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Results

Approximately 1800 people responded to Relationships Australia’s online survey in January 2018.  Three‑quarters (76%) of survey respondents identified as female, with more females than males responding in every age group (figure 1).  Eighty-nine per cent of survey respondents were aged between 20 to 59 years, and more than half (56%) of respondents comprised women aged between 30 to 49 years (inclusive).

As for previous surveys, the demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our experience of the groups of people that are accessing the Relationships Australia website.

Survey respondents were asked to estimate the proportion of people in committed relationships that have experienced infidelity.  Men and women’s estimates of the prevalence of infidelity were almost evenly spread across the response categories, with women slightly more likely to estimate higher rates of infidelity (figure 2).

 

When asked about the most destructive types of infidelity, survey respondents were most likely to report that all types of infidelity were equally bad (men – 41%; women – 58%).  A substantial minority of men (33%) and women (21%) reported that sexual infidelity was the most destructive type of infidelity (figure 3).

A substantial majority of survey respondents reported that they thought the main cause of infidelity was emotional disconnection (male respondents – 52%; female respondents – 60%).  The second most commonly cited reason by male (23%) and female (16%) survey respondents was feeling unappreciated at home (figure 4).

When asked about the types of people they thought were the most likely to be unfaithful, both men (35%) and women (51%) reported that men were the most likely to be unfaithful.  Male survey respondents reported women or ‘other’ as the next most likely types of people to be unfaithful, while female survey respondents reported people with a family history of infidelity or ‘other’ as the next most likely (figure 5).

A majority of survey respondents considered that infidelity should not always signal the end of the relationship (male respondents – 64%; female respondents – 54%).  However, more than 10 per cent of men and women thought infidelity should always signal the end of the relationship.

Two-thirds of men and women reported that the partner of the unfaithful person was the most affected by infidelity, while a further one-quarter of men and one-fifth of women reported that the couple’s child or children were the most affected by infidelity (figure 6).

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites