Recently, two economists, Bruce Elmslie, chair of the Department of Economics at University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business and Economics, and Edinaldo Tebaldi, a professor at Bryant University, researched the economic costs of cheating for men and women. Using a survey that included a question about whether you’ve had an affair and many others about various characteristics – from your feelings on religion to your socio-economic status – the two analyzed who would be more or less likely to cheat and what influences their decisions. About 3,000 men and 3,000 women responded to the survey.
Below is a list garnered from their research about which men and women are more likely to cheat on their spouse. Read on to see if your husband or wife falls into one of the higher risk groups for cheating:
Men Who Are More Likely to Cheat on Their Wife
In general, men are 7 percent more likely to have an affair than women.
Men under the age of 55 are more likely to have an affair than those who are older.
Unhappy men are 13 percent more likely to cheat than their happy counterparts.
Education plays a factor. College-educated men are 3 percent less likely to have an affair than men with a high school education or less.
Men who live in cities are more likely to cheat. Elmslie says he believes this is because there are more opportunities for men to cheat in the city because there are simply more people, and it’s less likely you’ll get caught.
What wives need to know: Religion – the belief that you might go to hell or are sinning when you cheat – does not seem to influence men’s decision to cheat. But getting caught is a great motivator for remaining faithful, says Elmslie. That’s probably why men in rural communities, where people tend to know each other well, are less likely to cheat, he adds.
Women Who Are More Likely to Cheat on Their Husband
Non-religious women are more likely to have an affair.
Women under the age of 45 are more likely to have an affair. In fact, the probability of men and women having had an affair is much closer when they are younger, says Elmslie. He explains that women are often motivated to cheat for biological reasons – finding a mate with good genes to reproduce – and therefore the benefits of cheating would subside with the onset of menopause and the inability to have a baby.
Upper-class women are more likely to cheat.
Again, education can be a factor. Women married to men with advanced degrees are less likely to have an affair.
What husbands need to know: It’s easier to predict whether women will cheat than it is men, says Elmslie. There are more clear-cut indicators that a woman might cheat, such as not being religious or being wealthier than most. Therefore, says Elmslie, men can avoid women in those categories when deciding who to marry to increase the odds that their wife will remain faithful.