The Harsh Reason Men Think Physical Affairs Are Worse Than Emotional Ones

Women and men view affair betrayals differently.

man and woman arguing in bed eclipse_images via canva

What's worse, emotional cheating or physical cheating? My initial reaction is that they are both terrible and my boyfriend better never do it, but then I have to admit that I do have a preference.

If the cheating was physical then I know what his mentality was while doing it. But if it's an emotional affair there are so many more questions: Do you love her? Do you still love me? Did you want to end things for a while now and have just been looking for a way out? 


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In my opinion, emotional cheating is the worst of the two evils because so many people's feelings are involved. Scientists decided to get to the bottom of cheating and it turns out women agree with my opinion while men take the opposite point of view.


According to a 2015 study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, women are more hurt by emotional cheating while men are more hurt when the cheating is physical.

The study asked 64,000 people whether they would be more upset by their partner being intimate with someone else without falling in love with them, or falling in love with someone else but not being intimate with them.

RELATED: 7 Fool-Proof Ways To Prevent Affairs From Ever Happening

The results show 54 percent of heterosexual men would rather have their girlfriends fall in love with someone instead of being intimate with them, while only 35 percent of women felt the same way.

That's a pretty big gender difference there. According to the study, the differences emerged across things like age groups, income levels, and history of being cheated on, as well as if they cheated or not.


It looks like one gender has a lot more ego-tied-up in intimacy, which isn't particularly shocking. You may assume that this is a strictly heterosexual thing, but the study found homosexuals of each gender didn't really differ from heterosexuals.

So what gives? Is this all about men's pride being tied up in their performance? According to the study, not exactly.

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If you look through an evolutionary lens the reason men get much more wound up about intimacy is because if the woman got pregnant the paternity would be uncertain. Women don't face this problem so they differ in feelings about physical infidelity. This is the reason for the results, according to the researchers.


Of course, this would make sense, except for the fact that we can do DNA testing now. I guess still having to go through the process of figuring out paternity is still daunting.

RELATED: The 4 Stages Of Emotional Affairs — And Physical Ones, Too

Nicole Weaver is a senior writer for Showbiz Cheat Sheet whose work has been featured in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more.