Just because a study claims men are attracted to cheaters doesn't mean they're prone to infidelity.
During the course of one month, a recent online dating study tracked the number of private messages men sent to four different, fake, female, online dating profiles, and discovered that men privately messaged women who showed obvious signs of wanting to cheat more than men messaged single women who were looking for love.
There have been a lot of conclusions drawn from this cheater study, and I think it's important to offer my opinion on its results. I want to calm women's fears that men find cheaters more attractive than single women. I also want to make it clear that this study doesn't say anything about these men actually being unfaithful themselves.
First, let me explain the study's design. Twenty different women agreed to have their photos used for a fake online dating profile. Four different profiles were put up in five different cities where cheating is prevalent (this, according to AshleyMadison.com). The profiles labeled women as Brazen Cheats, Married Maybes, Recently Taken or Seriously Single.
The results revealed that after one month, 998 men had messaged the Brazen Cheats, 890 had messaged the Seriously Single women, 355 had messaged the Married Maybes and 284 had messaged The Recently Taken women.
What The Study Results Suggest... And What They Don't
The only thing that's clear to me from this study is that the majority of men who date online (or at least on OkCupid.com, where the study was conducted) are looking for exciting, no-strings-attached sex. And quite frankly, what woman out there on the online dating scene doesn't already know this? Most of us have gotten the "sexy pics" late-night personal message, right?
The study results don't necessarily reveal that men are more attracted to cheaters because they themselves are cheaters. Though men messaged the Brazen Cheats with the most frequency, the Serious Singles profiles brought in significantly more messages than the Married Maybes, who were also looking to be unfaithful: "I wouldn't be on here if I wasn't seriously ready for someone or something new," read the Married Maybe's profile.
The difference in the two types of cheaters was that the Brazen Cheats said that they weren't looking for their partners to find out about their escapades; they also made their sexual compulsions obvious. This, to me, translates to casual, sexy and dangerous fun. Men could have interpreted the Married Maybe's profile to mean that she was looking for an emotional affair or to update to a better partner.
My conclusion is that men aren't looking to be with a cheater so much as they are looking for drama-free sexual encounters that won't have much chance to turn into anything more. After all, men can be a bit dense, or maybe just too eager to believe what they want to hear; they actually trust when a woman says she's looking for fun without strings attached: "I don't want my current partner to know about it," claimed the Brazen Cheats. I'm sure men wanted to assume this meant no commitment.
If You're Single and Looking For Mr. Monogamous, Don't Get Discouraged
Though the Brazen Cheats profile received more messages than the Seriously Singles received, it doesn't mean that there aren't loyal men online looking for long-term monogamous relationships. After all, the Seriously Single profiles received more messages than the Married Maybes and Recently Taken profiles combined.
What's significant, too, is that we don't know the relationship statuses of the majority of the men who messaged the four profiles. Though it was revealed that some of the men who messaged the Brazen Cheats were also looking to cheat — one man wrote, "We are in the same boat. I'm in a relationship and getting really bored with it," — those conducting the study admit to not knowing the relationship statuses of most of the men.
This study doesn't show solid proof that men are attracted to cheaters, are cheaters or aren't also looking for a relationship while having sex with cheaters.
In fact, a control group of sexually promiscuous single women would have been a smart choice, as it would have shed more light on whether the Brazen Cheats were contacted because they were interested in casual sex or because their unfaithful nature made them attractive to men.
Don't Let These Results Make You Think That Men Don't Want Honest Women
Sure, the idea of an unabashed cheat seems exciting. Men like bad girls just as women like bad boys. However, this doesn't mean that these men are looking for love with these women.
If you are looking for love, it's okay to admit to wanting marriage or a life-partner in your dating profile. It doesn't make you less exciting or fun. Too many women are afraid to put their true relationship goals in their profiles, thinking that men will run from a woman's desire for serious commitment. The only men who will run are those who aren't emotionally capable of commitment or who don't want it.
Don't let this study make you think you have to seem like a wild woman or a morally ambiguous person to snag a man. If you want to find an old-fashioned romance, be brazen about that and you will find Mr. Right.
More online dating advice from YourTango
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