Those Springtime Cheating Hearts
“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” – Robin Williams
Spring has sprung. Days are getting longer, sunnier, and warmer. While winter in colder climes can drive people indoors and into a low-grade depression, spring — ah, spring — invigorates the body and soul. Some studies show it also brings an upsurge in cheating. The songs aren’t wrong: Springtime seems to be a time for lovers, even the cheating ones.
Why? There are a number of speculations:
It may be primal. Spring is the season of mating for most creatures. Perhaps people are still wired to look around for a desirable mate. Just as is true of other critters, males may feel the urge to compete with other males for the attention of attractive females. Females may be on the lookout for someone more virile than the male they are with.
Hormones: More sunshine triggers more serotonin, the chemical that makes us happier and more energetic — and maybe friskier. Low levels of serotonin are correlated with depression. But the higher levels of spring put that spring in a person’s step and a zing in their self-esteem.
Emerging from parkas: There is even some evidence that peeling off the layers of winter clothing makes people feel and look sexier. The first sign of spring in the college town where I work is not robins. It’s coeds in tank tops and shirtless young men. Some people (male and female) see such shedding of the winter “skin” of long underwear and parkas as an invitation to flirt and pursue.
Spring opens new possibilities. For people in difficult relationships, their emergence from winter blahs may make them hopeful — but not necessarily for the relationship they are in. Discouraged, disillusioned, and hurt by the impasse they find themselves in, they use their springtime elevated mood to look around for someone new.
Narcissism: Narcissism has become a buzzword, but there really are some people who are the genuine thing. People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are, at base, terribly insecure. They need constant validation and attention. Settled-down love doesn’t do it. The giddiness of spring may activate them to prove to themselves that they’ve still “got it,” that they are still sexually attractive to others.
Springtime isn’t an excuse.