We all have our relationship patterns. Dating men who cheat is not one of mine. (Unless I’m being forever hoodwinked.) Still, I’ve always been curious about the phenomenon of cheating. I have never cheated, you see, and don’t really understand people who do. I hear their reasons why, but those “reasons” sound more like excuses to distance themselves from blame. Excuses keep their sense of integrity intact.
Turns out, science is offering up an excuse of its own.
Both men and women carry the DRD4 gene, but studies have shown that those with a certain variant of this gene are more likely to cheat. It’s the same gene variant that makes people more prone to addictive behaviors like gambling and alcoholism…and thrill seeking activities like bungee jumping and skydiving. A study conducted at Binghamton University in New York showed that those with the gene variant were 50% more prone to infidelity, one-night stands and overall promiscuous behavior.
I do not carry this gene variant. I have never had a one-night stand (this is partly because any one-night stands I may have had end up becoming long-term relationships). I do not want to bungee jump or skydive. If you challenge me to do so, I will, because I’m competitive, but I will not want to, and I will not enjoy jumping out of a plane, as I equate this idiocy with falling to my death.
Let’s Talk Prairie Voles
Researchers really spend their time wisely. They discovered that prairie voles with longer vasopressin receptor genes are more monogamous than their furry counterparts with shorter vasopressin receptor genes. In fact, when researchers pumped lab mice full of the prairie mole version of this gene, the mice snuggled with each other…totally atypical behavior! Crazy what we can find out when we aren’t researching a cure for cancer!
Men, like prairie voles, are special. The longer their vasopressin genes, the more likely they are to be faithful, to seek out monogamous relationships, and to want a family. Ain’t that sweet? Except that it lets the cheaters (the guys with short vasopressin genes) off the hook a little too easily…
Humans Have A Conscience…Prairie Voles Do Not
What sets the human species apart from all other organisms on the planet? Our capacity for higher-thinking that allows us to use symbols, develop language, and exercise free will and consciousness.
The desire to cheat originates in your brain’s pleasure and reward center. A flood of dopamine rushes in, and those who are “vulnerable/prone” are oh so affected by this dangerous interplay of neurotransmitters. What to do, what to do?! I want to be satisfied!!!!
People! We aren’t a bunch of monkeys who act on instinct alone. We have been given the gift of free will and impulse control. It doesn’t matter how prone you are to cheating, you really have no scientific excuse. If you don’t exercise self-control, then you’re pretty much on monkey level. Yes, I’m calling you a monkey…a monkey man.
Cut the Crap!
Now, scientists are telling us that there are physiological indicators that signal a predisposition to cheat. For instance, if the guy’s ring finger is significantly longer than his pointer finger, he’s more likely to bang lots of different broads. Why? Because he has more testosterone. Apparently, a man who is well-endowed also has more testosterone…and subsequently a stronger drive to cheat. Perhaps this explains why many black men have multiple baby mamas. I’m kidding! Because I think this is all nonsense.
There are a lot of buts. But my daddy did it. But I’m emotionally stunted. But I’m stressed. But I’m not happy in my relationship. But she/he never wants to do it. But having sex with different women makes me feel good about myself. But she was just so hot…
These are all very legitimate buts…when it comes to getting help for (or ending) a relationship. There is no but that justifies cheating. Why? Because, you can always end that relationship and save your integrity.
What About Women?
Women are like men. We look at a man’s body. We get wet. We admire his face. We might even imagine having sex with him when we’re boinking you. We’re really not that different. And often, our impulse control is worse than yours.
I know I’m truly dissatisfied in a relationship when I move from desiring another man physically, to desiring him emotionally. But I never cheat. If I cannot pull through a rocky relationship and I find another man I can’t resist, I leave with dignity. I’m not motivated as much by my desire not to hurt a man, as I am by my desire to be able to live with myself. I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if I cheated…and I spend quite a bit of time in front of the mirror.
I’m not suggesting that monogamy is for everyone. If you have short genes and want to jump out of planes and have sex with a different woman every night then do it…a lot…and in style. Honor the kind of man you are, be it a monkey man or an evolved man. And women, don’t try to change a monkey man…just go find yourself someone a little less hairy.