Infidelity: men and women cope in the same way
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Infidelity: men and women cope in the same way

Infidelity is one of the most common reasons that couples break up. But there is one big difference: for men, the physical betrayal is the worst, while women consider the emotional betrayal to be more serious, when a partner begins an intimate relationship with another. Yes despite these differences, both deal with betrayal in a similar way. Both men and women are equally open to forgive their partner and the depth of the forgiveness is correlated to the type of infidelity.

To reach this conclusion, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology studied 92 couples, who were asked to individually complete a questionnaire relating to problems described in two hypothetical situations in which the partner was cheating in various ways. In the first, the partner was physically unfaithful without falling in love with the other person, while in the second the partner fell in love but without any physical intimacy.

In analysing the data, the researchers observed that both the men and the women were willing to forgive, processing the infidelity in nearly an identical way. “We are surprised that the differences between the sexes were not greater. The mechanisms involved at the base of forgiveness are pretty much the same between men and women”, explains Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, one of the authors of the study published in the Journal of Relationships Research. Moreover, it was revealed that most couples, independent of their sex and the type of betrayal, maintain that it is not likely that they would be able to forgive the unfaithfulness of their partner.

“Whether or not the couple breaks up depends primarily on how threatening they perceive the relation of the infidelity to be”, added author Trond Viggo Grøntvedt. In other words, the more the infidelity feels like a danger, the worse it will be for the relationship.

HFTHQ 20-52
Bibliographical references
How women and men forgive infidelity - Norwegian University of Science and Technology

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