Terry F. Pettijohn II, Arsida Ndoni
Research in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. 2013, 1(2), 11-15
Publication Date (Web): 23 May 2013DOI:
Abstract: Male and female college students (N=437) from the U.S. read imagined scenarios of infidelity manipulated for discovery method (close friend tells, partner’s best friend tells, stranger tells, questioning partner, caught partner, and partner confesses) and infidelity act (sex, massage, falling in love, bought present, went out to dinner, and kissing). Participants rated how upsetting each scenario was and the likelihood they would forgive their partner if this were to happen. Sexual infidelity was rated the most upsetting and least forgivable imagined infidelity act by both men and women, especially when imagining the infidelity act being discovered in person. Discovering infidelity by means of a stranger was the least upsetting and most likely to be forgiven. Contrary to previous findings, men were less upset by all types of imagined infidelity than women and men were also more likely to forgive the indiscretions. Implications for relationships are discussed.