Mark D. Cloud

A man is 50 percent more likely to take back a girlfriend who cheated on him with another woman than one who cheated on him with a man, according to UT research. Psychology graduate student Jaime Confer and Mark D. Cloud, a psychology professor at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, surveyed 718 college students for the study. The researchers told participants to imagine a scenario in which they were in a committed, sexual relationship and their partner admitted to cheating. The hypothetical situations included the partner cheating with one person, with multiple people and with a homosexual partner. According to the study, men felt less threatened by other women because there is no risk their significant others could get pregnant from having an affair with someone of the same sex. “If you learn that your significant other has cheated with another man, you’ll start to think maybe the children we may have may not be mine,” Cloud said. Patrick Newman, a radio-television-film junior who was cheated on, agreed with the main findings of the study. “With guys, it’s a competitive thing. A guy can’t compare himself to a girl,” Newman said. Although men were more likely to take back a woman who had a homosexual affair, women were much less likely to take back a male partner who cheated with another man. Women had a 28-percent likelihood of forgiving a boyfriend who had a heterosexual affair, while men had a 22-percent likelihood. But the majority of the women wanted to end the relationship regardless or who they were cheated on with. “Girls are more offended that the guy cheated, whereas guys are more offended that you chose someone over him,” said Jace Sternadel, a political communication sophomore. Women are more likely to terminate a relationship when they feel like they might be abandoned, making a homosexual affair more threatening to the woman, Cloud said. “What the women wouldn’t be tolerant of is when there’s an emotional attachment to another person,” he said. According to the study, men generally do not support civil rights for gay people, but they accept female homosexual sex. “If men find homosexuality so disgusting and unnatural and so unworthy of civil rights, why do they find it’s okay when it’s female [sexuality]?” Cloud asked. “Adaptive mating strategies provides an answer to this.” Cloud said in terms of evolution, it is more beneficial for men to have multiple sex partners because they have a greater chance of reproduction. Women have limited opportunities for reproduction regardless of how many men they have sex with, he said.