In a recent study of American teenagers and adults, researchers at the London School of Economics determined that men with higher IQs are less likely to cheat.
Among women, however, they found no correlation between intelligence and propensity to cheat.
Their conclusion: “more intelligent men are more likely to value monogamy and sexual exclusivity than less intelligent men.”
Evolution. The researchers claim that sexual exclusivity is an “evolutionary novel” quality. While cavemen benefitted from having multiple sexual partners, the theory goes, intelligent guys are smart enough to realize that there is no evolutionary advantage to cheating.
The real reason, in my opinion, has less to do with values than it does with opportunity.
I have found that my smartest clients come to me after spending their whole lives working hard in school and in their careers. In their free time, they often gravitate toward activities that are logical and solitary in nature – or, at a minimum, which do not require social interaction with women. Think chess, reading, and tennis.
Particularly if they have a very logical mind and an introverted personality, the skills necessary to attract women – flirting etc — do not come naturally to them. And without the benefit of practice, they are at a severe disadvantage compared to other guys.
Intelligent guys then, face a daunting reality. They are in a perpetual state of scarcity with women.
And learning to attract women will require a large investment of time, energy, and resources at the expense of their other activities. This presents a particular dilemma for intelligent guys, since they tend to spend their time on productive, socially-respectable activities that could eventually make them wealthy and high status enough to attract women.
Valuing monogamy, then, provides a rationalization and a psychological defense of sorts. It is a way to avoid dealing with the fundamental problem: their inability to attract women.
Rather than doing the hard work that it takes to have options with women, the ideal of monogamy provides a justification for smart guys to continue as they are, while putting in just enough effort to find that one special girl.
I used to be the same way.
Until I got into the game, I used to spend most of my time studying or practicing solitary activities like golf and online poker. I wanted, at this point in my life, nothing more than one loyal girlfriend who would accept me the way I was.
Once I made self-improvement a priority, however, I began to have more success at dating. My views on monogamy, in turn, began to change as well.
Once I had options, I realized that I could carry on multiple relationships – honestly and openly – without the risk of being single for prolonged periods of time.
Among my clients, I can say confidently that there is little connection between intelligence and attitudes on monogamy.
The vast majority of my clients come to me with the goal of one day finding a girlfriend who will marry them.
As they develop their dating skills, some opt for monogamous relationships, some cheat when presented with the opportunity, and some openly carry on multiple relationships. My clients make this decision based on different factors. But I have not seen my high IQ clients make substantially different choices compared to others.
If my theory is correct – that opportunity more so than values drives people to cheat — it might explain why certain groups of smart men tend to cheat in astonishingly high numbers.
Banking, for example, tends to attract highly intelligent men. Yet in a recent survey, 72% of bankers admitted to having at least one affair. Male bankers were four times more likely to have an affair than female bankers. Most of these affairs are with junior colleagues, suggesting that these men are cashing in on their wealth and status.
My theory might also explain why intelligent women are no less likely to cheat than other women.
In general, intelligent women tend to be more socially well-adjusted than intelligent guys. In their free time, they are more likely to socialize or at least engage in social activities.
Insofar as their social skills suffer, intelligent women still have virtually unlimited opportunities to cheat whenever they feel like it.
Awkward girls might have a harder time finding a guy who will commit to a monogamous relationship. But regular one-night stands are easy. Girls know that most guys have no clue when their girlfriends are cheating on them.
My point is not that it is wrong to value monogamy. In fact, my friends and clients who choose monogamy tend to be happier, in many ways, than those who cheat or pursue multiple relationships.
But for intelligent guys who do value monogamy, I would urge them to think critically about why they have the beliefs that they do.
They should think carefully about how they would behave if they had options. This is not an abstract, theoretical question. Intelligent guys, in particular, could find themselves with more opportunities to cheat as they achieve more wealth and social status through their career — even if they do not invest in their dating skills.
Changing attitudes on monogamy – especially without the maturity, experience, and foresight to deal with this change — could have devastating consequences down the line, especially within a marriage.
The study should also serve as a warning to smart guys who pursue intelligent women in hopes of a monogamous relationship.
Intelligent guys are often guilty of mirror-imaging. They mistakenly assume that the girls in their circles share their commitment to monogamy.
The reality, as the study suggests, is that intelligent girls are just as likely to cheat as any other girl. Being a man who satisfies all of a woman’s emotional needs is often the only way to ensure that girls, in a world of limitless opportunities, will not stray.