Most recently, the extramarital exploits of police officers, CEOs, white-collar criminals and CFOs have revealed another telling fact about human behavior : our bad decisions tend to follow us from home into the workplace.
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In a paper published Wednesday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences a team of scientists from Texas waded into several different ethical swamps to show that workers who cheat on their spouses also tend to behave badly at work. Lead study author John Griffin , Ph. In other words, can we make poor ethical decisions at home, while upholding high ethical standards at work?
It turns out that the people Griffin team analyzed had a hard time upholding their double standards. This association between personal and professional life can be a good thing, too. But the unique collection of infidelity data used in this study allowed the team to focus only on the less virtuous side of things. Griffin and his co-authors cite a study suggesting that between 20 and 40 percent of men and 20 to 25 percent of women have extra-martial affairs at some point in their lives.
But not all of them get caught, which allows scientists to use their activities to provide insight into human behavior. We know about these affairs because of a major hacking scandal. Have an Affair. They write:. We have discussed the use of the data with many people, including attorneys, who confirm that the data are permissible to use for research purposes because the data are now in the public domain and available for research use in the same way that they are available to and used by the press.
Why Do Married People Cheat?
Here, the team was able to match the profiles of people who regularly used Ashley Madison with professional records, illuminating the stark correlation between infidelity and bad work behavior. My now ex-husband was handsome. I felt surprised a man like him would be with a woman like me. I was an insecure, introverted, and nerdy 23 year old when we first began dating. I often hid behind my glasses, slinging my hair over my face in a concerted effort to keep any attention off of me.
He was clean-cut, preppy, just a few years older than me. He could have been a member of the Kennedy family with how much he resembled a healthy honest Irish-Catholic. But he was, in many ways, never a good match for me. He hated reading, for one. Was in no way an intellectual.
The first time I knew he liked me was when he showed up for one of my poetry readings.
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Yet he stopped coming to any of them eventually. I met Simon and fell for him, stupidly, recklessly, in a way only reserved for someone desiring to escape. I grabbed onto him like he was a piece of wood floating in the ocean after the sinking of the Titanic. Simon was extremely well-educated, sensitive, and a lover of books and writing, and my writing. He took over my thoughts.
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He became the person I wanted to talk to the most at night before bed, the person I felt I could be truly honest and myself with instead of my own husband. Our emotional affair only lasted eight days. In that time, I thought I was attempting to reconcile with my ex-husband. We even still had sex. I really appreciate it. My affair showed me I was done, that there was no hope for my marriage, and the only next logical step was to leave. For good.
Motivations for extramarital affairs are vast and can vary by gender
Affairs are never totally realistic. How can we see the other person for whom they truly are if they live in antithesis to the partner we are choosing them over? You might tell me different, but time after time in life, films, novels, etc. I was very much blind to the reality of Simon.
Intellectually, I knew him well. But he was also really really ugly. When he kissed me, shortly after I walked through his front door, I squeezed my eyes shut and paid attention to his tongue, lolling and cumbersome in my mouth like a slug, and felt relieved that that was out of the way. Eighteen years my senior, he was tanning-bed tan, bald, and very overweight.
He was also set in his ways. He carried a satchel with him always, refusing to take it off even when sitting down in a restaurant. He was defiantly confident and self-assured in a way that now seems rooted in overcompensation. He was cheap and vain, only allowing photos of himself to be taken from the neck-up or at high angles to hide his large stomach or portray his face as thinner. He was also moody, resentful, and vindictive.
Once the infatuation I had thought was love had faded, every little thing Simon did began to annoy me. They were obnoxious. And without even those qualities for me to hold onto, he was no longer attractive to me at all. I needed some time alone. Maybe one day in the future, once I got it together…but only he believed those lies.