Everyone is wary of the seven year itch and its potential to ruin a marriage. But according to new research, you may need to start worrying much sooner – as women who are unfaithful first cheat on their husband just three years and three months after their wedding day.
The study, conducted by IllicitEncounters.com, Britain’s biggest dating website for married people, also found that women have their first lapse five months faster than men – who commit adultery three years and eight months on average after tying the knot.
In fact, while adultery occurs in 45 per cent of marriages, 57 per cent of cases are initiated by women.
And if a woman’s mother is a cheater, it’s more likely that she will be, too – as 73 per cent of adulteresses’ mothers have strayed from their partner as well. The research suggests this is because women feel their mother’s infidelity gives them “permission” to cheat – and they take their vow less seriously as a result.
And the same trend applies to men – although not to the same extent, as only 54 per cent of the men surveyed said cheating ran in the male half of the family.
The results suggest there could even be a cheating gene, which makes the children of cheaters more likely to betray their own partners.
Meanwhile, the reasons for cheating differ between the genders, with women citing emotional problems as the main factor – including reconnecting with an old flame on social media. On the other hand, men say they are spurred on by peer group pressure and they can’t resist opportunities for sex.
However, both genders named being drunk as another potential reason for cheating.
IllicitEncounters.com spokesman Christian Grant explained: “The Seven Year Itch is a myth, particularly if you are the offspring of unfaithful parents.
“If you want to know if your wife will cheat, you may want to take a close look at your mother-in-law.
“Cheating does run in the family, particularly on the female side. Women idolise their mother as they grow up and follow their good and bad behaviour.
“If their parents divorce or their mother confides in them about previous affairs, women are far more likely to do the same when they marry themselves.”