Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Study Says: Men Are More Likely to Cheat on Women Who Out-Earn Them

Love or moneyContinuing our money and relationships theme this week: in a new study called “The Effect of Relative Income Disparity on Infidelity for Men and Women,” researcher Christin Munsch, a sociology Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University, said that men who are totally economically dependent on their female partners are five times more likely to cheat than men in relationships with women who earned similar amounts.

The findings of this study, which examined 18-to 28-year-old married and cohabitating respondents who were in the same relationship for more than a year, suggest that “women making more money than men may threaten the male’s traditional view of being the breadwinner.”

Ironically though, men who make significantly more than their female partners were also more likely to cheat. The idea here is that “the job or position they work may require long work hours and travel. Those factors could create an easier environment for cheating,” the study suggests. It should be noted that “women who depended on their male partners for money were half as likely to cheat as women who made the same amount as their male partner.” This is because: “For women, making less money than a male partner is not threatening, it is the status quo. More importantly, economically dependent women may encounter fewer opportunities to cheat, and they may make a calculated decision that cheating just isn’t worth it. If they get caught, their livelihood is at risk.”

According to the study, couples who were least likely to cheat were those where the women earned about 75% of the man’s income.

Take all this with an enormous grain of salt though: the study examined fewer than 3,000 couples, all of whom were under 30. “The relationship between economic dependence and infidelity disappeared when age, education level, income, religious attendance, and relationship satisfaction were taken into account,” said the study author, AND, on top of that: out of all the study participants, only approximately 3.8% of male partners and 1.4% of female partners reported cheating in any given year during the six-year period studied. So, basically, this information, while maybe making you momentarily anxious or angry, is really pretty meaningless. You’re welcome.

[via CNN and Today]

11 comments… add one
  • avatar

    MsMisery June 2, 2015, 11:31 am

    Aw, poor threatened babies. *dismissive hand-job gesture*

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      Taylor June 2, 2015, 11:37 am

      Even in writing, dismissive hand job gestures make me snort =)

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      RedRoverRedRover June 2, 2015, 11:39 am

      Thanks for the laugh on a shitty day. This combined with Wendy’s snarky “you’re welcome” did it for me. 🙂

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      • avatar

        MsMisery June 2, 2015, 11:40 am

        Bwaha, I didn’t even get that far before getting *so annoyed at everyone involved*

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  • avatar

    Taylor June 2, 2015, 11:36 am

    Statistics of small numbers!! Retitle to: “The Statistically Insignificant Correlation between Relative Income Disparity and Infidelity for Men and Women”

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph June 2, 2015, 12:15 pm

    See guys, the wage gap strengthens families! We should totally keep paying women 70 cents on a man’s dollar. How else are they going to keep a man?

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover June 2, 2015, 1:12 pm

      The depressing part is there are plenty of people who think this way.

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  • avatar

    simonthegrey June 2, 2015, 4:19 pm

    I’m going to forward this to my husband with a frowny face. I have a couple more letters after my name than he does and work in academia, and most likely will keep earning more than him (obviously nothing is set in stone). I’m not worried, though – we’re in our mid 30s, too old for this to matter. lol

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark June 2, 2015, 6:08 pm

    Probably because many of the women who do so never shut the fuck up about it. 😉

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    • avatar

      Ange June 2, 2015, 6:32 pm

      I had a friend like that. She made huge money but never stopped humblebragging about it, like ‘oh he’ll never want to date me because I make SO MUCH MORE than him!’ (yes that must be it) or ‘No you guys let me get the next round, it’s ok I can afford it.’ I always wondered if in her mind she pictured everyone around her as a little orphan in rags begging for scraps.

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  • Guy Friday

    Guy Friday June 3, 2015, 8:44 am

    So, the study found that:
    1.) Men who make LESS money than their spouse are more likely to cheat
    2.) Men who make MORE money than their spouse are more likely to cheat
    .
    So, basically, the study shows that men cheat no matter what the money they make is? I mean, unless you make exactly the same amount as your spouse, I suppose.

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