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  Life   Relationship  22 Oct 2017  Unfaithful men don't believe when they are forgiven: study

Unfaithful men don't believe when they are forgiven: study

Published : Oct 22, 2017, 4:58 pm IST
Updated : Oct 22, 2017, 4:58 pm IST

Most partners are not particularly intent on getting revenge or seeing their partner suffer.

Representational Image. (Photo: Pixabay)
 Representational Image. (Photo: Pixabay)

People whose spouse forgives them for infidelity tend to not believe that they are forgiven, and overcompensate with gifts and gestures to save the relationship, a study has found.

"We have a strong tendency not to believe our partner when they tell us we are forgiven," said Mons Bendixen, Associate Professor at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway.  When people do not really believe that they are forgiven, they try to overcompensate by becoming more attentive, buying gifts or do other things that they expect their partner will appreciate.

Underestimating the degree of forgiveness is probably an evolutionary mechanism, because the relationship may be in danger, researchers said.  "The cost could be high if you think you are forgiven, but really are not. You might not work hard enough to mend the relationship," said Bendixen.

The consequences are usually uncomfortable for the unfaithful party.  Most partners are not particularly intent on getting revenge or seeing their partner suffer. They are more likely to pull away and want to keep some distance.  "Partners want the infidelity to have a cost, but will rarely respond by being unfaithful themselves," said Trond Viggo Grontvedt from NTNU.

There is also no difference between the sexes when it comes to whether they would break up with the unfaithful partner or not. This is as likely for women as for men.  Sexual infidelity strongly affects both men and women. Neither men nor women usually find it acceptable for their partner to have sex outside the marriage.

However, men who are confronted with emotional infidelity do not necessarily think that they have done anything wrong.  "Men often do not understand how hard emotional infidelity is on women," said Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair from NTNU.

As a result, they do not attempt to make up for anything, at least not as much as if they had been sexually unfaithful. This certainly does not benefit the relationship.  "It can also be a seed for conflict in the relationship," said Kennair.

At the same time, men are more likely to forgive this form of infidelity in their spouse. Men have less need to distance themselves from their partner than women do, and they look at emotional infidelity as less threatening to the relationship than women do.

Tags: relationships, infidelity, behaviour, marriage