You're More Likely To Cheat On Your Partner If You Suspect They're Cheating On You, New Study Says

If you've ever asked yourself what makes a person likely to cheat? While studies have blamed genetics, biology, and career choice, among other things, it’s clear to see there’s really no one standout thing that makes a person more likely to be a cheater than the next. But here’s another one for you to consider. According to a new study, young adults are more likely to cheat if they believe their partner is cheating on them.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina analyzed data on 536 young heterosexual men and women aged 18 to 30 living in the Los Angeles area to figure out their sexual behaviors. In particular, they wanted to discover what makes young adults seek sexual relationships with multiple people at once in order to find the reasoning behind why sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise among 14-to 24-year-olds.

Participants were asked about the start and end dates of their sexual relationships as well as whether or not drugs and alcohol were used before or during sex. They were also asked whether or not they believed their partners were having sex with other people while they were still with them.

About 50 percent of all people studied had overlapping sexual partners during the study. Almost 57 percent of men were more likely to have multiple partners in comparison to 43 percent of women. Those who thought their partner had recently had sex with someone else were four times more likely to have sex with another person.

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“Although it’s difficult to know the full truth, interestingly, previous research has found that people’s perceptions about their partners’ behavior frequently do not match what the partner tells the researchers.”

In other words, people may believe that their partners are monogamous when they’re not. At the same time, they may believe their partners aren’t faithful when they really are. According to researchers, that’s the core of the problem.

“Explicit discussion about monogamy/non-monogamy expectations and improved communication skills could conceivably reduce concurrent partnerships and in that way reduce STI/HIV risk,” Sanchez said.

You've probably hear about 300 signs and indicators that someone is a cheater. But sometimes paranoia we read a little too far into things. If the study has anything to say about that, open communication may be the key to releasing those relationship fears. Here are six things that don’t necessarily mean your partner is cheating.

1. They Want To Hang Out With People Other Than You

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Honestly, let them. Relationships should add to your life, not take up the entire thing. If they’re constantly canceling dates or rejecting your ideas to do something together, then you might have something to worry about. But if they cancel on you a few times in the entire span of your relationship in order to hang with their friends, no big deal.

2. They Watch Porn

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Some say it’s not the porn-watching itself, but the secrecy behind the whole thing. Especially if one person in the relationship doesn't watch porn, it can feel like a "secret." People aren’t openly watching porn on their phones in the middle of the mall as they would a fun YouTube video.

But just because your partner watches porn, it doesn’t mean they’re cheating. Porn is a fantasy. Everyone’s entitled to their own little bit of fantasy, aren’t they? Besides, porn can actually be good for your relationship. As sex therapist Ian Kerner told Bustle earlier this year, “With its intense variety, it may be easier for a man to get aroused via porn than via partner sex, especially if a degree of familiarity has settled in.” In short, it’s good foreplay.

3. They Masturbate

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Just because your partner masturbates, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or your sex life. As Psychology Today noted, masturbating is the very first sexual experience that a majority of us have experienced. It’s efficient, readily available, and a regular form of sex when another human being is not present. According to the Kinsey Institute, nearly 85 percent of men and 45 percent of women who live with a sexual partner report to masturbating. Besides, mutual masturbation could be a fun thing to incorporate into your sex life.

4. They're Friendly With An Ex

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People handle breakups differently. While some people like cut their ex out completely, others won’t. Just because your partner is friendly with their ex, it doesn’t mean they want to get back together with them. I mean, there’s a reason things didn’t work out in the first place, right?

I firmly believe that people come into our lives for a reason. Personally, I would rather be with someone who only has good things to say about his ex than someone who thinks it’s OK to go on and on about terrible they were.

5. They Don’t Respond To Texts Right Away

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Just because someone isn’t responding in 10 minutes, it doesn’t mean they’re out cheating on you. Maybe they’re not too attached with their phones or maybe they just got swamped with work. If they constantly blow off your texts, bring it up to them and find out the cause. Remember, it’s all about communication.

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