A new study of relationships has found that if a woman earns more money than a man, both will be more likely to cheat.
Cornell graduate student Christin Munsch studied the results of a national survey, tracking 9,000 people between the ages of 17 and 27. She found that men who make less than their female partners or wives feel a “gender identity threat” that made them more likely to cheat because of feelings of being powerless.
Women who make more than their male partner are also more likely to cheat, the study suggests, because having a higher income may make them feel they have more power to do what they want.
In addition, the study found that infidelity also increases when one partner makes a lot more money than the other, regardless of gender.
A Bloomberg BusinessWeek article on the study quoted a Rutgers anthropologist as saying it makes sense that men who earn a lot more have more opportunities to cheat, since from an evolutionary perspective, women look for mates “who are on top of the pile.”
Munsch, who presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, pointed out that the increased risks in the study were relatively small, and that other lifestyle factors – like regular religious observance and having a college education – can lower the risks of infidelity.
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