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This is the scientific reason twenty-somethings cheat on their partners


It is a truth universally acknowledged that dating in your twenties is hard.

This is especially true thanks to the dawn of dating apps and social media, which have turned dating into even more of a minefield than before (as anyone who has been ‘ghosted’, ‘bread-crumbed’, ‘benched’ or ‘zombied’ will tell you...)

And things don’t seem to get much easier once a twenty-something enters a relationship, with a new study shedding light on why this age group is so likely to cheat on one another.

According to researchers, twenty-somethings cheat because they are still trying to figure out who they are, and they crave a bit of independence to do so.


The study, published last week in the Journal of Sex Research, reached this conclusion by questioning 104 adults on the reasons they had cheated on their partners.

Read more: The real reason we stay in relationships that are bad for us

The adults, who had an average age of 22, had all cheated within the last six months, and the majority of answers related to issues of either interdependence or independence.

Interdependence issues reported by the adults included things such as feeling lonely or that their needs for intimacy were not being met by their current partner, leading them astray.

But the independence issues related more to the adults feeling as though their relationship was stopping them from fully exploring who they wanted to become.


The study’s authors concluded, “Because emerging adulthood is thought to be a time of exploration and experimentation, it is possible that engaging in infidelity is a path through which individuals seek to meet their developmental needs for independence and interdependence and promote their individual development.”

But if twenty-somethings could start figuring out who they are without hurting someone else, that might be a better plan.

Images: iStock / Columbia Pictures



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