Image: Match Point
Being cheated on has to be up there with life’s most most heart-demolishing experiences. Your trust gets shot to hell, along with your sleep, your happiness, your faith in humankind and your confidence.
Perhaps the most infuriating part of discovering your partner’s straying ways is that you rarely see it coming. Because of course you don’t – nobody ever goes into a relationship thinking, “Well, they’re inevitably going to cheat on me, probably several times, but it’ll be great while it lasts!” (Or do they? That’s concerning.)
Really, there’s no way of telling whether your partner is ‘The Cheating Type’. It’s not a blood type or mutant gene you can be tested for. But that hasn’t stopped researchers and dating websites from trying to pinpoint some warning signs.
Various studies over the years have examined the personality traits and behaviours that are common among cheaters. Some of the findings have been a bit of a stretch (#2, anyone?), but others kind of make sense. Here are just some of the claims out there:
1. The number nine
To paraphrase Sesame Street: “Infidelity, brought to you by the number nine!”
Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year found that people are more likely to cheat when they’re at an age that ends in nine — 29, 39, 49 and so on. It sounds like a weird superstitious thing, but it makes some sense; as the study authors explained, milestone ages like 30 and 40 are “psychologically consequential”, so as they loom closer we’re more likely to take a hard look at our lives and engage in drastic, life-changing behaviours. For some of us, that’s a haircut. For others, unfortunately, it’s a little something on the side.
Now we can’t help but wonder… how old were these philandering movie and TV characters? (post continues after gallery)
2. Tall men
A survey by extra marital website Illicit Encounters claimed that men who measure in over 5'10" were twice as likely to cheat as their shorter counterparts. If you happen to be dating a tall glass of water right now (why hello there, Eva Mendes, Isla Fisher and Hayden Panettiere!), we're not sure exactly what you can do with this information. But hey, good luck to you.