Too often a man's infidelity is blamed on weak character or an unhappy marriage. Now through research another explanation is offered.
It has long been considered to be of weak character and less than great morals if a man cheats on his spouse - an act usually followed by the walk of shame to the divorce lawyer’s office. While others wanting to believe their husbands can change stay in the marriage in spite of the infidelity and force their mates into marriage counseling, hoping for the best. Many end up being hurt and disappointed again, and scolded by their family and friends for putting up with it.
However, according to Paul J. Zak, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA. In his new book The Moral Molecule it may not be all the guys’ fault. Zak explains how different combinations of some powerful chemicals in men could be the culprit, at least in part to why and if some men are more prone to cheating than others.
In regards to a man’s adultery behavior the three big hormones involved are oxytocin, arginine vasopressin, and testosterone. Oxytocin, a hormone released into the brains of lovers during sex, and other social contact, is met to reinforce, as the doctor put it, “a sustained bond between people.” While Arginine Vasopressin compels men in a socially monogamous relationship, to be guardians of their mate and children. While the hormone testosterone is responsible for a man’s sex drive and other attributes women find attractive when on the hunt for prime male breading stock.
It turns out through Paul Zak studies suggest we are in fact monogamous creatures. However, a man’s penis and testicles tell another story. Because of the shape and relative size of the penis, which indicates breeding had evolved into a winning take all competition in which the strongest sperm would fertilize a women’s egg indicating as Paul Zak put it:
“We have socially monogamous brains but sexually promiscuous genitals.”
But genitals are not completely at fault, testosterone, one of the most powerful hormones in the body, plays a major role in men’s behavior. Fluctuations in T levels can happen for many different reasons. Such as a stimulating social environment, exciting environments such as winning a game or par taking in exciting risk taking behavior as car racing. Defeating the other hormones competing for behavioral control. Also, higher than normal T levels make men more prone to seeking out more sexual partners.
So can T levels be solely blamed for someone cheating? In a word yes, according to Paul Zak; however, men under-producing oxytocin can also be blamed. Tests have shown high levels of testosterone causing changes in the brain which effect how it calculates the cost to benefits of a situation. Focusing more on the current or right now and myself rather than the long term and considering other people.
Paul Zak has developed tests, all though not 100%, could perhaps give a good indication of the likely hood of whether a man may be more prone to cheating or infidelity than others.
Then Mr. Zak goes on to explain although some of the indicators are beyond conscious awareness, others are measurable and may grant insight of your partner at risk. The first test is resting heart rate. Men with a resting heart rate less than 70 beats per minute have higher than normal-risk of thrill seeking behavior. The “under-aroused” engage in a higher rate of anti-social behavior. Of course, there are exceptions such as endurance athletes.
The second test mentioned is testosterone levels, as discussed earlier. A broader indicator, is to understand testosterone levels in men who were exposed before birth which would have had an influence of his physical development. Represented by the ratio of the ring finger to the second index finger. What does that mean? It is this expert’s suggestion that a man with a longer ring finger had exposure to prenatal testosterone. Although this doesn’t tell the whole story, it is an influencer. Other indicators in grown men are jaw jutting out, prominent cheekbones, hairy body, and yes boldness. High testosterone levels cause patterned baldness. Remember, higher levels of testosterone put men at higher risk of infidelity.
The third test has to do with again oxytocin levels, some indicators to your man’s healthy or unhealthy levels have to do with how he reacts to emotional situations. Mr. Zak offers a list of times when it’s okay for a man to show his more emotional side. Such as being moved by an emotional scene in a movie, affectionate interactions with his kids or pets. If your mate is unable to show a connection on an emotional level, this may indicate an unhealthy low level of oxytocin which leaves him freer than the average husband to cheat.
The fourth test has to do with the willingness to defend your honor. More to the point protecting what he thinks is his from others who wish to make you theirs. If your man steps up and is willing to chase away other males, this is a good sign of a healthy hormone level of arginine vasopressin. The information goes on to say, however, if your man goes above and beyond what would be considered reasonable, thus may be another sign of higher than usual testosterone levels which as we have learned can be bad.
Lastly, it has to do with relationships, not just romantic ones. Such with his mother, cousins, and siblings. Does your mate have good relationships with these relatives? If not, this may mean he has issues bonding with people. Has he had romantic relationships which lasted longer than a year? What kind of relationship does he have or did he have with his father? Was his father a good role model as far as with his mother? In other words did his father cheat on his mother? Or treat her with love and respect? All these could be a telltale sign if your man will be more prone to cheating himself.
If any of these tests rings true, your mate may be a risk of becoming or being a cheater. Paul Zak is clear to point out there could very well be other factors which produce a, “false positive” relating to any number of these questions. Also, your partner may not even be aware of his own behaviors contributing to the likelihood of becoming a cheater. Just because a man does cry at every sad chick flick doesn’t necessarily mean he’s planning to go off the reservation. On the same token, unbalanced hormone levels cannot be to blame for everything. It doesn’t grant a cheater a moral pass. Just as an alcoholic is responsible for his or her actions while under the influence. Other factors not mentioned are religious ties and convictions, and other mental health issues which also may play part in one’s behavior. Regardless, knowing the why doesn’t make dealing with infidelity any easier for girls and spouses to deal with as well as the men themselves. If you like to find out more, you can read,” Moral Molecule” by Paul J. Zak, neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA.