Most of the research on infidelity and attachment has been done on unmarried couples. This research shows that insecure individuals – people with an anxious or dismissing style of attachment – are more likely to cheat.
New research shows that this pattern is not the same when looking at married couples. Being anxious and married increases the likelihood of infidelity. Being married to someone who is anxiously attached also increases the odds of infidelity.
One possible explanation is that anxious individuals’ exaggerated need for love leads them to seek attention outside of the relationship. Or dealing with an anxious individual’s constant need for affection leads a partner to seek relief in the arms of someone else.
Dismissing individuals did not show the same pattern of results. Having a dismissing style of attachment or being married to someone who is dismissing had no impact on the likelihood of cheating.
Dismissing individuals, who are uncomfortable with intimacy, may be less inclined to cheat, because doing so may create too much insatiability. Dismissing individuals like to avoid intimacy, so once married, why would they do anything that leads to increased intimacy either within the relationship or with someone outside their relationship?
When it comes to marriage anxious lovers seem to cause more than their fair share of infidelity.