Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
/ Unsplash

Why People Cheat: Breakups & Genetic Makeups

Cheaters are everywhere. In my first few months of college, I’ve been exposed to numerous situations regarding cheating. There’s the long distance high school boyfriend cheats on the girlfriend at a party, the couple that started dating the first week of the quarter and split after they both found out they were cheating on each other, and the couple that’s been dating all throughout college split after one of them gets with a freshman. 

After asking friends who have been cheated on about their experiences, a few phrases kept coming up. “I felt like I wasn’t enough,” “It was my fault,” or “I felt so stupid” were just a few of these. From the position of a girl that’s always been in a relationship, I came to wonder, “Why be in a relationship if you’re only going to cheat?” This question has come up multiple times, and I’ve received numerous answers that point to one thing: people don’t like being alone. I, however, haven’t been able to accept this as an answer. There has to be a real reason behind hurting the one you supposedly care about. 

I decided to take my question to a scientific level since asking my friends wasn’t doing it for me. I Google searched and gathered tons of statistics on why monogamy has been so unpopular lately. As it turns out, monogamy is not a natural human instinct. Well, that just sucks, doesn’t it? 

My body naturally doesn’t want a relationship so am I automatically bound to cheat on my boyfriend? No. Polygamy is a reproductive strategy as having more mates increased the likelihood of having more offspring. Technically, we’re descendants of men and women who cheated to have more children. 

Since cheating is technically in our genetic makeup, I decided to analyze the stereotypes. In movies and from experience, there’s a preconceived notion that guys cheat more than girls. Both sexes cheat, of course, but why are the guys always assumed to cheat more often? It comes down to the biggest biological difference between the sexes – sperm and eggs. 

Men can produce thousands of sperm in a single day while women are born with about a million eggs to last their entire lifetime. If you do the math, women can have up to 20 children whereas men can have as many as they please. Women are way more limited in terms of reproduction, as eggs are only released once a month during ovulation and it takes nine months to have a child. These biological differences have made an impact on our desires. 

Now, lets dig deeper. Both sexes cheat, we get it. But in what ways do they cheat? What’s the result of these relationships? We know at this point that men are biologically more inept to cheat because of their ability to reproduce faster. Studies show that women are likely to cheat for emotional reasons. Women typically cheat on their partner when they see potential in a new or better relationship. On the other hand, studies have shown that men generally “downgrade” on their partner and cheat on them with a less attractive person. Women are more likely to leave their partners after cheating whereas men are less likely to do so, as women are more emotionally involved in the affair. 

A lot of my research sounded like stereotypes that we’ve all been accustomed to. But I can’t just tell myself that my friend was cheated on because her boyfriend in high school wanted to reproduce more efficiently. These facts come from years and years of research, but they take the emotion out of the relationship and blame it on our biology. 

Are there girls who are extremely horny and don’t care about relationships? Of course. And are their guys who are extremely loyal and have only been with one girl their entire life? Of course. After digging for some magic answer, I’ve realized that it may be better to not know why we cheat and instead figure out what to do moving forward. 

Every relationship is different, and there are different solutions depending on the people involved. I’m not going to tell you to stay or break up with your SO because they cheated and I’m not going to tell you to break up with your SO because you cheated instead of trying to make it work. However, I hope that I have answered some of your questions involving infidelity. 

Sources 1 | 2 | 3

Ivy Clarke is a freshman at Drexel University. Being a native of rural Bucks County, PA, Clarke wanted to expand her horizons and go to school in Philadelphia. Majoring in Journalism, Clarke is expressing her creativity while also doing what she loves by writing her Her Campus. 
Similar Reads👯‍♀️