Did your partner delete their profile after you started dating, or did they just block you on the app so you couldn’t see what they are doing? How many options do you keep open while you investigate if this relationship is working for you?

This year, a study published in “Computers and Human Behaviour” investigated tendencies and behaviours in the online dating world, looking at attitudes towards infidelity in 395 people (39.5% were in a serious romantic relationship while still using online dating apps). Can we really blame online dating apps for our desire to be unfaithful? Well, let’s take a look.

It appears that people who view their significant other as physically attractive are less likely to engage in sexual and emotional affairs. How do you rate yourself and your partner on a desirability scale? Do you think you can do better? Do you think you are a 9 out of 10 and he/she is a 6? Believing that you are hotter than your partner, plus the many people out there waiting to be swiped, are some reasons people remain on dating apps and not fully commit to their partner. So, it appears that our perceived success in the online dating world and perceived desirability is positively associated with our intention to cheat.

The authors of the study suggest that the frequency of use of the app was not associated with a significant risk, as frequent use without engaging with potential partners means that they may not see them as a viable sexual or romantic option. This is an interesting point, as I frequently see couples where the friction in the relationship is usually caused by a male partner following a number of “hot babes” on Instagram. However, I haven’t met a couple yet where this was the only issue they experienced. The majority of the time, following a large number of sexy women, is secondary to not treating their partner with respect, paying attention to other women at parties more than her, or being overly friendly with their ex-girlfriend(s).

Some people suggest that our willingness to cheat depends on our personality type, while others refer to the perception of an abundance of choice. Thus, people might perceive a pressure to “maximise” their options and might find it difficult to settle. I am sure you have met someone who keeps going on many first dates and maybe occasional follow-ups, but never gives anyone a chance to give it a proper go.

It is reported that between 15 and 25% internationally, and up to 40% in the USA, of people who are married, living together, or seriously dating are still using dating sites. It looks like people who consider themselves to be more desirable might be more likely to keep on swiping with an intention to engage in hanky panky with people outside of their relationship.

Is there a way to bulletproof your relationship and keep all the keen babes at bay?

If any breach of trust has occurred, it is important to understand what happened, and if you want to repair the relationship, see a therapist. Understanding the issue of infidelity is important; is it only the cheating partner, or the relationship issue? What are the boundaries of your relationship?

Which behaviours are appropriate and which are not? We do recommend that if you want to work on your relationship and make it better, seek professional help. One of our courses focuses on helping couples recover from impulsive, unexamined and damaging behaviours. Check out our Relationship Rebuilding course for Couples(https://impulsivity.com.au/product/course-relationship-building/). You might benefit from addressing the “swiping right” issue and strengthen your relationship at the same time.