Why We Cheat: The 80/20 Rule
More than 50 per cent of marriages end in divorce these days. That’s outlandish and just sad. A main element of the divorce rate is cheating. Here’s a pragmatic reason why. And why most of the time it’s sexual.
Relationships are tricky buggers. It is easy at first with all the excitement of the chase, the mystery surrounding your love interest and the escalating sexual tensions. But after a couple of weeks, months or years you might find that your relationship has stage dived and you begin to question if the end-all cliché applies: Are they the one? But before your eyes wander too much, think about the 80/20 Rule and see if your relationship is measuring up.
The 80/20 Rule is simple. In a healthy relationship, you get about 80 per cent of what you need/want from your partner. They are caring, respectful and share a lot of the same interests as you, but then you meet someone who catches your attention for an unknown reason. It may well be because they fulfill the missing 20 per cent in your relationship – namely the sexual component. Because that 20 per cent has been missing for so long, you quickly conclude, “Hey, this person has everything I am looking for in a partner.” This can be a relationship killer. Since you jump genitals-first for this new interest, you may have given up your 80 per cent loving partner for a 20 per cent fling. The regret automatically sets in.
During the good times in a loving relationship, the other 20 per cent doesn’t really matter because you don’t notice it missing. You are content and fulfilled with your partner. Your 80 per cent feels like 100 per cent. When you are in an argument, however, because your partner is too messy or something petty, then the 20 per cent is tossed into the limelight.
This isn’t to say that you should stick with the current, thankless partner. You might only be getting the 20 per cent in the relationship, anyway. In this case, if you are truly miserable, maybe you should shop around. The point is to look at your relationship and really question if something substantial is missing. If this is the case and you feel unsatisfied, then move on and find someone who can offer you more. Remember, a key element to any relationship is honesty – not just to your partner, but yourself.
The 80/20 Rule explains some of the mysteries of relationships. It makes sense why cheaters go after the 20 per cent while trying to hold on to the other 80 per cent. The relationship crush (when you are in a loving relationship but have a crush on the local barista) often manifests because you see the other 20 per cent in the crush. And even the “players,” who jump from one 20 per cent adventure to another in a vain attempt to eventually equal 100.
If your relationship is going through a rough patch, think about the 80/20 Rule. Before switching partners, be careful since you might be giving up more than you think. First look at what you have instead of focusing on what is missing. Just remember, don’t throw away a good thing for a piece of new ass. We don’t need the divorce rate to inflate anymore.
text by JON KENNEDY
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A version of this article originally appeared in February’s Sex Issue.