The Forbidden Fruit in RelationshipsA long-term, stable romantic relationship with a committed, caring partner has many psychological benefits, which we know from the oodles of psychological research published about them. So it’s a good thing to try and protect one’s relationship from external influences. One of the most difficult to recover from and damaging influences is cheating.

If cheating will harm a relationship (and cheating appears to be one of the primary reasons cited in many, if not most, relationship breakups), what can be done to minimize it?

After all, isn’t it human nature — and the nature of temptation — to constantly look for desirable alternatives?

One of the ways people look to protect their long-term relationship is to simply remain inattentive to those alternatives. Research has demonstrated that being inattentive to attractive members of the opposite sex generally promotes relationship success.

But new research (DeWall et al., 2011) suggests it’s not so simple. If the circumstances or situation implicitly limit a person’s attention to an attractive alternative, that alternative suddenly becomes “forbidden fruit.”

And all that more attractive.

2 Comments to
The Forbidden Fruit in Relationships

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  1. Ultimately, the issue of cheating comes down to having a set of expectations that a partner is unwilling or unable to meet. In this, American culture is extremely demanding: We’ve seen articles in this site where people assert that long, personal conversations with someone of the opposite sex are grounds for divorce!

    Ultimately, couples must set realistic expectations, and communicate about the ease or difficulty of meeting said expectations. Trying to reach unrealistic expectations is as bad for a relationship as setting no expectations at all.

  2. The “conclusion” is Common sense.

  3. that something in human nature, is sin, always wanting what we cant/shouldnt have, its been going since day one, as for the stable relationship having benefits, that also has been the model promoted since day one by god, its called marriage

  4. Life is like that as are the weaknesses of the human mind.
    Once we understand the true meaning of the word ‘commitment’…then and only then are we able to stay the course. If we invest our life in a relationship and o not understand the meaning of ‘commitment’, we are sure to fall into the strong hold of temptations.

    In the past 20 years, media has presented the ‘look’ and/or ‘perfect’ body image as what is acceptable and should be expected. For many partners, this has become an type of hypnosis. We have pornography at the touch of a key ..the temptation of that alone has brought many relationships to its knees.
    To choose or not to choose will always be the bottom line in every single decision we make. We as individuals are solely responsible for those choices whether they be positive or negative.
    Realizing that no-one is to blame for the road we choose in life is a vital key in understanding the consequences of our choices also.

    I have always be a bit skeptic when reading statistics and survey results. So many different minds with so many levels of control can definitely play havoc within those results.
    I believe that keeping our realizations, interpretations and our choices simple is the easiest way to avoid confusion and most definitely learned behaviors ~

  5. In my experience,a beloved partner is the most enjoyable person to look at. The sight of my husband represents all the qualities and good times associated with him, as well as how he tries to live his life the best way, so he “turns me on” and others do not. I wonder, is it the same way for men, or just us women?

  6. I’m calling bollocks.

    The studies were done with undergraduates and graduates? Guessing aged 20-26 or so? I don’t know about you, but when I was that age, I was not ready for a committed relationship and had a lot of living to do. So why does this age group represent everyone? Why would this even count?

    How can physical attractiveness possibly have anything to do with real love?

    What I would like to know is why these scientists set up experiments that seem designed to diminish the power of love. Duuuuuudes, you’re asking the wrong questions.

  7. I agree with Sharon, use people who have the experience, good or bad. I’ve been marries for 28 years, lots of good and bad. We survive, better than before. To me, it seems that honesty needs to be foremost in any relationship. Communication is the next.

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