A 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.
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