(study) Sanctification and Cheating Among Emerging Adults

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2020 Mar 16. doi: 10.1007/s10508-020-01657-3


Cheating-a general term for extradyadic romantic or sexual behavior that violates expectations in a committed romantic relationship-is common and leads to a number of poor outcomes. Religion has historically influenced conceptions of romantic relationships, but societal attitudes about religion are in flux as many seek to retain spirituality even as affiliations with formal religion decrease. The present study evaluated a potential predictor of cheating that is more spiritual than formally religious, the "psychospiritual" concept of relationship sanctification (i.e., the idea that one's relationship itself is sacred). In a sample of college students in committed relationships (N = 716), we found that higher levels of self-reported relationship sanctification were associated with a lower likelihood of both physical and emotional cheating even when accounting for plausible alternate explanations (general religiosity, problematic alcohol use, and trait self-control). This association was mediated via permissive sexual attitudes; specifically, higher levels of sanctification were associated with less permissive sexual attitudes which, in turn, predicted a lower likelihood of emotional and physical cheating.



If I could venture a karezza connection: in my experience, non-goal-oriented lovemaking does make the relationship seem more sacred, while a relationship with orgasmic encounters, over time, makes one dwell more on partner as "the flawed one I got in the commodity marketplace," (and maybe I could do better.) NOT a good attitude conducive to lasting love!

Well said

I think the female equivalent of the male "attraction to novelty" is the creeping, corrosive idea of "I could do better."

Alas, we're all flawed, so eventually if we want mates, we need to see their inner beauty instead of thinking of them as commodities. Hence karezza and bonding behaviors.