Sep 13, 2009

The Company We Keep

We are highly social creatures. Our lives center around our interpersonal relationships and our social groups. We pay attention to who has status, who is kind, and who should be avoided.

Even more fascinating, we mimic the people we like. We mimic their posture, rate of breathing, mannerisms, speech patterns, you name it. So, it should come as no surprise that many of our behaviors from smoking, to drinking, to gaining weight are simply a function of who we know. It is called "social contagion."

The New York Times has an interesting article on the subject:

By analyzing the Framingham data, Christakis and Fowler say, they have for the first time found some solid basis for a potentially powerful theory in epidemiology: that good behaviors — like quitting smoking or staying slender or being happy — pass from friend to friend almost as if they were contagious viruses. The Framingham participants, the data suggested, influenced one another’s health just by socializing. And the same was true of bad behaviors — clusters of friends appeared to “infect” each other with obesity, unhappiness and smoking. Staying healthy isn’t just a matter of your genes and your diet, it seems. Good health is also a product, in part, of your sheer proximity to other healthy people.
I have always had the suspicion that people who cheat on their spouses are friends with other cheaters. I don't have any data to back this up, but given what we know about social contagion and our desire to conform to the norm, it would not surprise me at all.

12 comments:

Chao said...

Very interesting theory. It has some reasonable foundations. Perhaps there are/will be studies that can help solidify this!

Water to Tea said...

I don't have a study on this, but anecdotally I can tell you that almost all of my husband's, (an almost, sometimes, mostly in the mind kind of cheater) friends have been unfaithful at one time or another. Several are serial cheaters and I am very bothered by the pattern.

Orion! said...

Wow, I just found your blog. I need to read all of your blogs. I've found two things so far that really hit home to me. Thank you

michelle said...

interesting........... when i discovered that my husband was cheating i was like everyone else devastated. I, again, like most women began to dig - i wanted to know all of the truth. i broke into his email. additionally i checked into his cell phone usage. when he would see her he would always call her when on the way home to me, he was however, also phoning his best friend right after he phoned her. i then, one evening, overheard him talking to this same friend. "yeh man, i got sloppy and got caught. i ruined a perfect life - the old lady at home and good piece of cheap a** on the side".

I confronted the friend, as i had long considered him a friend of 'ours'. after my telecon he blocked my number from calling his home number. i am sure he was worried i would alert his wife.

what has become of our family values? what happened to the standard that a man was suppose to be the families protector? the devastation that inflicted upon the children, IF, they learn of it - unbelievable, so sad, so very very sad.

Anonymous said...

does a cheater will always be a cheater?

i caught my bf cheating on me numerously with his chatting girls and smses and he kept saying sorry and he promised that it is just lust and meaningless. i know that is a lame reason but i forgave him with conditions that i will dump him if next incident occur. as predicted, he did it again and i lost count of it.lol.

so, based on your knowledge, can a cheater stop this sickness.

Anonymous said...

My husband cheated on me and talkes about it with his best friend that cheated on his wife at the same time my husband was cheating on me. Its a strong theory that with a little effort probably could be proven.

Anonymous said...

Answer to anonymous .. i have one of them as well ! no they never stop . My relationship has been broken promises for 6 years now and Im at the end with it.

Anonymous said...

I read the original posts, and honestly, I began to cheat on my husband after I found he cheated on me. I wanted to find out what was so alluring about sex with someone you don't love, and I learned that sex can be very good at home, and away...

I have been involved with three different men, two of whom have become very involved emotionally. So much for NSA ;-(.

I wish there was a place where I could talk about the art of cheating...

Anonymous said...

Interesting theory. I'd have to agree - I'm a cheater and I have 3 (girl)friends that are also cheating on their husbands. We compare stories after each connection with the ones we are cheating with. If you're interested in my story, I'm documenting it here:
www.diaryofacheatingwhore.wordpress.com.

Syed said...

everyday we are fighting to find the truth, the very rare thing now a days. But we can build a better relation everywhere only with the truth.

Anonymous said...

It's really stupid, that every one is capable to be with one more person and because some people want to humor spreading around; others can't do the same. This bullying is on going. A lot of people who give up on themselves in unhealthy ways try and justify for cheaters and then compromise with those who don't like to cheat. No one should have to be in a marriage if subjects to this. There should be an option to have the same resources as being married if you are in school or an organization that protects you without making it a drag.

If people have temper issues, and want to push boundaries because they are too good or too bad then they should be stopped. If no one is helping you do this, then you should not have to trust anyone. I have been followed by all kinds of people who ask me with their body language: 'Why am I more inclined of being this way', and 'if you don't have the answer I will try and ruin it for you'. No one wants to get that close to someone. And going through someone else stuff will lead to nothing except you being annoying trying to gather defense, and me not being able to stop it and people feeling bad trying to make themselves feel better. Doesn't cheating come from that anyway? If you want to sleep around, at least tell the one you sleep with the truth: "I sleep around'. If you want to break up, then do it stop forcing people after it's been hurtful. And most important, if you find someone who is having a hard time, don't sex with them right away because they might be afraid to say no. Life is deceiving and not everyone likes to live the way the most hurtful people do. Doesn't mean there should be a team of lame people against them either, and doesn't mean I have to do something I don't like for cheaters to feel good about themselves.

Liz Fields said...

Its obvious why men cheat. Some just are lustful and crave a piece of meat. Its not rocket science! Besides, the females shouldnt even be bothered. They dont get bothered by hubs staring at an ass. So why bother if they cheat?
This earths too full. The only explanation i can get is that people are a bunch of cheater-lovers. How else do you explain the exceeding population? Surely some dont mind their hubs having several wives.