You’ve noticed an unnerving trend. The lipstick on the collar, the late nights at the office, the unexplained smell of perfume—all rank among the telltale signs your significant other might just be cheating on you. You may inquire, dig a bit deeper, and simply find out plausible explanations for all three. (He’s testing if OxiClean can really get lipstick out of fabric, he’s taking advantage of the little-known double overtime clause in his contract, and he just really likes the smell of Chanel No. 5, because honestly, who doesn’t?)
But while you were looking out for the obvious and cliched signs of infidelity, you may have been overlooking the most scientific evidence possible. As reported by Forbes, one look at your significant other’s face might be all you need to tell if you’re dating a cheater. (Did you know there are two specific days when someone is most likely to cheat? Believe it.)
New research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior combined two separate studies which analyzed sex drive, feelings on infidelity, and facial structure to pull its results.
The first study involved 145 heterosexual adults, 69 males, and 76 females, taking part in two different exercises. Each participant would have a photo taken of their face, from which numbers would be extrapolated to determine their facial width-to-height ratio (FWHR). Then, participants would complete a sex drive questionnaire.
The FWHR of each participant was calculated, according to Forbes, by “dividing the bi-zygomatic width of the face by the height of the upper face (i.e., the distance between the upper lip and brow).” The results showed that men and women with higher FWHRs—square and wider faces, like a pizza box—were more likely to report higher sex drives, as opposed to people with low FWHRs who had skinny and not proportional faces, like a shoe box.
The second study was similar but involved a larger sample size (314 adults, 135 men, 179 women), and an additional set of questions relating to attitudes about infidelity. The research concluded that men with higher FWHR’s had both higher sex drives and a higher likelihood to cheat on their significant other. Women with higher FWHR’s also had noticeably higher sex drives, but not a higher likelihood of cheating. Basically, if you’re looking for someone who is going to stay faithful to you, date Adrian Brody (low FWHR). If you’re more of a fidelity risk-taker, date Chuck Lidell (high FWHR).
Researchers theorize that the correlation between the two seemingly unrelated occurrences stems from the very hormones which may lead to higher FWHR’s. Having a high FWHR generally means that someone has more masculine features (more prominent cheekbones), and more masculine features are frequently caused by higher exposure to androgens, sexual hormones like testosterone. Higher levels of sexual hormones lead to a higher sex drive, and a higher sex drive means that the man is more likely to cheat. So they claim.
Drawbacks to the findings include the limited sample size (459 total adults), the lack of geographic diversity (the study only drew for two regions in Canada), the lack of racial diversity (the first study was 82% Caucasian, the second was 91% Caucasian), and limited age range (all participants were in college).
So no need to put tracing paper to his memory foam pillow quite yet. For the time being, keep an eye out for these signs your partner is falling out of love. Although “cheater’s cheekbones” has the makings of becoming the greatest alliterative idiom since “the bee’s knees,” more research is needed for some further confirmation.