This article was written by Ali Eaves and provided by our partners at Men's Health.
Sleeping around runs in the family, according to a new study from Texas Tech University.
Researchers surveyed people about their parents’ and their own history of infidelity. Nearly half of the subjects who were raised by philandering parents admitted to having cheated on a partner—making them twice as likely to stray as those brought up in a faithful family.
That puts your mom and dad’s union right up there with the top predictors of infidelity, like your own relationship satisfaction and your personality, says study author Dana Weiser, Ph.D.
The tendency to sleep around is partly genetic, Weiser says. Other scientists have found that you can inherit biological traits, like a certain kind of dopamine receptor, that make you crave multiple partners.
But she also suspects that your parents shape your expectations for your own relationships. For example, if your father failed to be faithful, you may conclude that monogamy is unreasonable or impossible. And that belief could turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If your parents (or his) didn’t forsake all others, don’t worry. You’re not doomed to repeat their mistakes, says Weiser.
Just be aware of how they affected you. Consider this an opportunity to talk with your partner about your views and expectations surrounding monogamy.
And remember, there’s another huge predictor of cheating that you actually have control over: the strength of your relationship. Pouring your energy into communicating, having fun, and trying new things together is one of the best safeguards against infidelity, says Weiser.