Skip to main content

It’s an age old question: What drives men to cheat?

One researcher claims to have the answer, and like most things in this world, it involves money.

According to a new study, young men are more likely to be unfaithful when their spouse earns more money than they do. The study surveyed a group of men age 18-28 and found that men who earned significantly less than their wives were five times more likely to cheat than those who earned comparable salaries.

Women, on the other hand, behave differently.

“[F]or women, economic dependency seems to have the opposite effect: the more dependent they are on their male partners, the less likely they are to engage in infidelity,” said Christin Munsch, a sociology Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University and the author of the study.

Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

If true, this study may hint at a growing problem for marriages in the near future. One odd effect of the economic downturn is that more men have been laid off than women. This, combined with the fact that more women have pursued higher education and entered the workforce in the last few decades has led to a new reality where many women are earning more than their husbands.

Yet, the study also showed that men who earn substantially more than their wives are also more likely to cheat than couples who earn roughly the same salaries.

“At one end of the spectrum, making less money than a female partner may threaten men’s gender identity by calling into question the traditional notion of men as breadwinners,” Munsch said in a press release. “At the other end of the spectrum, men who make a lot more money than their partners may be in jobs that offer more opportunities for cheating like long work hours, travel and higher incomes that make cheating easier to conceal.”

So what does this study really show? If you want a husband who doesn’t cheat on you, you may just have to marry someone who earns the exact same amount of money and only accept raises when your husband can get one as well. Or maybe we should just accept that people cheat, and money isn’t the best indicator for why.

—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the Credit Center.