Does DNA make you more likely to cheat?

"I just can't help myself, baby!" your straying partner insists. Is there a grain of truth to this (admittedly lame) excuse? Not to condone a cheating heart, but you might want to get his or her DNA checked. A study conducted by the State University of New York in Binghamton found that people with a genetic variation of DRD4, the "feel good" gene called 7R+, were more likely to be unfaithful than those who did not have this mutation, regardless of gender (per WebMD).

"What we found was that individuals with a certain variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to have a history of uncommitted sex, including one-night stands and acts of infidelity," lead researcher Justin Garcia said in a statement. "The motivation seems to stem from a system of pleasure and reward, which is where the release of dopamine comes in. In cases of uncommitted sex, the risks are high, the rewards substantial, and the motivation variable — all elements that ensure a dopamine 'rush.'"

Children of cheaters are also more likely to be unfaithful

The age-old nature vs. nurture debate is alive and well when it comes to infidelity — because not only has cheating been linked to this genetic variation of DRD4, but studies also show that children of unfaithful parents are more likely to make history repeat itself. "As a child, you see how your caregivers deal with their anxiety, depression, and unhappiness," licensed clinical psychotherapist Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish told Insider. "If... your father cheated on your mother, you see that behavior, you see your parents' moods, and you learn without knowing that you are learning about ways to manage feelings." 

It could be that both genes and behavior stacked the deck against your spouse's loyalty. In this way, it's not unlike the vicious cycle of alcoholism. Of course, whether it's genes or bad role modeling that have inspired your partner's adulterous behavior, you don't have to tolerate it — or forgive it. If they truly "can't help themselves" from straying, surely, they can help themselves straight for the door!