The Depressing Quality Men Are Looking For In Women, According To Research

What is so attractive about someone willing to cheat on their partner?

Man and woman talking at a bar Ahmani Vidal | yacobchuk | Getty Images

Picture your boyfriend on a night out with his buddies. They head to the neighborhood bar to watch the game over a few beers. It’s his guy time. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Then, a young woman slinks up next to him at the bar. She flashes him a smile and the two of them spark a fairly innocent conversation … but 'friendly' turns quickly into 'flirty' and they get a little too giggly over drinks. She leans in and murmurs in his ear, "Let's get out of here." 


Of course, his knee-jerk reaction is to say no. He is your boyfriend after all, and he says he's 'taken'.



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"Oh, me too," she says, flashing a wedding ring on her finger. "So?" He pauses for a moment, before being lured in by her kisses and the two of them slip off into the night.


Your worst nightmare right? Well, a recent study confirms it as a possible reality: men love a cheating woman.

What are men looking for online? A cheater, says research.

OkCupid conducted a top-secret study to discover that men actually prefer women who are looking to have an affair.

Here's how the experiment went down: Researchers collected 40 real profile pics — 20 women and 20 men — and then shuffled them into four categorized groups: the Brazen Cheats, the Married Maybes, the Recently Taken, and the Sincerely Singles. Two decoy profiles from each group were then planted into one of five cities deemed by the infamous cheater's online haven Ashley Madison as unfaithful hotspots.

And there's no mistaking a decoy cheater's profile when you see it. One such profile reads: "My profile lists me as single but I'm not going to lie to you, I AM in a relationship right now. I'm here because I want to meet someone new but I don't want my current partner to know about it. There, I said it."


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Over time, they tallied up the total number of messages that each group received, and ... (surprise, surprise) the female Brazen Cheats were the most popular group.

Within a week, the group received 336 messages with coy, flirty offers like "You are the most striking woman I have laid eyes on in years. Let me know if I can fill any holes in your relationship for you..." and "I am in a relationship but I'm getting really bored with it. I'd really be interested in meeting someone where we can just chill with no expectations and just have fun."

While these messages were mainly empathetic (if not a tad forward), cheating guys didn't get that same online love. Male decoy cheaters received 44 messages in a week, 36 of which were scathing insults or judgments like "I presume this is a joke. If not, then wow" and "Wow are you serious?"

As alarming as these results are, we have to wonder: are they all that surprising?



Just this year, 33 percent of men admitted to committing affairs in their relationships. And I don't doubt that the idea of romancing a 'taken' woman is tempting for the guys.


Think about it: she's already 'taken' so there's no pressure to marry her — and there's an easy cop-out if you should get caught in your fling. All that sneaking around is enough to get your heart pumping.

Based on this ever-growing list, why wouldn't a man want a woman who is already spoken for?

YourTango Expert and author of The Problem With Women ... Is Men, Charles Orlando says that the initial appeal of being party to a sordid affair with a taken woman is the fantasy. Men want what they can't have. They secretly lust after their best friend's girlfriend. 

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"A woman who qualifies herself as willing to be intimate is going to get a lot more messages than women who are after a relationship," Orlando explains. "Because she's married, what she's really saying is that she'd like to be intimate with someone, and not have a relationship. No strings, no commitment ... nada."


But it goes beyond just intimacy. These trysts offer a sort of fantasy escape for men who are disenchanted in their relationships. After all, 48 percent of men who committed affairs claimed to feel emotionally disconnected from their partners.

According to our expert, there’s an emotional tie for single men pursuing women, as well. When a man hooks up with a taken woman, he's serving as needs — emotional as well as physical. This gives men the ego boost they crave.

"From the man's side, not only is she willing to be intimate, but if she selects him as the man she wants to cheat with, it's a huge boost to his ego," Orlando says, "Not only did she pick him over all the other men on the dating site, but she also picked him over her husband/boyfriend."


Still, even with these endless reasons (ahem, excuses), does it make the circumstances any more understandable for men to pursue women who are already in committed relationships? There is still an innocent victim in all of this: the guy she's cheating on. Whatever happened to 'bro code', guys?

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Alexandra Churchill is a digital editor who currently works for Martha Stewart Living. Her work has been featured on numerous sites including The Huffington Post, Her Campus, USA TODAY College, and Northshore and Ocean Home magazines.