LONDON: Wondering why young love is riddled with the problem of infidelity? It might be one of these two reasons.
A study suggests that infidelity in relationships among millennials stem from the partners’ differing needs for attachment, and boils down to two main reasons- thinking your partner isn’t satisfying your needs, or feeling the need for more independence.
The study was carried out by the University of Tennessee, on 104 young adults with an average age of 22 (59.6 per cent of whom were female) who’d admitted to cheating on their partner in the past six months.
The top reason for cheating, cited by 73 percent participants, was interdependence, whereas for 20 percent, it was the need for independence, reports the Independent.
The issue of intimacy occurs when poor communication, lack of spark or feeling unloved, leads the partner into thinking their needs aren’t being fulfilled by their counterpart.
Millennials, unlike the previous generation, have no rush to settle down with a partner, and enjoy the freedom to decide whether they should continue with a relationship.
In addition, the struggle to move out of their parents’ homes, and the casual dating culture, also informs their attitude towards relationships.
Some participants also admitted to cheating because they were drunk, attracted to someone else or simply couldn’t resist the excitement or novelty of infidelity and the prospect of someone new.
“I think we’re so used to having attention in an instant (from social media and our phones) - we seek and expect instant gratification - that when things are bad with a partner and you’re lacking in confidence, kissing someone else gives you that quick rush that you’ve still ‘got it’,” said a 24-year-old participant.
The authors observed that two attachment styles -anxious and avoidant- are at the root of millennials’ reasons for cheating.
While the anxious worry about losing closeness in their relationship and as such often push their partners away, the avoidant generally avoid getting too close to others and are more likely to think their partners aren’t meeting their intimacy needs.
The study authors note that: “Because emerging adulthood is thought to be a time of exploration and experimentation, it is possible that engaging in infidelity is a path through which individuals seek to meet their developmental needs for independence and interdependence and promote their individual development.”
Jerika Norona, lead study author, suggests millenials to think if their individual and relational goals coincide, before the relationship gets serious.
“If they don't, there is possibility for adaptive and explicit discussions about how those needs can be met within the relationship,” explains Norona.
The study has been published in the Journal of Sex.