Breadwinners More Likely to Have Cheating Spouses

Photo (cc) by be creator

Breadwinning spouses are more likely to be cheated on, and that’s especially true for breadwinning wives, according to new research on younger couples.

There is a 15 percent chance that in an average year men ages 18 to 32 who are completely economically dependent on their wives will have an affair, according to a study by Christin Munsch, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut.

There is a 5 percent chance of women in that age group cheating in any given year when they are economically dependent on their husbands.

Munsch states in a press release:

“You would think that people would not want to ‘bite the hand that feeds them,’ so to speak. …

Instead, the findings indicate people like feeling relatively equal in their relationships. People don’t like to feel dependent on another person.”

The study report — titled “Her Support, His Support: Money, Masculinity, and Marital Infidelity” — was published in this month’s issue of the American Sociological Review, which is the flagship journal of the nonprofit American Sociological Association.

The report was based on a study of data from 2,750 married people ages 18 to 32. The data came from the 2001-2011 findings of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which is sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Both being primary breadwinners and having extramarital sex have been behaviors culturally associated with masculinity, Munsch states. That might help explain why she found that men who are completely economically dependent on their wives are most likely to commit adultery — such men use the affairs to shore up their sense of their own masculinity, she says.

As Munsch explained in 2010, when she was researching the relationship between infidelity and income as a doctoral candidate at Cornell University:

“Any identity that’s important to you, if you feel it’s threatened, you’re going to engage in behavior that will reinstate your place in that group.”

Breadwinning men were less likely to cheat — but only up to a certain point.

Men who out-earn their wives have decreasing odds of cheating only until the man’s earnings constitutes 70 percent of a couple’s total income, Munsch found. Once a man’s contribution to total income exceeds 70 percent, he is more likely to cheat.

This could be because men who earn more than 70 percent of the total income believe their wives would not leave them since the woman is so economically dependent on him, Munsch states. Or, it might be because such men are looking for a partner who will contribute more to the relationship economically.

For women, Munsch found that the more they contribute to combined marital income, the less likely they are to cheat.

Munsch states that she was unsurprised to see that men who significantly out-earn their spouses are more likely to cheat because high-earning male celebrities, athletes and politicians who cheat often make headlines:

“What is surprising, though, is that this increase in the likelihood of men engaging in infidelity that occurs as they make significantly more than their wives is relatively small compared to the increase in the likelihood of cheating that takes place among men as they become more economically dependent.”

Perhaps couples could avoid such troubles if they discuss money matters before tying the knot. To learn more, check out “10 Money Matters to Discuss Before Marriage.”

Like this story? SHARE it on Facebook!

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
The 3 Worst Money Mistakes You Are Making at the Gas Station
The 3 Worst Money Mistakes You Are Making at the Gas Station

Beware these cash-guzzling missteps when you stop at any gas station.

5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income
5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income

Here’s how to minimize and delay the chunk that Uncle Sam claims.

16 Products That Solve Everyday Annoyances
16 Products That Solve Everyday Annoyances

These items put an end to the daily irritations that bug you the most.

9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive

These Amazon products can give you an extra edge at work and other parts of your life.

8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill
8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill

No matter what price you are paying for internet service, taking these simple steps can lower it.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

Prices Are Soaring on These 7 Items
Prices Are Soaring on These 7 Items

Some surprise price jumps are making life more difficult for consumers.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

7 Home Improvements That Cost a Lot More in 2021
7 Home Improvements That Cost a Lot More in 2021

These projects will take a bigger bite out of your budget than in the recent past.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.