’s “acceptable,” or abide by traditional notions in relationships. They are curious and nonconformist a heart.
Research has shown that extroverts may also be more likely to stray when they’re in a relationship. In fact, one 2013 study conducted at Georgia Southern University, which was published in Evolutionary Psychology, revealed that extroverts were more likely to have affairs than introverts.
Some of the qualities associated with extroverts include being impulsive and needing change/variety. In his new book Infidelity: Why Men and Women Cheat, psychiatrist Dr. Kenneth Paul Rosenberg revealed seven personality traits that boost the likelihood someone will cheat — and a couple of those characteristics include being impulsive and being a novelty or thrill-seeker.
"Anyone who has an interest in positions of power would be the most likely to have an affair, and that would usually be extroverts," says Kate Stewart, psychotherapist and dating coach at Modern Therapy Seattle. "Also, any E person would feel more comfortable around people and probably be able to find people to have an affair with."
It makes sense when you think about it: Extroverts seek out engagement with others to make them feel energized rather than getting their energy from within. As such, they may be more likely to seek out attention from someone else, because they crave that human interaction. That said, not all extroverts are necessarily prone to cheating. However, they have traits that may make it slightly more "in character."
It's important to note that not all people who fall under these personality types are cheaters — or unable to commit to someone. A person’s personality type doesn’t guarantee how they will behave in a relationship. Every individual has unique experiences, values, thoughts, and beliefs that all come into play when faced with cheating, and as much as a personality test can be revealing about someone’s behavior, it can’t predict what your partner will or won’t do. Being aware that these types may be more prone to cheating can certainly be helpful, but remember: If you’re concerned your partner seems at risk of being unfaithful (or already has been), it’s best to address your fears head-on in an open conversation with your SO rather than rely on assumptions or draw your own conclusions.
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