It’s not what you think.  After all, my parents do follow my blog posts.  But, parental guilt aside, I don’t think that we can really talk about the sins of divorce without at least mentioning what is really on everyone’s mind – a cheating spouse.

We all know that it happens.  We have heard the war stories from countless friends, neighbors and family members who are left scratching their heads upon hearing that a couple is splitting up due to infidelity –“But they always seemed so happy…”

Several nationally representative studies have indicated that 20 to 25 percent of men and 10 to 15 percent of women cheat on their spouses (figures from 2006).

ID-10043891(Photo courtesy of

Maybe you can tell from regularly reading my blogs that facts, standing alone, don’t excite me.  These facts are no exception.  I am interested in the WHY.

Why do people cheat on one another?  Does one thing or another make someone predisposed to cheating?

Apparently, happiness in a relationship may have nothing to do with it.  Instead, the answer may lie in our DNA.

In a study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin of women between the ages of 17 and 30, those with higher levels of estradiol (a hormone that gives women physical characteristics desired by men) were more likely to have an affair with someone than those with lower levels of the hormones.

For men, biology may also play a significant role in whether or not he will cheat. Swedish researchers found that men are more likely to cheat if they have the fewer neurological receptors for vasopressin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of attachment and a need to protect a partner.

I would venture a guess that there are also a myriad of other psychological and emotional reasons that people cheat.  Or maybe it is a combination of the psychological, emotional and biological.

But, of course, if you tell your partner “my DNA made me do it,” I don’t think you get a free pass.  There are always ways to control urges – from gluttony to greed to wrath, and, yes, even to lust.

In case you missed the first five posts in the “Seven Deadly Sins” series, you can catch up on using the following hyperlinks: Gluttony, Envy, Greed, Sloth and Wrath.

My final post in the “Deadly Sins” series will be Pride, which will focus on divorce and narcissistic personalities.


Eliana T. Baer is a frequent contributor to the New Jersey Family Legal Blog and a member of the Family Law Practice Group of Fox Rothschild LLP. Eliana practices in Fox Rothschild’s Princeton, New Jersey office and focuses her state-wide practice on representing clients on issues relating to divorce, equitable distribution, support, custody, adoption, domestic violence, premarital agreements and Appellate Practice. You can reach Eliana at (609) 895-3344, or