Every married couple is well aware that finances can strain a relationship but did you know economic dependence can increase the chance of infidelity? Research done by Christin L. Munsch, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, showed that both men and women who are economically dependent on their spouses are more likely to cheat. The reason for this is simple. People do not like to depend on another person financially, even if that person is their husband or wife.
Why does this happen?
An important part of marriage is equality, otherwise one spouse can begin to feel inadequate and attempt to compensate for that inadequacy with an extramarital affair. Masculinity is the main issue for men who are not the primary breadwinners in their household. When men are not the ones supporting their family they may feel as if their masculinity is threatened. As a result of this threat, they may choose to take part in an extramarital affair in an attempt to protect their masculinity.
For women, the internal conflict is the desire to feel independent. A woman who depends on her spouse financially may struggle with not contributing to the household. The other factor that can contribute to infidelity is distance. Financially dependent women often feel like their spouse does not spend enough time with them. They then crave affection, resentment can build and financially dependent wives may seek that affection elsewhere.
What’s the solution?
The thing is, there are many relationships in which one person financially supports the other and it works for some. If a financial imbalance is inevitable, equality in a marriage must be firmly established in order to avoid any unnecessary problems. The spouse that does not contribute as much financially must actively contribute to the household in other ways. The important thing is an equal amount of total work. This balances the scale and helps both parties feel like equals. To help with this even more, both spouses should be involved in the finances. In a marriage there is no ‘your money’ and ‘my money’. There is only our money and that money has to be handled together.