Jealousy: Men, Women and Infidelity

Morality and ethics are of great importance for determining the essence of a society or culture. Morality and ethics are used as complementary concepts, but literally have different meanings. Morality defines the personal character and refers to the beliefs that a person practices when interacting in personal and social relationships. Morality identifies the way a person lives. Ethics are the rules or standards of conduct expected of the group to which the person may belong.

Every day we are tested as people to make the right choice. How we view ourselves as individuals and how others view us are directly strongly related to our moral decision-making. A wrong decision for one person could be a solution of another. How do we define morality? Actions can be evaluated in various ways. If we evaluate them from the moral point of view, then this can be seen within two different standings. We can regard them as morally right, or good, but we can also judge them morally wrong, or bad. Each action has either a morally right or a morally wrong standing. Though in today’s society there are many different people with many different opinions on different issues. The experiences people go through in life help shape the different beliefs that people have. This results in confrontations dealing with morality issues. Kouchaki, Smith, and Savani (2018) stated that research on moralization, the process through which preferences are converted into values, both in individual lives and at the level of culture, also suggest that morality might pull decision alternatives from the domain of free choice into the domain of oughts (p. 781).

A social contract can almost be thought of as a promise. With social contracts in place, people believe that one should “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This means that you give up violating the rights of other people if they do not violate your rights. Graham, Nosek, Haidt, Iyer, Koleva, and Ditto (2011) stated that in such a moral world, moral regulation revolves around protecting individuals from harm or unfair treatment by other individuals or by the social system (p.368). When building relationships with people, trust is one of the main qualities believed to hold that relationship together. According to Brambilla, Leach, Sacchi, Pagilaro & Ellemers (2014), moral characteristics such as honesty and trustworthiness tend to be far more important than sociable characteristics such as intelligence and capability in shaping person and group perception. Relationships can be complex, especially those that are romantic relationships. When it comes to cheating within relationships, men and women may have different views about situations. Normally, romantic relationships involve commitment between just two people, and it is safe to say that most would expect loyalty from their partner. Each partner in different relationships have different aspects of faithfulness that they take seriously. According to Mooijman, Meindl, Oyserman, Monterosso, Dehghani, Doris, and Graham (2018) in the moment, a person might want the extra cake, the new shoes, or the extramarital affair, but if self-control is moralized, gluttony, greed, and adultery are simply wrong and need to be inhibited (p.586). Do males and females consider different options on what is cheating within their relationship?

When it comes to lying to not hurt someone’s feelings, is it better to lie to cover up your mistake or is it better to tell the truth and take the consequences? A lie can be painful, exhausting, unforgettable, and harmful. Of course, it is always better to be told the truth. Lying is indeed a major way to ruin a relationship. If a man were to cheat in a relationship and feel guilty, there are multiple thoughts that may run through his mind in deciding what the best choice to make is. For example, he may contemplate the positive and negative outcomes if he tells his partner whether or not he cheated. Some examples may include “what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her”, “if I tell her, she might leave me”, “what I did didn’t mean anything, so she doesn’t need to know”, or even “if I tell her, our relationship will never be the same”. These are a few examples of how one may think in order to protect their self.

The weight that one individual places on another’s self-interests compared to their own can be characterized by what is known as Welfare Tradeoff Ratio (WTR). WTR is a psychologically real regulatory variable in the brain that determines the extent of the weight the individual places on a specific person’s welfare compared to their own in making decisions that impact them both. The higher the WTR, the less willing you are to impose costs on them and the more willing you are to accept costs to their benefit. With that being said, within relationships, if both partners have a high WTR towards one another, honesty, loyalty, and respect are much more evident in relationships. If the WTR towards one another is low, held by either or partner, one would not care about the others emotions. They would simply only care about benefiting themselves. It feels easy and intuitive to make decisions about welfare tradeoffsв decisions putting personal welfare against the welfare of someone else. Just because something feels easy, however, does not mean the computations that give rise to it are simple. Natural selection has designed a series of internal regulatory variables that encode features of the other person such as kinship, formidability, and cooperative value, and the situation such as the magnitude of the welfare at stake. These variables combine into a final variable, a welfare tradeoff ratio, which determines welfare tradeoffs. Moreover, some emotions, such as anger and forgiveness, function to update welfare tradeoff ratios in your mind and the minds of others.

In a study conducted by Southard and Abel (2010), women reported significantly higher levels of emotional, as well as slightly higher behavioral jealousy than did men. In sum, this study finds that women reported overall higher levels of emotional and behavioral jealousy than men. (p.48). With that being said, the concept to be manipulated involves whether or not hearing the truth from friends versus hearing the truth from a romantic partner has an effect on a relationship’s loyalty and lasting. Should a person be upset with their partner if the other partner was hiding an incident so that way no feelings were harmed?

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