If you turn on the radio at any given time, you’ll probably hear a song about someone falling in love with another, or someone feeling betrayed by the harsh sting of infidelity. When it comes to being faithful, let’s address the issue of whether staying monogamous is difficult. You’ll quickly see that the answer depends on the person. This issue is actually easily explained by a few simple factors. Once you look at each factor, you can determine whether it is easy or difficult for a particular person to stay faithful.
Does the individual have most of their basic emotional needs already met in their life?
Men and women have basic emotional needs: physical affection; to feel noticed and appreciated; to feel needed; and to feel respected. Most people have sexual needs, though a handful of men and women don’t ever feel very sexual and don’t feel the need to change that. If you start dating someone and are trying to figure out if they can be faithful, keep reading and ask yourself some of the following questions.
Does he or she have a few good, close friends whom they see regularly?
People will be less likely to cheat if they have close friends with whom they have emotional intimacy, meaning that they can talk about something they’re struggling with openly and honestly.
Does he or she love and need a lot of attention from others?
People who need a lot of attention can be spotted a mile away: they walk into a party and light up; they over-focus on their appearance and seek compliments for how they look or what they wear; they tend to keep admirers close; and they are always extra friendly to strangers so they can get as many people to like them and pay attention to them as possible.
Does he or she get bored easily?
If you’re wondering what that sound is, it’s a siren, and it’s going off because this question is an extremely telling one. Beware the man or woman who gets bored easily because these individuals will be more likely to cheat on you than others. If the person you’re dating has a history of multiple short-term relationships, that’s a sign that he or she gets bored easily in relationships. When these people get bored, they will often seek out a sexual tryst or a full-blown affair. Starting something new on the side acts like a hit of a drug for these people, making them feel exhilarated and alive again.
Does he or she need a lot of sex?
A good friend of mine has been married for about five years, and he and his wife have sex five or six days per week. To clarify, I’m talking about five or six days per week of every week, month and year. I don’t know about you, but as a psychologist and an everyday person, I can safely say that this is a l-o-t of sex. The vast majority of men and women will have zero interest in having that amount of sex on a long-term basis. (Many couples go through phases where they will be more sexual in, say, a given month but then they may not be as sexual the following month.) If you are dating someone who places an extremely high value on sex (they want it all the time and get upset when they don’t get it), you need to cosign right now on the following truth: If the highly sexualized man or woman isn’t getting sex in their relationship for a while, they will almost always cheat or have a sexual affair. For these folks, sex is like food or water; that’s how fundamental the need is for them.
Does he or she feel attractive and desirable?
When you have a relationship with someone, you want that person to feel attractive and desirable. If he or she doesn’t feel that way on their own, they will depend on reassurance from others to make them feel good. Many men and women who cheat do so because they felt unattractive or undesirable, and someone else made them feel wanted. To stay faithful, people need to feel wanted and needed.
The overall message
Though you can never predict with absolute certainty who will stay faithful and who will not, you can get a general sense about how faithful someone will be by asking yourself these questions. If you have any concern about someone you’re dating, why not make a note of some of these questions and talk about it with them? Just like you would do your research if you were buying a new car or house, you should research some of these important issues with your dates. While you would terrify most people if you broached this topic on a first date, it is acceptable and understandable to discuss these kinds of major life issues once you are in the relationship.
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve