Who Is Most Likely To Cheat In A Relationship? 7 Things That Predict Your Likelihood Of Straying

Across the board, cheating is way more common than we’d like to admit. But it’s more common among certain types of people than others. You can't always predict if you're going to be cheated on, but knowing what kinds of people cheat could help you spot the warning signs.

"I think the most common misunderstanding is that only bad people cheat,” Erica Turner, MS, Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy and Director of Marketing at Group Therapy Associates, tells Bustle. “Sure, there are definitely people who are chronically unfaithful and may have little respect for their partner or themselves. But most of the people we see in couples therapy essentially 'slid into' cheating — they felt like something was missing or going wrong in their primary relationship, and instead of dealing with that, they allowed a friendship or interaction with another person to become inappropriate. This doesn't usually happen all at once, but over time, it builds until they have a physical and/or emotional intimacy with an outside person that threatens their primary relationship."

About one in five Americans have cheated, according to a YouGov poll. Here are a few qualities that research has found these people to disproportionately possess.

1Watching Porn

Ashley Batz/Bustle

The more men watch porn, the more likely they are to cheat, according to a study in Social, Psychological and Personality Science. It also found that guys who watch porn feel like they have better romantic options. So, it’s possible porn is making people think they can get someone else’s attention. And apparently, for some people, this perception is accurate.

2Having Cheated Before

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

There’s some truth to the saying “once a cheater, always a cheater.” A recent study in Nature found that people who had cheated in their first relationship had triple the chances of cheating in their next one. The researchers believe this is because the first time people cheat, they come with methods to justify their cheating — which come in handy the next time they’re tempted. In other words, cheaters get desensitized to cheating.

3Being In Your Mid 30s

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

One major factor influencing your likelihood of cheating is your age. A study by the extra-marital affair dating site Victoria Milan found that the average age for women to cheat is 36.6. It also found that the average age of marriage was 29, giving some support to the concept of the seven-year itch.

4Believing Your Partner’s Cheating

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

If we think our partners aren’t being faithful to us, we may not feel like we owe them much. One study in Sexually Transmitted Infections found that people who believe their partners recently slept with somebody else are four times as likely to do so themselves. The authors pointed out, however, that people are often wrong about whether or not their partners have cheated. So, people who think they’re giving their partners a taste of their own medicine may actually be the only cheaters in their relationships.

5Being In A Position Of Power

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

It’s not just your imagination: Politicians, business executives, and others in powerful jobs are more likely to cheat, according to a study in the Journal of Sex Research. The researchers think powerful people feel less pressure to conform, since their lives aren’t as limited by what others think. In addition, powerful people in the study found the idea of getting away with something in secret more exciting.

6Having A Ring Finger Much Longer Than Your Pointer Finger

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

It seems random, but apparently, it's science. A study in Biology Letters found that people with a greater difference in length between their pointer fingers and ring fingers were more likely to cheat. People exposed to more testosterone in the womb, regardless of their gender, have longer ring fingers, the authors explained to The Daily Mail. And testosterone also correlates with promiscuity, outgoingness, and other qualities that could lead to cheating.

7Having Fewer Oxytocin And Vasopressin Receptors In Your Brain

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Cheating could be in part genetic. Several studies have shown that people who cheat have fewer receptors for oxytocin and vasopressin — the chemicals that make people bond after sex. If sex is purely physical for you, you may have less of a problem doing it with multiple people.

Of course, possessing these qualities is not an actual reason to cheat. If they tell you anything, perhaps it’s that people with these traits should explore the possibility of a polyamorous relationship — one that all parties consent to.