Are Successful and Wealthy Men More Likely to Cheat on Their Women?

Success has long been one of the most potent aphrodisiacs when it comes to drawing women. If evolutionary reasons skewed the attraction equation in favor of men with six packs and a towering height, modern times replaced it with money and success; the motivation was the same – women are more drawn to men who can offer them greater resources, whether for the purpose of producing healthy offspring as then or having a comfortable life as now. And yet the variability of human heart continues to be place a question mark on such neat equations. If a woman has traded her looks and beauty for material success in a man, what is the guarantee that he will not enter into a similar arrangement elsewhere? So one of the most pertinent questions troubling such ambitious women is whether successful and wealthy men are more likely to cheat on their partner?

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The foremost reason why a wealthy guy may be hard pressed to fulfill his marriage vows may be his immediate social context. The scale of temptations that a successful man is exposed to is bound to be higher in number and variety as compared to the average guy with the average income. It is only natural for successful bankers, high-earning lawyers and wealthy businessmen to dine at the most fashionable of restaurants or frequent clubs where the hostesses are drop-dead gorgeous. The rich boys who are always in the limelight, whether they come from the field of sports or from the world of showbiz, are even more exposed to temptations in the form of attractive women or fascinated admirers only too eager for a fling. English footballer and now male style icon David Beckham went through a rough phase in his marriage with singer and model wife Victoria when news erupted in various magazines of his alleged infidelities. In April 2004, the British tabloid News of the World carried claims by Beckham's former personal assistant Rebecca Loos that the two had an extramarital affair.  Around a week later, the Malaysian-born Australian model Sarah Marbeck claimed that she had slept with Beckham on two occasions. While Beckham dismissed both these allegations as “ludicrous”, Victoria is believed to have admitted later that the time was a difficult one for the couple. Probably the same thing destroyed even a longtime marriage like that of former American Vice President  Al Gore and his wife Tipper Gore. The former turned out to be having an affair with Laurie David, co-producer of Gore’s award-winning - and some would say prophetically-named documentary - An Inconvenient Truth.

Another reason why rich men perhaps find it more difficult to stay faithful to their partners  could be their ego which increases in size as their bank balances do. Men who are constantly being feted by employees, clients, the media and generally the whole society usually become used to appreciation from all quarters. In such a situation if for some reason, they feel that their partners are not giving the due attention or approval, however misplaced the feeling may be, they know that they can find it elsewhere without making any extra effort. An average-earning guy on the other hand knows that he can score more on the relationship front by putting in effort, instead of merely sitting back and expecting to be indulged. The constant need for appreciation that often drives successful men is difficult to fulfill for any woman who has a healthy sense of self-respect and may eventually turn out to be a reason for a rich guy to start playing around.

Then again successful men often get used to a sense of entitlement. In this context the example of Tiger Woods comes to mind. After reports of a series of sexual escapades committed by the golfing star erupted in the media in 2010, he apologized to his family and admirers wherein in the speech, Woods admitted that he felt, he was ‘entitled’ - “I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me... Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them”. Rich men often believe that their wealth and popularity entitles them to everything they might fancy, including the right to cheat on as many partners as they want.

Sometimes though it is simply a matter of opportunity. Successful professionals like male doctors might have to spend hours together at the hospital where there might be a sympathetic nurse more than willing to offer a neck rub. Or a busy lawyer might have to zip around the country in the company of an attractive aide with whom it would be only too natural to share a couple of drinks after a round of hard bargaining with clients. In such situations an after-dinner drink or a late night coffee is only a step away from a nightcap, with maybe neither party intending to commit any indiscretion but things simply turning out that way. On the other hand, a guy who earns a regular salary or runs a modest store has fewer chances of spending nights away from home or being away for days on end.

Eventually however it all boils down to individual personalities and values. Even a regular college-going guy may succumb to the charms of an attractive waitress on a night out with the boys. Earning an average income can never be a guarantee for loyalty since commitment to a relationship is a matter of the heart which is rarely decided by the number of zeroes on one’s paycheck. In fact a guy who does not have a home or a job may even be more likely to hook up with a woman with resources so as to cater to his own material needs and before long, move on to the next source of emotional and material support. Moreover, rich men who have seen it all – the glamor and the trappings of a jet-setting life – are even more likely to be appreciative of a relationship where commitment is the keyword. After dealing with ruthless competitors and difficult clients the whole time, every successful professional will want to come home to a wife and family where he is assured of love and belonging.  

So in the final analysis, it is difficult to put forward a simplistic and direct equation between wealth and infidelity. While it is certainly true that the rich and successful are more likely to be sought-after, whether or not they give in to such temptations is ultimately very much a matter of individual choice.