Is Cheating Genetic?

Could your partner’s potential to be promiscuous lie partially in his/her DNA? Researchers from Binghamton University seem to think so. They found that a “particular version of a dopamine receptor gene called DRD4 is linked to people’s tendency toward both infidelity and uncommitted one-night stands”. Before you rush out for DNA testing, let’s explore the good-old fashioned explanation of “it just happened.”

There are different forms of cheating. There is the purely physical. This could entail a drunken one-night stand. Then there is the emotional – where an actual relationship is cultivated – one that extends beyond the physical and extends to the heart and mind. Which one is worse? I don’t know – but I think both are borne out of choice and blaming DNA is not a good enough justification. There is a point where giving into temptation occurs and a less honest path taken.

The research of psychologist, Shriley P. Glass reveals that affairs mostly begin with a husband or wife meets a new friend. She suggests that a healthy marriage consists of walls. These are the barriers of trust “behind which you guard the most intimate secrets of your marriage”. Let’s explore a potential scenario.

What starts off as a harmless friendship starts to change direction when you start to share secrets about yourself to your new friend – your yearnings, fears, and hopes. You start to get the attention you crave and don’t want your partner to get jealous, so you hide your friendship. Right then and there, a wall is built between you and your spouse – increasing that divide and detachment, and pushing you further into the comfort of your new friend.

One day, you find yourself upset and your new friend rushes to console and comfort you. Sooner or later, you find yourself locked in your first stolen kiss and realize that you have major feelings for your “friend”.

Sure, you may not have seen it coming, but you surely didn’t stop it. The minute you started to confide in your new friend versus deal with the root of the issue with your partner you made a choice. The moment your guilt made you feel the need to hide something – you made a choice.

“Being attracted to other people when you’re in a committed relationship is natural. Whether you act on that attraction is a choice.”

Amy C.

Photo credit: Christian Beirle González

1 Comment

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    Reply June 2, 2011

    Jeff Kew

    Great reference Amy. There’s also other references that our morals are actually a result of evolution. Check out Sam Harris’s explanation of how our morals can be defined by science.

    Who Says Science has Nothing to Say About Morality?

    Now as you said, it’s still a choice. BUT, our choices are heavily influenced by our culture. Just as there are people who believe that there is a god, there are also those who believe sexual relationships can be open and non-committal and monogamy is just a moral choice of our culture. Doesn’t necessarily make it right or wrong. Just is.

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