Are Popular Women More Likely to Cheat Than Unpopular Women?
October 12, 2004 8:11 PM   Subscribe

Are pretty and popular women more likely to cheat than unpopular women? I have always gone for the quiet, shy girl that was pretty, but pretty in the sort of way that most guys wouldn't notice. Are girls that can have any guy they want more likely to cheat? Or are they more faithful because they have trouble finding guys interested in more than their looks or popularity?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A woman who cheats is just that- a woman who cheats. What she looks like or whether she's popular has no bearing here. The only thing that decides infidelity is the content of her character and the composition of her relationship; exactly the same determining factors that come into play when a man cheats.
posted by headspace at 9:15 PM on October 12, 2004

The modestly hot girl who's only sort of hot so she won't mess around with other guys is at least as likely to cheat if some guy does happen to come along and pay attention to her and it's not something she's used to. Headspace is pretty much dead on.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:21 PM on October 12, 2004

Personality and beliefs play a role, yes.

But overall, I'd say yes. Flat out. But there are many nuances.

We are animals.
posted by troutfishing at 9:47 PM on October 12, 2004

Attractiveness has very little to do with it. Really. It's more a matter of her self esteem (in general)*, her appraisal of the relationship, and then her personal philosophy/standards.

Like troufishing said.

*I've noticed that attractive people of either gender, past a certain point, tend to have low self-esteem. If your looks are such that you're always judged on them, you get a complex that people *only* pay attention to your looks, and not the rest of you. (nota bene: I'm drunk and just got shot down at the bar, while an acquaintance that goes through pretty, intelligent girls faster than I go through razor blades--for shaving--had his latest hanging on him.)
posted by notsnot at 10:14 PM on October 12, 2004

Are girls that can have any guy they want more likely to cheat?

Are guys who work at Krispy Kreme more likely to eat too many doughnuts?

Sociology tells us that the number one predictive factor in any transgression is opportunity.
posted by rushmc at 10:25 PM on October 12, 2004

pretty in the sort of way that most guys wouldn't notice

Yeah, that's what you think. Seriously. I know more people than not who believe this about their taste in the opposite sex.

Between underestimating this, and not counting in the fact that popular/beautiful women are also a little intimidating, I think they come out about even, with other factors, besides looks, being the keys. Like integrity, insecurity, sex addiction...
posted by scarabic at 10:38 PM on October 12, 2004

Based on my experience, the answer is no. The absolute number one predictive factor is past behavior.
posted by vacapinta at 10:40 PM on October 12, 2004

As one of the 'not pretties' please let me state:

It's not a question of whether a woman is pretty or popular, as to 'will she cheat, or not?' to me it's a question of her self-esteem. Some pretty girls for reasons only they know, need to be reassured constantly that they are indeed pretty.

Personally, as one of the 'not pretties' if there's a man in my life, I am NOT going to compromise that because another man looked at me twice or talked to me nicely. Why would I, if the man I have in my life is pleased with me, and I with him?

I know absolutely gorgeous women who couldn't imagine cheating, and I know some women that would make you want to tear out your eyeballs, who cheat all the time.

Granted, I know some of the opposite as well, and I pity all of them.

Of course at this point, I have no one, but who knows, maybe he's somebody in the next car, somebody on the morning train, sombody in the coffee shop, that I pass by every day...
posted by kamylyon at 11:07 PM on October 12, 2004

Okay, remove 'as one of the not pretties'...

If there's a man in MY life, he is my center. That's just the way I am, monogamy has it's points.

Trust me.
posted by kamylyon at 11:14 PM on October 12, 2004

in my experience, pretty girls and not so pretty girls cheat. in fact, they have a habit of cheating on me.

luckily i learned to chain them to the ground better /kids
posted by Stynxno at 12:00 AM on October 13, 2004

Can an attractive person be intelligent? Can a person who wears glasses be stupid? Silly, silly anonymous. The girl with a strong character who loves you and believes in monogamy is less likely to cheat. Double that if you don't cheat on her. Double it again if you make sure she knows that you love her and find her desirable.

