Women more likely to blame ‘other woman’ than cheating husband for breakdown of relationship, study reveals

However, men say cheating wives should be held responsible 

Sarah Jones
Friday 07 July 2017 12:55 BST

You might have suspected it for days, maybe even weeks, but finally discovering that your partner has been unfaithful can be a devastating blow to any relationship.

And, as you struggle to come to terms with the betrayal, it’s natural to ask questions. The most common of which - who is to blame?

In our heart of hearts, we all know that it takes two to tango but a new study has revealed that both sexes have very different ideas on who should take responsibility for two-timing.

Researchers at Cardiff Metropolitan University found that while women tend to blame ‘the other woman’, most men lay the guilt on their cheating wives.

The data also discovered that women are more distressed by emotional cheating such as adulterous messages sent by a rival to their partner than actual sex.

On the other hand, men regard physical intimacy to be the worst type of betrayal.

Researchers said that these findings could be explained by our caveman past.

“One explanation may be that women, because they are the choosier sex and bring up the children, are seen as the most important sex for childbearing,” said lead author Dr Michael Dunn, an evolutionary scientist and lecturer at Cardiff’s school of health sciences.

“This is why they may be blamed for a relationship breaking down, by men or women, whether they are inside or outside of that relationship.”

In the study, researchers asked 21 men and 23 women to look at eight messages on Facebook which detailed different cheating situations.

They were then asked to rate their response to the message on a distress scale of one to 10.

Examples included conversations saying “You must be my soulmate! Feel so bloody connected to you, even though we haven’t slept together” and “You must be the best one-night stand I’ve ever had.”

Who the reader blamed for the infidelity was then judged by whether they were more upset by the messages being sent or received by their partner.

The study, which was published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, also showed that men were more affected by sexual interaction, while women showed more distress at emotional cheating.

This, the researchers say, could be because in the past it was difficult for women to raise a child on her own and as such, needed to secure resources from a man which, if he became emotionally connected to someone else, she would lose.

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