A study titled, "Premarital Precursors of Marital Infidelity" discusses what behaviors a dating or engaged couple would be more likely to exhibit while still dating, so as to predict their potential for infidelity when married.
The study tested over 70 couples in the first year of marriage, using behaviors exhibited before marriage to demonstrate how likely cheating might occur. Men and women responded quite differently in the study. The men who cheated were more likely to:
- ... feel negated and/or invalidated by their female partners;
- ... be dissatisfied sexually; and
- ... offer significantly less positive reinforcement to their partner as compared to the non-cheating control group.
- ... also offer significantly less positive reinforcement to their partner as compared to the non-cheating control group;
- ... feel nullified both towards their partner and by their partner; and
- ... both be the target of and speak to their partner using significantly more negative communication tactics than the non-cheating control group.
The results of this study tie nicely into a book called, "How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It," by Dr. Patricia Love and Dr. Steven Stosny (Compare Prices). The title may lead you to believe that its contents are more suited towards married couples than those still dating, but the advice given throughout the book offers just as much useful information to those in long term relationships. The book explains how to avoid the issues that the predicting infidelity study points out, in ways that are unique, well explained and informative (although some are far from easy).
But, what do you think? Can a study predict cheating in long term relationships? Do you find the answers given by the study participants accurate, based on your own dating and relationship experiences?
References: Allen, E. S., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., Williams, T., & Melton, J. (2008). Premarital precursors of marital infidelity. Family Process, 47(2), 243-259'