A new study shows that people almost certainly hold irrational beliefs about infidelity in their romantic relationships.
The research found that dating couples strongly disapprove of cheating, yet most couples do not discuss what constitutes infidelity with their partners (and it turns out many couples do not agree on what it means to cheat).
More importantly, although 30% of people had been cheated on before and 40% of people think that the “average” person cheats, fewer than 10% of people thought that their own partner would cheat on them. In other words, people who have been cheated on in the past and think that cheating is fairly widespread still don’t think it will happen to them again. Not exactly a rational point of view.
Even people who cheated on their current partners still held very low estimates that their partner would ever cheat on them.
So what are the factors that explain what appears to be an “optimistic” bias about believing that a partner will be faithful? Trust and disapproval. The more people trust their partners and disapprove of cheating, the less likely people consider the possibility that their partner might stray.
Let’s face it. People are not great at applying logic to their romantic relationships.
Source: Watkins, S. J., & Boon, S. D. (2015). Expectations regarding partner fidelity in dating relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi:10.1177/0265407515574463