A lot of research and PhD papers spend a lifetime studying infidelity. What type of people will cheat? How can we identify them? Is it an inborn thing, is it in their DNA, is it an ancestral quality one inherits, or is it a random pedestrian thing dependent on the opportunity and human nature?
Monogamy, a man-made practice for very unromantic and practical reasons, seems the only way to go when one has just fallen in love or is out on a honeymoon. While Prince Harry is trolled for being henpecked by Meghan Markle, his wife of a few months, Prince William had to sue a paper for saying he had been unfaithful to Kate, the mother of his three children, with a friend of hers.
No-strings sex, on the other hand, brings out the judgmental side in most people. It paints a larger picture, of distrust and eventual desertions, not to mention disrespect. Once hitched, mating with another is just plain bad manners it would seem.
It doesn’t make anyone look good, except perhaps the one cheated on, who suddenly dons the mantle of victimhood and gets all the tch-tchs in a pseudo-sympathetic way. As Khloe Kardashian’s former family friend Jordyn will tell you, who feared for her life after reports of getting cosy with Khloe’s boyfriend.Psychiatrist Vijay Nagaswami in his book on the subject, 3’s a Crowd, mentions that the most susceptible are perhaps those who are a hundred percent sure they won’t – they will never! – cheat. Apparently, they may just slip into it when not looking, albeit with a surprised expression, and take the extramarital outing more seriously than their seasoned counterpart.
When the texts of
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos were made public, his first reaction was to prove that girlfriend Lauren happened after wife Mackenzie exited; meaning he did not technically cheat.
So is there a cheating gene? Is it predetermined and therefore preordained and predictable? Well, a new report says male cheats can be spotted in a crowd while female cheats go incognito. Heartening news if you are a woman, a bit dodgy if you are not. It would seem, if these new findings are to be believed, masculine looking men are more liable to cheat, and therefore make cuckolds of their more ordinary average-looking brothers.
According to this study by the University of Western Australia, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science: 'Male masculinity signals men's tendency to adopt short-term mating strategies, with more masculine men having more sexual partners and having more positive attitudes towards uncommitted sex and multiple matings.'An older study had once stated that women carry it off well, being unfaithful, while men are easily caught. Also, it is universally supposed that men fear physical infidelity from their partners while women fear emotional infidelity.
Biological urge or just base nature, scientists are hard at work to find out which even as people, in the interests of science, of course, put in the groundwork in dim-lit bedrooms and quickly booked hotel rooms. After all, a roving eye is a must if all these researchers have to be in business.
Shinie Antony is a writer and editor based in Bangalore. Her books include The Girl Who Couldn't Love, Barefoot and Pregnant, Planet Polygamous, and the anthologies Why We Don’t Talk, An Unsuitable Woman, Boo. Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Asia Prize for her story A Dog’s Death in 2003, she is co-founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival and director of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival.