Cheaters are usually one of five personality types

Dear Duana, From ex-boyfriends to an ex-husband, most men in my life have proved to be cheaters, even during good times.  I felt less to blame after learning that men’s happiness is unrelated to their affairs, until I realized the depressing flip side:  Doing my part in a relationship won’t protect it. Before I abandon all hope, is there any way to find and keep a man who’s monogamous and emotionally invested in me—and me only? Belinda

Dear Belinda, Ouch.  You’re right—a happy relationship does *not* prevent male cheaters.  Most studies find *no* relationship between men’s happiness and whether they stray…and one found that  unfaithful men were actually the most happily married.

But before you join a convent, let’s note that cheating is far from guaranteed.  Globally, for every man who has affair(s), there’s at least one who never does. So what’s the source of your unusually bad luck?  I suspect it has something to do with repeatedly saying Yes to Cheaters like these:


—Mr. All That

Review your exes.  Were they Catnip For Women—tall, handsome, charming, intelligent, accomplished, educated, generous and rich?  Were they Rock Stars—metaphorically or in reality?

If so, you’ve been hanging around with the Likely To Cheat crowd—the guys who give off the signs of superior genes and/or protection and provision every girl wants.  And therefore, the guys other women will continually compete against you to have.

And some research indicates that a wedding ring on his finger only makes many women want him more.

Fact is, the single-biggest factor in men’s cheating is simple – Opportunity. In the presence of the Aggressively Willing, neither male Genes nor most cultures have prepared guys to say No to a shot at biological immortality—nevermind the immediate joy of sex.

Most men, of course, will *never* know what that feels like; a few will be pursued once in a lifetime.  But He Who Has It All is often literally surrounded by Temptation.  For some, it eventually goes to their heads (and other parts).

And that’s how Tiger became a Cheetah, and Letterman endured more than a few not-so-funny moments.

And, I’m guessing, how Opportunity knocked when you weren’t home.


—Mr. Globetrotter

Speaking of home, a special case of Opportunity is…the Suit Case.  Men who travel, especially in tandem with beautiful women, are an affair risk just because travel creates more Opportunity for secret liaisons.  And if his Travels are combined with Power/Stardom…don’t say you weren’t warned.


—Mr. History

I’ll never forget the guy who guiltily revealed his sexual escapades with his (ex) best friend’s wife.  Did I continue dating him?  Noooo.  Did I learn he had cheated on other friends and lovers—and his former wife?  Yeeees.

As every good intro psych student knows, the future is actually quite predictable:  What people have done before, they’re highly likely to do again in similar circumstances.  It’s so reliable, it’s Psychology’s only Law.

Find out your partners’ histories *before* you get seriously involved. You’ll be amazed by what men—and their friends— will tell…if only you ask.


—Mr. Personality 

I wouldn’t have guessed this, but compared with opportunity personality plays a relatively minor role in men’s cheating.

But.  Willful Philanderers and bona fide Narcissists and men with Low Commitment to a particular woman exist—sometimes wrapped up in one package.  They tend to regard playing around as their right, regardless of how it hurts their partner, and when discovered, they aren’t sorry they cheated—just that they got caught.

Genes may play a role in men’s unfaithful personalities.  For around $100 USD, you can even buy a test to see if your guy is a high affair risk at the level of his DNA.  But for various reasons, I cannot recommend this, scientifically or otherwise.)

Not surprisingly, these folks are high affair risks.  And they may begin their infidelity very early in the relationship—say, during the courtship or engagement or honeymoon—a particularly bad sign that you can indeed trust them…to cheat again.

To a lesser degree, people with an insecure attachment style—who chronically feel the need for a ‘back-up’ in case their current mate loves them too little—are likelier than secure lovers to cheat, ironically causing the end they fear.

Contrast that with the man *you* seek—someone who is highly Committed to you, and to the idea of Commitment itself. Self-identified One-Woman Men seek and value all forms of fidelity in themselves and their mates.  Scientists find that these guys, too, exist.

Insist on finding out which Type you’ve got, asap.  As a male Love Science reader wrote, “Seems like the lion’s share of the responsibility for keeping HIM faithful belongs to HIM.  Best first step would be to find a HIM that accepts, nay, embraces, that responsibility.”


—Mr. (In)Experienced

Have your past paramours had many sexual partners—Easy come, easy go, as it were?

As a past Love Science showed, it appears that the more sexual partners a guy has had, the more he’s wired to “disengage” from you post-coitally.  It may be a mechanism that helped ancestral men leave more progeny without losing commitment to their primary partner, but nevermind—whatever the reason, it’s a bad bet for *you*.

Virgins, men with little experience, and men with extensive experience in very few (and deeply committed) former relationships are a good bet.  They’re more likely to use sex for emotional bonding, rather than pure physical pleasure—and to stick around faithfully after the lovin’.


Belinda, maybe you’ve been *picking* wrong partners—men who, for any of these reasons, are likely to Cheat.  If so, the path ahead for you is clear:

Interview men and their friends and consult your own Inherited Mating Psychology gut, and then select from the many men who have a history of fidelity; of not cheating even when opportunities arose; of dogged persistence at a few choice relationships rather than rampant meaningless liaisons.  Find men who *want* to give and receive with only One.  And consort with other mere mortals, avoiding Rock Stars unless you are a Supermodel—and can brook further infidelity.


But what if you picked the right ones—and later, things went wrong?  That’s what we’ll cover next at Love Science.

Until then—choose wisely.




Source:if you should dump a cheater ‘there is no right or wrong answer from

The author wishes to acknowledge the following scientists & sources:

Shirley Glass, for authoring THE book on affair prevention and recovery— —and doing much of the research showing what works and what doesn’t. 

-->David M. Buss --> (and his related book, ) and Todd K. Shackelford, for research into the personality variables involved in infidelity—and for showing that Opportunity is the more important factor.

—Jena Pincott, for her science-based  and blog regarding sex, dating, love…and science.  I especially liked these two links for today’s Love Science posting:

© Copyright 2014 Duana WelchPh.D., All rights Reserved.
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Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do, coming in January, 2015. She also contributes at Psychology Today and teaches psychology at Austin-area universities. Get a free chapter of Love Factually!