If you’re ever been cheated on by a woman, blame evolution.
According to a new research paper, women have genetically evolved to be unfaithful so they end up with the best possible relationship for themselves.
Using data from previous research, scientists and psychologists from the University of Texas and California State University use the term “mate-switching hypothesis” to describe their observations.
They say heterosexual women in relationships seek out alternative males in order to test their current situation and look for better long-term partners.
This “switching” also enables them to have a backup if their relationship fails.
The research suggests the idea that humans are meant to be monogamous is a socially-constructed myth.
“Lifelong monogamy does not characterise the primary mating pattern of humans,” the paper states, according to The Times.
“Breaking up with one partner and re-mating with another — mate switching — may more accurately characterise the common, perhaps the primary, mating strategy of humans.
“Affairs serve as a form of mate insurance, keeping a backup mate should a switch become warranted in the future.”
Commenting on the study, Clare Prendergast, counsellor spokesperson for the relationship charity Relate says it’s “really important not to generalise” when talking about infidelity.
“There are often multiple and complex reasons why a woman may see someone else,” she tells The Huffington Post UK.
“I’ve seen individuals very distressed by falling in love with another person whilst in a committed relationship.
“Sometimes this is evidence that there are issues in the primary relationship that need addressing but increasingly cases are presenting where the individual needs to come to terms with the fact that they are polyamorous.”
She adds that relationships are “a bit like jobs”, in that we used to have a job for life, but many people don’t now.
“Often people will have several significant relationships in the course of their adult life,” she says.
“The research may help in that it could end the stigma for some couples who reach the end of the road and choose to see if they can find someone better suited.
“Myths, cultural norms or even religious beliefs as to what’s expected can cause people to really struggle with this so they come to us to help them come to terms with their situation.”
Of course, it’s not just women who cheat on their partners. While the paper focuses on women, it acknowledges that men can also be adulterers.
It says that when men stray from home, it is likely to do with the primal instinct to obtain “reproductive success” by mating with multiple fertile women.
The scientific paper does seem to contradict some of the anecdotal reasons women give for cheating on their partners.
The Huffington Post asked eight women what drove them to cheat on their husband and, surprise surprise, none of them mentioned “backup” partners.
From feeling lonely to being dissatisfied with their sex lives, read some of their answers here.