Why Stay at Home Dads Are More Likely to Cheat

dad at playgroundYou've gotta feel for stay at home dads. They're always the odd guy out, the only male hanging out at the playground with the moms. They're swimming against stream, trading in being the breadwinner for being the homemaker. And they're more likely to cheat as well. Wait -- SAHDs are more likely to cheat?!?


That's what a new study suggests. Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that both male and female spouses are more likely to cheat when they're economically dependent on their mate. So this goes for stay at home moms, too. But the tendency is much stronger for dependent husbands.

There is a 5 percent chance for wives who are completely dependent on their husbands to have an affair. But there's a 15 percent chance for husbands who are completely dependent on their wives to cheat.

Why would anyone cheat on the person who is supporting them, though? Study author Christin L. Musnch, assistant professor of sociology, explains. "The findings indicate people like feeling relatively equal in their relationships. People don't like to feel dependent on another person."

This is especially true for men. Munsch says when a man's masculinity is threatened by not being the breadwinner they may want to find another way to express their masculinity.

For men, especially young men, the dominant definition of masculinity is scripted in terms of sexual virility and conquest, particularly with respect to multiple sex partners. Thus, engaging in infidelity may be a way of reestablishing threatened masculinity. Simultaneously, infidelity allows threatened men to distance themselves from, and perhaps punish, their higher earning spouses.

So there you go. Seducing other women makes certain emasculated guys feel more manly. And it's a way to get back at their higher-earning wife, which ... eech, it's creepy and awful to think that anyone would feel the need to do that. 

I've known couples with female breadwinners by choice, and those dads seem pretty secure with their manliness. But in couples where the woman is the breadwinner because the husband has lost his job, or can't find employment, or is on disability, I think that's where you see this kind of resentment and loss of confidence. What a toxic stew!

More from The Stir: 10 Classic Signs Your Man Might Be Cheating

So is that super-friendly SAHD in your playgroup hitting on you? Or is he just looking for friends? If you're the breadwinner in your family, should you be concerned about your husband? 

I don't think this study is call for alarm. It's a 15 percent chance of cheating, not 50. But it sure does show how important employment is to a man's identity. If he's dependent not by choice, what are some safer ways he could reclaim his masculinity? That's something you may want to talk about as a couple.

How do you feel about stay at home dads?


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