• France edition
 
Infidelity in France: 'One in two Frenchmen cheat'
A new study shows a minority of French men are faithful. Photo: Kainr/Flickr

Infidelity in France: 'One in two Frenchmen cheat'

Published: 21 Jan 2014 11:03 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Jan 2014 11:03 GMT+01:00

The latest survey on infidelity in France might make a few expats with French partners a little bit nervous.

The French have long had a reputation, although some say an unfair one, for not being faithful to their partners and a new survey published on Tuesday is only likely to bolster this view.

A majority of French men, 55 percent, and nearly a third of French women admit to cheating on their significant others, an Ifop study has revealed.

The behaviour has been growing since the 1970s, when the percentage of cheaters stood at around 19 percent, according to the study that was carried out for extramarital dating website Gleeden.

"People have more partners these days, women are much more in the working environment so they come into contact with other men, there's technology and social media, meaning people can communicate in private. There's basically much more temptation around now," Ifop researcher François Kraus told The Local.

"The interesting stat for me was that 35 percent of French, more than one in three, say they are prepared to cheat on their partners as long as they were sure they wouldn't find out," he said. 

Is the French reputation for infidelity a myth?

"Another of the key findings of the study showed a difference in perceptions of infidelity among men and women: women are much less accepting of "mistakes" than men," Kraus said.

The survey is timely given it comes a little more than a week after the country was abuzz over President François Hollande's alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet. Claims that Hollande was allegedly cheating on 'First Lady' Valérie Trierweiler drew worldwide attention for France's fading practice of ignoring the private lives of elected officials.

One particularly pertinent stat from the survey that strikes out is that almost half of those who cheat on their partners (46 percent) identify themselves as on the left politically. 

Although upper middle class men aged over 50 were most likely to step out on their partners(66 percent), the study found. But the tendency to cheat isn’t confined to wealthy, older men.

One in two French people, without going all the way, have kissed someone other than their partner. While three out of four French men and two out of three French women have fantasized about being in the arms of another.

But what exactly is cheating?, the study asked. The poll found that two out of three French women didn’t believe a kiss is just a kiss: it’s cheating. Most respondents, 57 percent of both sexes, agreed sexting is infidelity.  

Despite the messy reality, most French people, 68 percent, believe it's possible to remain faithful to one person for life. They remain realistic, however. About 63 percent of French believe they can love someone even if he or she has cheated.

These results line up with a Pew Research Center study from 2013, which found that of the 39 countries surveyed, the French were the most forgiving. About 47 percent of French people reported that infidelity was morally unacceptable.

Americans, on the other hand, came in at number 27 on the list, with 84 percent of people believing that cheating was morally wrong. Other European countries viewed infidelity more harshly. Sixty percent of Germans, 65 percent of Italians and 64 percent of the Spanish were morally offended by affairs.  

The Ifop survey published on Tuesday was carried out over two days with 804 people interviewed. Just in case anyone with a French partner might be interested, the names of those surveyed have not been released.

Don't miss stories about France, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France places Oscar hopes in 'Saint Laurent'
Gaspard Ulliel stars in "Saint Laurent" which France is putting forth for Oscar consideration. Photo: Loic Venance/AFP

France places Oscar hopes in 'Saint Laurent'

France has put forth a film that traces the dark side of the life led by fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent for the 2015 Oscars. READ  

Gallery
A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
La Santé was open this weekend for guided tours. Photo: Joshua Melvin/The Local

A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison

The only prison in Paris, the notorious and historic La Santé was open this weekend for guided tours as it sits empty ahead of massive renovations. Here’s a look inside at a place that’s both fascinating and terrifying. READ  

Air France pilots reject offer to end strike
Air France announced on Sunday that only 41 percent of flights would be operational on Monday. Photo: AFP

Air France pilots reject offer to end strike

Air France entered its second week of a crippling pilots’ strike on Monday with no end in sight after the main union rejected what management described as its 'last offer.' Over half of the airline's flights remained grounded. READ  

Frenchman unhurt in 100 km/h suicide leap
Speeding car photo: Shutterstock

Frenchman unhurt in 100 km/h suicide leap

A suicidal man who jumped out of his moving car at 100km/h in the middle of a motorway in south-east France has miraculously survived with minor injuries, French media reported on Monday. READ  

France to try to convince Germany to spend again
France and Germany are meeting on Monday to talk about spending. Photo: AFP

France to try to convince Germany to spend again

The French prime minister is to meet on Monday with Germany's chancellor in a bid to advocate for an easing up of budget-cutting policies in favour of pro-growth actions and stimulus spending in the eurozone. READ  

Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
Isis fighters have put out a call for the kiling of 'dirty, spiteful' French. Photo: Weyleyat Salahuddin/AFP

Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French

Isis Islamic extremists on Monday called on Muslims to target the French and citizens of other countries that have joined the US-led coalition to fight the jihadist organization, branding the French “dirty” and “spiteful”. However France's interior minister insists that the country is "not afraid." READ  

The Local List
Ten French customs that confuse Anglos
What may seem like normal behaviour in your home country doesn't always apply to French culture. Teacher photo: Shutterstock

Ten French customs that confuse Anglos

What may seem like normal behaviour in your home country doesn't always apply to French culture. Whether you’re at the supermarket checkout or the raising your glass at a dinner party, here are ten common customs to watch out for in France. READ  

Napoleon marriage document draws €437K
Josephine and Napoleon's marriage document went for a whopping sum at auction.

Napoleon marriage document draws €437K

Napoleon and Josephine’s marriage licence fetched a whopping €437,500 at auction on Sunday, one more remarkable happening in one of the world’s greatest love stories. READ  

Sarkozy comeback: 'I don't have a choice'
A TV grab shows former French president Nicolas Sarkozy speaking during France 2 broadcast news in Paris. Photo: France 2/AFP

Sarkozy comeback: 'I don't have a choice'

Nicolas Sarkozy painted a dire portrait of the crisis in France on Sunday as the ex-president capped a high-profile political comeback that has kicked off a battle for supremacy over the country's struggling opposition. READ  

PM slams farmers for torching tax office
An officer of technical and forensic police takes pictures of the partially burned tax center, on September 20, 2014 in Morlaix, western of France. AFP Photo/Fred Tanneau

PM slams farmers for torching tax office

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Saturday vowed to prosecute farmers in Brittany who torched tax and insurance buildings and dumped vegetables in the streets in protest at falling living standards. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
National
Top French chefs want banned bird on menu
National
VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
National
'WW2 bomb' kills camper on French island
Does France have a racism problem?
National
National
'Enough gloom, France is an amazing country'
Gallery
The top ten tourist traps to avoid in France
Politics
The juiciest bits from Trierweiler's tell-all book
Politics
Trierweiler tells all: 'Hollande wanted me back, at any price'
Education
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
Politics
Manuel Valls has plenty in common with Tony Blair, but not background
International
Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se