If Wives Make More, Could They Cheat More?

By , April 5, 2010 11:07 pm
2010 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals

Famous people who cheat always get the public’s attention. Lately, though, it seems that we’re bombarded with stories about the rich and powerful who are unfaithful.

The latest, of course, is the allegation that Sandra Bullock’s husband, Jesse James, cheated on her. We’re still in the midst of the whole Tiger Woods saga – he’ll make his professional comeback at the Masters this week – and the John Edwards story has been a slow drip of revelations for about two years now. While the three might seem the same – famous people who cheat – the fame and income dynamics of James and Bullock’s relationship is the opposite of Edwards, Woods and their wives. Even though James is famous (well, semi-famous, perhaps infamous) and presumably makes a good living on his own, Bullock is an A-list superstar and surely makes more money than he does.

So, why do men cheat? There have been a ton of recent stories trying to answer that question. (Don’t be fooled, though. Women cheat too. Yes, men cheat more than women, but not by a huge margin.) On Saturday, “Larry King Live” had a show to discuss try to answer the question and get into what causes cheating. I won’t tell you the entire motley crew of guests. All you need to know is that addiction expert Dr. Drew Pinsky, comedian Adam Carolla, “Survivor” host and LKL guest-host Jeff Probst, and Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist and brain imaging expert, (as I said, a motley crew) got into an exchange about whether driven and high-powered people might cheat more:

CAROLLA: I have a question for Dr. Drew. I’m going to don the Larry suspenders for one second. Celebrities, athletes, people that are driven, already focus and motivated, a higher percentage of cheating or is it just opportunity?

PINSKY: A higher percentage of trauma, and thereby a much higher percentage of the kinds of things Dr. Amen is talking about in their brains.

PROBST: Dr. Amen, when you — I think a lot of people look at someone like Tiger Woods, so controlled. That’s what he was known for, the calm golfer. And then all this chaos in the other part of his life. Does that show up, or is there an explanation based on the brain?

AMEN: You know, what I would say is people who are celebrities, who are very successful, well, they’re always getting the pleasure center of their brain stimulated. So it’s stimulated repeatedly. You know, you win a Masters. You win another tournament. People talk about how wonderful you are. You get tens of millions dollars of contracts.

Well, pretty soon, the pleasure center in your brain starts to get warn out. And it takes more and more and more excitement in order to feel anything at all. So I think that’s one of the things that celebrities have to worry about.

While drive and success is only one factor in determining who will cheat, could wives be more likely to cheat on their husbands now compared to in the past? A recent Pew Research study showed more women were more educated and making more money than their husbands in 2007 compared to 1970. So, could there be an up-tick in the percentage of women who cheat on their husbands?

Or will insecurity about their wives’ success and bigger income cause even more husbands to cheat?

Leave your thoughts below.

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