Whoever said Australians were disengaged with politics? Pah! Just throw together a former staffer, a marriage of 24 years, an illegitimate child, and the Deputy Prime Minister and bada bing, bada boom – you’ve got yourself an engaged country, buddy.
The appetite for the developing story about Barnaby Joyce’s affair with Vikki Campion has been insatiable; women and men alike are hungry for the ins and outs of the relationship that may well see one of Australia’s most powerful men fed to the angry (and particularly ravenous) jilted women of Australia.
When working for a women's media organisation you learn quickly that adults have an innate interest in stories of infidelity of all shapes. We consume them with such intensity, it's as if collating experiences and stories somehow insulates us from the potential pain of a wandering partner.
We want to know how we can avoid being cheated on. The warning signs. The red flags. The patterns of behaviour that tell a woman 'something isn't quite right here'. We are curious to know all the whens and whys and hows, no matter the distance or differences between the women who share them.
And that's why, ever since the Joyce story broke, Mamamia's readers have been debating what exactly makes a cheater cheat in the comments section of every post.
One of the key questions you have asked is, well, why? Why do some people have the propensity to be unfaithful, when to others the sheer thought is abhorrent? Why do some men do this again and again and again when they have a beautiful wife and children at home? Are some personality traits actually linked to cheating?
On the phone to Sydney-based clinical psychologist Jacqui Manning, The Friendly Psychologist, I asked precisely that.
And yes, it just so happens they are.
The first thing Manning specifies is that there are different motivations for infidelity. Sometimes, a partner may be unfaithful not because they are predisposed to be, but because the state of their relationship has deteriorated to a point where they become "a situational cheater."
A breakdown in communication "can definitely spark cheating," Manning says.
"Sometimes people get to phases where they’re unhappy about their sex life or intimacy and don’t talk about it," Manning tells Mamamia.
Listen: Sexual Therapist Esther Perel speaks about the reasons 'happy' people cheat, on No Filter. (Post continues...)