Strategy If your partner is sexually satisfied they're still likely to cheat on you, according to a new study

  • Published:

There's no hope.

holding pinkies play

holding pinkies

(Uroš Jovičić / Unsplash)

  • Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate how committed you are to your partner.
  • Unfortunately, if your partner is young, easily distracted, or even adequately sexually satisfied, they could be more likely to cheat on you.
  • New research from Florida State University has highlighted some of the main predictors that your partner will stray.
  • Keeping your partner happy in bed is one of them, because if someone enjoys sex, they might be more likely to go looking for more of it.


If you want a relationship to work out, there are a few early signs you can look out for. Thanks to new research from Florida State University, there are also some new predictors that a relationship will fail.

In a new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers followed 233 newlyweds for three and a half years, documenting intimate details about their relationships such as satisfaction, commitment, whether they had cheated, and if they were still together.

In particular, the researchers tested psychological processes called "attentional disengagement" and "evaluation devaluation," while showing subjects photos of a mixture of highly attractive and average-looking men and women.

These processes are the ability to direct attention away from someone who is particularly good-looking, and the tendency to trick yourself into thinking someone is less good-looking than they are, respectively — both of which are common ways people in committed relationships stop themselves being distracted and tempted by other options.

Unsurprisingly, those who took less time to look away from the photos were less likely to cheat on their partner. Those who took longer to direct their attention away were more likely to.

"People are not necessarily aware of what they're doing or why they're doing it," said Jim McNulty, a psychology professor from FSU and the lead author of the study. "These processes are largely spontaneous and effortless, and they may be somewhat shaped by biology and/or early childhood experiences."

Other strong indicators someone would cheat in the future were someone's age, as younger people were more likely to stray, and their sexual history. Men who'd had more short-term sexual partners were more likely to have an affair, and the opposite was true for women.

Also, people who said they were satisfied with their sexual relationship were more likely to cheat. The researchers say this could be a result of people enjoying sex, and seeking out more of it regardless of how they felt about their current relationship.

The research team hope the results of the study could help professionals offer advice for people in how to stay committed to their partners. And, as social media results in more people connecting to each other, they say understanding how people avoid temptation could be more relevant than ever.

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