MEN ARE GENERALLY ASSUMED TO BE THE CHEATING HALF OF THE SPECIES, especially when you take pseudo-biological theories into account. You know the story: men want to spread their seed all over the place, women want to make babies with the most eligible men and keep them all to themselves. But some recent research is spinning those theories on their head, and alleging that women are actually specifically programmed to be cheaters.
Professor David Buss from the University of Texas wrote a paper on the topic, and claims that this phenomenon can be explained as the “mate switching hypothesis.” Simply put, he thinks that women are programmed to consider trading up at all times if a more suitable partner happens to come along. Instead of dumping one guy and jumping to the next, he thinks we find it more natural to have affairs as a way to test for superior partners.
David says that women evolved to have backup options in case things go wrong:
Over human evolutionary history, bad things could happen to a woman’s existing long-term mate. He could become injured, diseased, killed, or decline in mate value.
This interesting idea assumes that a woman couldn’t be alone for a single second, and would rather stock the backups than wait to see what happens with the current man.
David set out on this journey of looking for an explanation for why women cheat after being discouraged that the “good genes” hypothesis of evolutionary psychology approach doesn’t really explain it. The theory in question claims that women are looking for the best — read: most genetically-fit –guy around to make a baby with, but it not does explain why women tend to get emotionally involved with the people they cheat with. He thinks that if it were just genes they were after, that attachment element wouldn’t need to play into the equation.
David refers to a Glass & White study done in 1985, which found that 79 percent of women fall in love with the men that they have affairs with. Men, on the other hand, tend to enter affairs with more purely sexual intentions. He also pointed out how, often, lack of adequate finances is cited as a reason for divorce, which he sees as proof that women are often looking for a better man, saying:
My hunch is that people have these low-level assessment mechanisms going on all the time. So they meet someone new and question whether they, as an alternative, would be more attractive than their existing partner.
The only women less likely to be taking part in this mate-testing, he says, are women who already have children, because “in the mating market, having a kid with another man is a cost, not a benefit. It reduces your mate value.”
Interesting concept… or total bull?
Editor’s note: The fact that we’re wasting valuable research dollars on stupid questions like figuring out which gender is “programmed” to cheat instead of funding research that is actually important, like finding a Zika vaccine, BLOWS MY MIND.