Haven’t posted more vetting stuff in a while, but here are some additional things you can look for. Psyblog covers some of combination of Big 5 traits associated with increased risk of cheaters. I recently had a post on the Big 5 traits and attachment theory, so this fits in fairly well.
The conclusions come from a survey of 208 people, who were asked about their relationships and whether they had cheated.
Up to 50% of people admit cheating on their partner, the authors write:
“Early studies reported that by the age of 40, 50% of all married men and more than 25% of all married women have engaged in extramarital sexual behavior.
Three decades later, an estimated 50% of men continued to engage in sexual and/or emotional extramarital relations while 40% of women engaged in similar relationships.”
The results of the study revealed that cheaters tend to be low in conscientiousness, extraverted and open to experience.
An N of 200 is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but it’s interesting to see that 50% of men and 40% of women are cheaters (emotional or physical).
Low in conscientiousness “is associated with flexibility and spontaneity, but can also appear as sloppiness and lack of reliability” and extraversion + open to experience means that they’re more likely to seek out ‘novel’ or ‘thrill seeking’ behavior. Cheating is obviously one of those types of things. Would not be surprised to see that this falls into similar patterns with alcohol, drug, and other novel substance tendencies.
To go along with this, there is another Psyblog on infidelity that corresponds to women specifically:
Narcissism is one of the strongest predictors that someone will cheat in their relationship, research finds.
Narcissists are likely to be vain, egocentric and over-confident — they like to show off their bodies, talk about themselves and put other people down.
Two other personality factors that predict people’s infidelity are unstable emotions and psychopathy.
People who are unstable are unreliable, careless, badly organised and find it hard to resist temptation.
Psychopaths, meanwhile, are irresponsible, spontaneous and manipulative.
Per the authors of the study:
“One of the strongest predictors is Narcissism.
Women high on Narcissism predict that they will flirt with, kiss, and date other men, as well as have one night stands, brief affairs, and serious affairs with other men.
…two equally strong predictors of mild and serious infidelity are low Conscientiousness and high Psychoticism.
These variables are correlated, and share the common component of impulsivity and inability to delay gratification.
And like Narcissism, Conscientiousness and Psychoticism are stronger predictors of women’s anticipated infidelities than men’s anticipated infidelities.
These findings suggest that a personality style marked by impulsivity, low dependability, and low reliability in general carries over…”
To go along with this is also Gottman’s research on the 4 horseman of the (divorce) apocalypse.
- Criticism — The first horseman is criticism. Criticizing your partner is different than offering a critique or voicing a complaint. The latter two are about specific issues, whereas the former is an ad hominem attack. It is an attack on your partner at the core of their character. In effect, you are dismantling their whole being when you criticize.
- Contempt — The second horseman is contempt. When we communicate in this state, we are truly mean—we treat others with disrespect, mock them with sarcasm, ridicule, call them names, and mimic or use body language such as eye-rolling or scoffing. The target of contempt is made to feel despised and worthless.
- Defensiveness — The third horseman is defensiveness, and it is typically a response to criticism. We’ve all been defensive, and this horseman is nearly omnipresent when relationships are on the rocks. When we feel unjustly accused, we fish for excuses and play the innocent victim so that our partner will back off.
- Stonewalling — The fourth horseman is stonewalling, which is usually a response to contempt. Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the interaction, shuts down, and simply stops responding to their partner. Rather than confronting the issues with their partner, people who stonewall can make evasive maneuvers such as tuning out, turning away, acting busy, or engaging in obsessive or distracting behaviors.
Some of the Biblical antidotes to these are:
- Kindness: speak the Truth in Love.
- Respect from the wife, and honor from the husband
- Valuing the relationship/marriage over personal feelings
These are some more traits and character qualities you should avoid when vetting a spouse.