Dr. Whisman’s team has found three signs that help you predict whether your partner is cheating on you. According to the findings, adultery is predicted by having a neurotic partner with low self-esteem and being suspicious that they are having an affair. Why is it so?
Firstly, people who are neurotic (those who are scored high on Neuroticism in the Big Fives) tend to have less control over their impulses, so are more likely to act on an opportunity. Secondly, those with low self-esteem may seek validation by having an affair. And thirdly, being suspicious of a partner is also predictive of adultery because people are surprisingly good at intuitively reading the signs of infidelity.
In the study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, a stranger was able to spot a relationship cheat just by watching a couple interacting for a few minutes. The conclusions come from a nationally representative survey of 2,291 people who had been married for at least 12 months. The results showed that there was a 2.3% chance of adultery in each year. Other studies suggested that infidelity may affect up to 75% of relationships.
Neuroticism is an important predictor of adultery, according to the citation from the study:
“…neuroticism was significantly and positively associated with infidelity, which is similar to what has been reported regarding an association between neuroticism and perceived likelihood of engaging in an affair.”
Neurotic people may be more likely to act on opportunities because
“…it may be that impulsivity is the aspect of neuroticism that gives rise to increased likelihood of infidelity, as it has been hypothesized that people with high impulsivity and low dependability may be more likely to act on sexual opportunities.”
On top of Neuroticism, low self-esteem and being suspicious, adultery can also be predicted by marital dissatisfaction and being less religious. It has been reported that men are more likely to cheat when their partner is pregnant.
Source: Journal of Family Psychology (Whisman et al., 2007).