Research Says You Might Cheat if Your Parents Did

Finally, something you can actually get away with blaming on your parents. Recent research has found that people who know about one of their parents cheating on their partner at some point are twice as likely to do it themselves.

General logic would say that people with cheating parents must have developed a different perspective about cheating by seeing it occur in front of them, but that might not be the whole story, since science recognizes a number of “proximal indicators of infidelity” that predict whether someone will be unfaithful to a partner. So although there does seems to be a direct correlation, the researchers are unclear about whether it’s the defining cause that will lead you to knocking boots with the cutie at the coffee shop — whether you plan on it or not.

The study was carried out by collecting information from 300 college students about their parents’ relationship history, as well as their own dating habits. Of the polled, 30% of the participants admitted to cheating on a partner, and 33% said that one of their parents had cheated. Here’s the good stuff: twice as many cheaters as non-cheaters had parents who had cheated on their partners in the past. The numbers came in at 44% to 22%.

The weird part is that the people who admitted to cheating didn’t seem to be any more accepting of cheating than the people who had never done it. You’d think people who saw a parent cheat would either normalize the behavior or strongly turn against it, but neither reaction seems to be the case.

So what’s happening? While each case is different, there is most likely some underlying cause that most of us don’t dig deep enough to see, such as fears around commitment leading to self-destructive behavior. Whatever it is, there seems to be a link. For those out there who had parents who cheated, its long-term effects — whether noticed or not — might be something to consider.

In other cheating news, infidelity usually goes down on a Wednesday. Do with that what you will.

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