If your cheating husband tells you that there’s a new study out which proves that his genes made him cheat, he’s basing this excuse for his marital misbehavior on a new genetic study that has been widely misinterpreted.
Either he doesn’t know, or he’s hoping that you don’t know the facts.
There have been numerous reports in various print and online publications about the study of a male variant gene which has been referred to as the “cheating gene,” the “infidelity gene,” the “divorce gene,” – and a host of similar names. This gene has (erroneously) been reported to be responsible for why some men cheat on their mates.
But is that really the case?
What the “Cheating Gene” Study Was All About
Here are some important facts you should know about how the study of the so-called "cheating gene"was conducted, and why the study was done.
First of all, the study had nothing to do with infidelity. The researchers were studying pair-bonding behavior.
The study was inspired by early research done on male voles, known as field mice in the United States.
It was discovered that the males of one species of these little mouse-like rodents mated with numerous female voles, while the males of another species mated with only one female for life.
Their behavior was traced to the presence of a particular gene variant which acts on a hormone in the brain called Vasopressin. In voles, vasopressin affects pair-bonding behavior and sexual attachment.
Hasse Walum and a team of researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden set out to see if this variant gene was present in human males, and if so, what effect it had on their behavior with regard to how they bonded with their mates.
552 pairs of male twins were genetically tested to see which men carried the variant gene. All of the men tested were currently in relationships that have lasted for a minimum 5 years. The men and their wives or live-in partners were also asked to fill our questionnaires designed to test the quality of their relationships with their mate.
Does the Gene Make Men Cheat?
It was found that 2 out of 5 men possess this variant gene which has also been called “the “bonding gene,” the “monogamy gene,” the “fidelity gene” and the “anti-commitment gene.”
The question is " Was the gene found to make men cheat?"
First of all, humans and voles are entirely different species. Although they know how the genes affect voles or field mice, the scientists aren’t really clear about how this gene affect human males.
Walum said, "Taken together, the effect of the gene variant that we have studied on human pair-bonding behavior is rather small, and it can not, with any real accuracy, be used to predict how someone will behave in a future relationship." He stressed that men and their spouses shouldn't read too much into the finding.
The only thing the researchers at the Karolinska Institute know for sure is that the men in their study who had this gene scored lower than the men without the gene, on a Pair Bonding Scale which measured the strength of their bonds and the quality of their relationships with their mates.
“We never looked at infidelity in our study at all. What we have been focusing on is how strongly men bond to their partners," said Hasse Walum.
But the study has been widely misinterpreted to mean that men with the variant gene are more likely to cheat on their mates.
If He Tells You His Genes Made Him Cheat
Since this study came out I have been inundated with e-mails and consultation requests from women who want to know if there’s any truth to this new genetic excuse men are using for their marital misbehavior.
If your cheating husband tries to pull this one on you, tell him to go back and look at the facts.
If he still insists that his genes made him cheat, ask him if he’s a man or a mouse.
It’s true that some men are more likely to cheat than others. But as far as I know, it has nothing to do with their genes. However, there are certain things about a man - his life experiences, family history, character flaws and personality traits – which indicate that he may be prone to infidelity.