Monday, September 27, 2010

Cheating and Money

There was an article in the NY Times Sunday entitled, "By Her Support Does She Earn His Infidelity?''

It was about a paper written by Cornell professor Christian L. Munsch entitled, "The Effect of Relative Income Disparity on Infidelity for Men and Women..''

It says that Stay at Home Dads or the Laid Off Dad are five times more likely to cheat than men who contribute an equal amount of money to the relationship. And that men who earn significantly more than their wives are likely to cheat.

Women who earn 75 per cent of the man's income are more likely to have a faithful husband.
Most women tend to be in that category because, fair or not, men tend to get paid more than women for the same job.

The paper says that, "Having multiple sex partners may be an attempt to compensatse for feelings of inadequacy.''

The professor said that only 3.8 per cent of men and 1.4 per cent of women admit to cheating, which is in line of the national average that 3 to 4 per cent of married spouses cheat in any given year. So the overwhelming majority of spouses don't cheat.

Anyway, I am curious if you think it is a problem if a wife makes more than the husband? And I am somewhat skeptical of the theory that money has much to do with cheating.

But I thought it was an interesting topic so I thought I'd pass it along for your thoughts.



  1. Hi FD, I think that men tend to define themselves by what they do at work and how successful they are there. So being laid off or making significantly less money than their wives could both be contributors to them feeling unhappy and perhaps inadequate, along with stressed. And cheating would be/ could be a way of dealing with that. Plus, that laid off dad has too much time on his hands. That would be less about sex and more about being successful and attractive in someone's eyes I think.

  2. Wow... I thought I had seen higher percentages on the number of men and women that admit to cheating... maybe I'm confusing it with another statistic. Those numbers sound low. But it does make sense under those scenarios that cheating could occur.

    I wonder... if women who earn significantly less than their husbands are inclined to cheat? That would have been an interesting relationship to explore statistically... meaning that maybe it's more due to income discrepancy than anything else.


  3. as a "cheater" who does earn less than my spouse,i can tell you it makes no difference to me how much money either of us makes...

    this is my own joyrney of exploration, and my spouse has been done "exploring for 7 years. So it is more about lack of sexual attention/spousal affection, and not about money at all.


  4. I think it has more to do with the levels of respect in the relationship, than any actual financial aspect. Women tend to be wired to show love,we do it naturally, but too many don't realise that respect is a higher priority for most men. A wife might respect her husband, but if she doesn't express it in a way he can see and accept it, there is a disconnect.

    My husband and I have walked this path for 3 years. He lost his job after 28 years, and now works from home. I work outside the home, and bring home as much $ as he does now. Since he is at home, albeit working, I have been very careful not to "Honey could you do the dishes, fold the laundry,etc." him to death. He does a lot on his own without being asked, and I feel guilty about it, because I feel it's my job. We talk about our roles a lot, and I have made it clear from the beginning that I have complete confidence in his abilities as a breadwinner and the head of the household.

  5. I never thought of it in terms of money .. but, I suppose the bottom line is how you feel about yourself. I know I cheated after being tired of being controlled and verbally abused. I looked for someone who could treat me like a human being and not a possession. I just wanted to feel good about me... not sure our financial situation came into play.

  6. I was surprised to read that stay at homes dad were more like to cheat and personally I don't money has anything to do with cheating.

    Interesting FD.


  7. I wholeheartedly agree with KellyRed. I think cheating of any sort has everything to do with respect.

    (Formerly Sapphic Harlot)

  8. Studies such as these are difficult to draw conclusions from. Finding people to admit to infidelity for an academic survey? It's fraught with possible problems. I do think that someone's economic situation has an influence on infidelity. A spouse who makes considerably more than her husband for instance, is likely in a higher-level, management, or executive position that provides her with more of an opportunity to stray; there's more travel, meeting new people, socializing as part of one's job, etc. Not to mention the fact that there is more discretionary income that can facilitate special "rendez vous' " with their partners in crime! In a nutshell, greater economic independence can facilitate cheating, if the desire is present.

  9. I think the feelings of inadequacy make one want to stray. So if that is fueled by money, sex, love, attention, affection...then it will be sought where it can be found to fill the void.


  10. I doubt very much that earnings and money have anything to do with cheating. If you are going to cheat you will do it regardless of financial factors. I would however, be inclined to think that stay at home husbands/out of work husbands would be more likely to cheat than those out at work quite simply because they would have more time to do so ;)

  11. I heard about this study...and I agree 100%. It doesn't apply to every man or clearly says "more likely". Men who make less then their wives are often subject to feelings of being less than the man they want to be...and when in the arms of a lover...they probably feel more like a "real man".

    Also...keep in mind it said that men that make significantly more are still more likely to cheat...and in my experience with married wealthy men I think they feel "above the law" so to speak because they get security from believing their wife would never leave them because she is dependent on his income.

    As far as women that make more...I think part of it is also due to the fact that many high executive jobs do require more hours (social events, travel, etc.) allowing their men more opportunity to roam without detection.

    I think the 3% number is far fetched...and although I don't think women are to "blame" if their men cheat...I do believe that acting as we strive to in TTWD they are much more likely to be very happy men with very happy wives.

    Just my two cents...coming from a girl who dated a man 10 months without knowing he was married. Not separated...actively "double life". And yes...she made double what he did.

  12. It is not about the money. It is about both the perceived and real control money gives a person. It is about power. Which sometimes you can put a price on.

  13. I really believe it varies a great deal by person/couple. In my own situation, there have been years where we earned equally, then I earned more, then him. It doesn't seem to have any bearing for me. I would have cheated no matter what (I have been for 7 years), because for me, it was (and remains) about neglect/control/boredom - not money.

  14. I agree with Chloe, it has to do with the person/couple. I think most people cheat to fill a void, find something they are missing, or maybe just the thrill/excitement. My other thought would be if there is financial strain maybe he/she can make money while cheating. I guess it could be used as experience if he was applying to be an escort or porn star.

  15. Oh My...
    Once upon a time...
    (and I do agree with the comments above but here is *my* story and I'll yry to keep it short but I think it is very relative).

    My first marriage was to a man that initially supported me and my daughter. I put myself through college and ended up landing a career where I made 1.5 of his income and that was when things began to deteriorate. He felt inadequate and I suspect cheated with my BF (never got confirmation and don't care). He began to literally ignore me and I cheated because I yearned for attention...

  16. I think money is a huge stress factor and I think sex with outside the marriage takes your mind off your current stress factors.

    Its not right but I can see how things can happen like that.

    Good post