But there's no accounting for people; the beautiful self-centered girl with a wild past may remain perfectly faithful, while the demure churchgoer is making it with the next door neighbor. My personal advice to you is that if you've been burned in the past, try to be strong and fearless, and don't let that experience color new relationships (or it may just turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy). If you've been burned repeatedly, then you are probably caught in some sort of cycle in which you are attracted to a particular type who is likely to do this, and if you can, you should try to resolve this issue.
posted by taz at 1:49 AM on October 13, 2004

i'm very pretty, quite self centred, have always had my pick of the boys, plus my self esteem is wonky because i'm an actor (a career which affords me loads and loads of "opportunity") - but i wouldn't cheat to save my own life. i was raised by a deeply loyal parent, and in an extended family where i always felt safe and respected - shitting on my own doorstep by betraying a loved one is not even remotely in my model for living.

my personal observations lead me to believe most female cheaters are in it more for the drama and intrigue than the sex... it's as tho' they only feel alive when they're in crisis mode.
posted by t r a c y at 6:17 AM on October 13, 2004

No real correlation, IMHO. Unless you really believe that the only reason your lady isn't cheating on you is because of lack of opportunity, which can't be a very secure place to be in. Girls that can have any guy they want do have a tendency to be more aware of themselves, their effect on men, and their place in the mating and dating game. It's possible, though not very likely, that a less-pretty girl hasn't worked all that stuff out yet and may be surprised by sudden outside attentions but I think this is a very weak variable. Pretty and less-pretty girls usually have an easier time finding guys than their correlating male counterparts. Put another way: I think it's more difficult for less-attractive men to meet women than for not-pretty girls to meet guys.

I think of it like dating geeky programmer-type guys. There's always a chance that they have some wild-oat sowing to get out of their systems that more traditionally attractive guys worked out back in high school, but overall as others have said, it's got much more to do with the personality than the package.
posted by jessamyn at 6:25 AM on October 13, 2004

You could argue it either way:

Pretty girls have more opportunities, with hotter guys than you. Non-pretty girls are more insecure and need the re-assurance that cheating might give them. It's a crapshoot.

I will say this, however. The prettiness of the girl can have a direct impact on how the guy behaves -- that is, a very pretty girlfriend who's constantly being propositioned can wreak havoc on her boyfriend's confidence in her fidelity. If anything, it's more important for the guy to be self-confident. Jealousy is an ugly, ugly beast that can get you into serious trouble and ruin a relationship.

Does anyone else have this song in their head?
"If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,
never make a pretty woman your wife.
Just from my personal point of view,
get an ugly girl to marry you."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:14 AM on October 13, 2004

I'm with tracy regarding my own behavior - not because of a stable family environment, and possibly exactly the reverse - my mother was the other woman in my dad's first marriage, and in a sense I have always lacked respect for her because of it (my own mother, and the reason I'm here to begin with!). But I just cannot imagine the mindset that would let someone do that...

I can understand someone in a sinking relationship getting drunk and making out with someone at a bar, or something, but then the first thing they have to do is run home and tell their SO what happened, and talk about it, and probably agree that it's time to break up. But to have an affair is just incomprehensible to me, from either side, and I have a strong disrespect for people comfortable with it. I like to be easy going and flexible, and I am absolutely cool with open relationships, but to lie, everyday and in every action, to the person you claim to love more than anyone ... I dunno. It's just so sad.

It isn't the sex, it's the constant dishonesty, the reflective dishonesty, different from just blurting a lie in a moment and then feeling bad or something - I'm not suggesting anyone should be perfect - but to have an extended affair is to live in dishonesty.

anyhoo. what was the question?
sorry. just another response from a generally attractive female. Seriously bad looking women may not have the opportunity, but I think after a certain threshold, women kind of all work in the donut shop (although of course that doesn't mean they want all the donuts - sometimes cheating is meeting the right person at the wrong time, and sometimes it's just random fun/thrills/reassurance/whatever else people do it for). So I'm not sure the prettiness factor is that central.
posted by mdn at 8:40 AM on October 13, 2004

Civil: yes, yes I do.

I agree with most of the above, and would add that the strength of the relationship is also a factor. If things are rocky, either both parties may start taking inventory of their "options." And sometimes they'll test those options.
posted by me3dia at 8:47 AM on October 13, 2004

my personal observations lead me to believe most female cheaters are in it more for the drama and intrigue than the sex... it's as tho' they only feel alive when they're in crisis mode.

I couldn't agree with that more as a general statement. Of course, there are myriad motives out there.
posted by rushmc at 9:10 AM on October 13, 2004

my personal observations lead me to believe most female cheaters are in it more for the drama and intrigue than the sex... it's as tho' they only feel alive when they're in crisis mode.
posted by t r a c y at 6:17 AM PST on October 13

t r a c y is absolutely fucking spot on with this, in my opinion. while we're making asinine generalizations about an entire gender (seems a trend with these anonymous sex questions, eh), i'll say from my vantage point it seems female cheaters are often not drawn to the sex but the attention and drama. so you may want to rethink the whole sexual-attractiveness-as-currency-in-cheating predictor model.
posted by ifjuly at 9:39 PM on October 13, 2004

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