Men in power like Bill Clinton, Mark Sanford, David Letterman, Tiger Woods, and many others have all engaged in extramarital affairs that caused quite a buzz when their issues of infidelity came out.
According to Terri Orbuch, both men and women cheat in which 32% of married men and 20% of married women admitted to having cheated on their spouses.
However, powerful men were often most notable because of the power and influence they hold. But the question there is: why do these men in power with such pivotal professions and important responsibilities commit adultery? What motivates them to risk it all for a fling?
Power Increases Chances of Infidelity
In the study, "Power Increases Infidelity Among Men and Women," published in Association for Psychological Science, researchers asked 1,561 professionals and found that power plays a significant role. The survey suggests that the more power a man holds, the more likely he will cheat.
Joris Lammers, an assistant professor at Tilburg University, and colleagues also found that power makes people more confident as it attracts more partners regardless of whether they are a man or a woman. This suggests that the traditional mindset of women cheats lesser than men is a result of traditional gender-based differences in power that exist in society.
Moreover, it also points to interesting parts of the brain when a person receives power. Lammers told NPR, "You can see the brain structure associated with positive things, with rewards, is just much more activated than the part that is steered toward preventing the bad things from happening."
Why Do Some Powerful Men Commit Adultery?
Orbuch explains in her article in Psychology Today that the sheer presence of temptation could explain why powerful men cheat. When in power, a person has it all: money and fame. These things easily attract many women, and sometimes these women could be aggressive in their advances.
Moreover, these types of men might also commit adultery due to loneliness. Men like former CIA Director General David Petraeus are often away from their families for days or weeks, which could result in a yearning for female companionship.
On the other hand, some men seek the adrenaline rush. They perform well in an environment under high stress and continually crave enjoyment or challenge that drives them forward. They could feel this by having an affair.
These powerful men are also often surrounded by "yes men" who protect and idolize them. Often, these "yes men" enable their vices to remain inside their influential orbit. Having people who constantly approve of your behavior can swell a person's ego and can make them forget their limits.
Men in power sometimes think they are impervious to getting caught or that they could conceal their affairs because they have resources at their disposal, Orbuch added.
But in general, those people who cheat want change. It might be due to boredom after many years of being together. No matter what their reasons are, the result is usually the same. They have irrevocably broken their reputations and families.