Exploring the evolutionary basis for cheating and other dishonest behaviors can help us understand why they happen.
The Three “A’s” addiction, affairs, and abuse have long been considered by addiction treatment therapists to be adequate reasons to leave one’s partner. But some cheating and dishonesty certainly falls outside of the clinical range and for all intents and purposes should probably be nothing to worry about. So, that leaves us wondering: How important is it to tell our partners everything?
Many scientists view cheating behavior as connected to vestiges of evolutionary differences between men and women. As natural selection prioritizes behaviors designed to spread one’s genes, men may focus on propagating their genes in a quantity way. Due to the fact that women have longer gestation and nursing responsibilities they benefit from finding a more quality caliber mate.
No one wants their mate to cheat because a mate who cheats may have more babies which means that mate is less likely to care for the original partner’s children. All behavior that results in propagating one’s genes is powerfully reinforced. Infidelity therefore, through the processes of natural selection can become more prevalent over time. So too can all sorts of lesser indiscretions like white lies, concealing minor expenses, flirting behavior, masturbation, pornography and that vente mocha java chip latte.
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