Infidelity: the Common Denominator in Many Divorcing Populations

In my experience, three things can make a given area demographic more prone to infidelity:

  1. Same sex/less integrated workforces
  2. Divorce clustering
  3. Affluence

In previous blogs, I described how same sex or less-integrated workforces, along with populations having flexible work schedules and extra free time, could lead to a higher rate of infidelity. It has long been a common perception that police departments have a higher rate of infidelity. This may have been because of the unique shifts/schedules and the same sex (male) dominated workforce of the 70s and 80s. More recently, we find that Cablevision and the Long Island Railroad, along with the police department, are the top three workforce demographics for cheating spouses. A same sex or less integrated workforce seems to promote a locker-room mentality where cheating is discussed openly and even accepted.

With respect to divorce clustering, it is well-known that divorce clustering within a group of friends, co-workers, or family members can create a divorce epidemic. It appears as if divorce spreads through groups of friends, social networks, and families like a disease. As with other epidemics, happily married couples or couples that are less-than-happily married should try to isolate themselves from the divorcing people in their social circle, family, or workforce and keep others at arm's length when they start talking about their divorces. If you are the type of person that gets involved in other people's business and likes to hear about their dirty laundry, including about their divorce, your behavior is comparable to that of a person who would pet a monkey in the airport during a SARS epidemic.

On the other hand, divorcing couples should try to keep their problems and/or their newfound thrill of being single to themselves for the most part, or they may regret their less-than-prudent disclosures later, when their emotions have settled down.

With respect to affluence and cheating, New York is particularly full of successful people in various locations. In fact, Nassau County areas like Great Neck and Garden City have far more divorces than areas that are less wealthy. Some people attribute the high divorce rate in affluent areas to the abundance of confidence that a wealthy individual has, which tends to make them more attractive to members of the opposite sex. There is also the possibility that affluence in and of itself can make a person more attractive to someone who possesses less wealth.

A third alternative would be age groups. Affluent areas usually consist of residents of an older or advanced median age, one that has passed the childbearing or rearing years. Therefore, once the children are gone and change occurs in the sexual dynamic between couples, adding money or affluence to such an equation often results in infidelity.

With the above being said, it leads us to question whether the dramatically lower divorce rates in less affluent groups may be a result of the poor economy making it more difficult for people to divorce. Alternately, the poor economy could be making it more difficult for people to become affluent and/or achieve the wealth needed to attract and maintain an adulterous affair. Time will tell.

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