The Way Of The Affair

We’ll look at the science and psychology of infidelity.

Couple on the beach. (devil_smile55/Flickr)

Couple on the beach. (devil_smile55/Flickr)

There is nothing new under the sun, they say.  Marital infidelity included.  And yet, it puts us in a lather.  The same old story, but it still blows up relationships and careers and – who knows? – national security.

David Petraeus is out at the CIA.  But a whole lot of men and women have stepped out and veered out of marriages, lives.  It’s an old story, but a little different every time.  And maybe the gender roles are changing.

This hour, On Point:  the circumstances and psychology of infidelity. It’s as old as the hills, and in the news right now.  We’re looking at the way of the affair.

-Tom Ashbrook


David Buss, professor of psychology at University of Texas- Austin, known for his evolutionary psychology research on human sex differences and human relationships. Author of “The Evolution of Desire” and “The Dangerous Passion.” His latest book, co-authored with Cindy Meston, is: “Why Women Have Sex.”

Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology and sexologist teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle. National Love & Relationship Expert & Ambassador for AARP and writes the column The Naked Truth. Author of “Love Between Equals” and “The Gender of Sexuality.” Co-author, with Philip Blumstein, of “American Couples: Money-Work-Sex”

From Tom’s Reading List

Huffington Post “Beyond the obvious common sense edict that you will wound your spouse and family if you cheat and you will always be found out, it is time to wake up and delete the email. Cheating and technology don’t mix. Whether you are a man or a woman, the cheater, cheatee, or co-cheats, you are all in this together and you need to decide that you will be caught. Yes, you will be caught. Did I mention you will be caught?”

Jezebel “But it’s not that simple. Even the most high-powered women don’t enjoy that same luxury of feeling invulnerable, given the way our society operates and has always operated in the past. Most powerful men are constantly told by their parents, professors, and peers that they’re destined for greatness while growing up; of course they feel invincible. But even privileged women have to jump through a different set of hoops to succeed, because they have to convince employers and constituents that they’re just as qualified for the job as the man that likely held the position before then. They have to prove that having kids won’t change a thing — or, if they’re childless, that there’s not something inherently wrong with their “barrenness.” Their stakes are so much higher. They have no time to be that narcissistic.”

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