Does Plastic Surgery Increase the Likelihood of Infidelity?

I would like to share with you an email I received from one of my readers:

I hope it is okay to send this question to you, as I have benefited greatly from your website and information over the past 15 months, and I wanted to see if you had ever considered this issue. If it is something you have not looked at, maybe it would be worthy of your consideration.

A friend and I have come to the belief that cosmetic surgery (especially with women) increases the likelihood of infidelity. Our first thoughts were anecdotal, from personal experience and the experiences of women in our circle of friends, but we came to believe that it is not a coincidence. Our initial thoughts centered on women with breast implants, but quickly grew to include those with liposuction, gastric bypass and other forms of surgery. I’m curious of your thoughts.

Our first premise is that all people can be placed on a bell curve designating their propensity/likelihood for infidelity, with one end being “no chance ever” and the other end being “gonna do it no matter what.” Most all fall somewhere in between, and are affected by their situations, environment, interactions, etc…

Second, we know that cosmetic surgery is exactly that — cosmetic. By definition, it will enhance a person’s appearance with regard to society’s standards and what is generally accepted as attractive, or the norm. With this, comes an increased level of confidence and self-esteem, two things that are also associated with attractiveness.

So, with an increased level of physical attractiveness, and increased confidence and self esteem, we think it is a given that a person will receive additional attention from potential affair partners. Whether that attention is in the form of social conversations, romantic overtures, or whatever, every bit of increased attention and opportunity will move a person closer to the “gonna do it” end of the curve. Whether or not physical appearance is the final factor in determining how far a relationship will go, it is certainly an initial factor, affecting most people’s interest in an introduction or a starting point for interaction. With more starting points, with more first steps, there will be more second steps, and more third, and so on and so on. Therefore, when taken as a whole, we think that persons with cosmetic surgery have a greater likelihood for infidelity than for those without surgery.

I’ve scoured the internet, looking for a scientific study that addresses this, and found very little. I’m attaching the one study I found, which does not specifically address infidelity, but does have statistics with regard to significant increases in the number of sexual partners and in alcohol use among women with breast implants. Maybe this is old news to you, but it is something that I have not seen discussed, and I wanted to ask your opinion.

Thank you for your time, and I hope that you will take a moment (or more) to share your thoughts with me.

If you have an opinion on this controversial topic, please feel free to comment below. I greatly appreciate and value your feedback.

This entry was posted in Dr. Huizenga's Blog Posts, Emotional Distance, Infidelity and Intimacy, Infidelity Marriage, Infidelity Reasons, Learn How to Confront the Other Person, Real Life Infidelity Stories, Relationship Communication, Relationships: Sex and Intimacy, Types of Affairs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Does Plastic Surgery Increase the Likelihood of Infidelity?

  1. Joe says:

    This makes so much sense — amazing how closely I can apply it to my situation.

  2. Kathleen says:

    I believe this is more true with men. Working for 20 years in the “look good” business every day,I seldom encounter a woman who is engaging in extramarital affairs after I make them look better. Women do it for self esteem and usually making themselves look better for their partner or potential partner but not looking for the affair. Personally,i do amny things to keep myself looking great at 5. I would never have an affair although I am approached frequently. Yes, I agree you may be approached more if you look good but it all lies in your moral and ethical values…not the fact that you have had plastic surgery.

  3. anthony says:

    My wife is currently having an emotional affair which began in Mar 2010,had boob job done in June.Now is ready to take affair further with renewed confidence and self esteem

  4. Jacquelyn says:

    My husband had an affair three years ago. One of the major indicators that it was going to happen was the drastic change in his appearance. He lost 40 lbs, started to dress nice and showered/shaved more often. I have seen many married women leave their husbands shortly after having breasts implants done. I do see the correlation of looking better leads to an affair, but I think most women “fix” their appearance initially for their spouses. I think that when their spouse is no more excited by the new appearance than they were by the old appearance, the woman still feels flawed. Then she begins to recieve attention from others and finally feels good enough for someone. This might be what leads to affairs after cosmetic surgery. . . the feeling of adequacy.

    I have often contemplated breast augmentation myself. I have not gone through with the procedure, because my husband has the fear that I will envitably have an affair and leave him. He believes that I will get so much attention that I will get sucked into an affair. His fears are irrational to me. I already get more attention than I want from outsiders, it is his attention that I am lacking. I wonder though. . . if I were to get implants and still feel inadequate around him would I finally leave for someone who appreciates and notices me? Maybe his fears are not so irrational after all. . .

  5. Dani says:

    Just wanted to leave my thoughts on this issue….it’s not about the boob job, Botox or the lipo, it’s about the increase in self-esteem and the NEED FOR ATTENTION! If the person is not built up or made to feel beautiful by their spouse, they’re going to start looking somewhere else. We all have that need to be wanted, desired, beautiful etc. That’s the part that makes so much sense. Not that I agree with it or thnk that it’s ok.

  6. Anne says:

    In my case, my husband’s affair started after I’d lost a great deal of weight and was feeling really good about myself. I’m guessing that triggered his own self-esteem issues, and instead of talking to me about it, he turned to a friend of his from high school who as it turns out has always been hovering, waiting for her chance.

    He actually was very careful NOT to change his appearance so I wouldn’t be suspicious. He didn’t take extra showers or shave or anything when he was going to see her.

    Luckily the whole pathetic thing came to light a few days after they attempted to consummate it, and after a year of intense pain and very hard work, we’re stronger and closer than ever. We both know we have to pay close attention not only to our appearances and health, but more importantly to each other’s emotional needs.

    • Tom says:

      My wife has lost about 100 lbs both of us have actually lost a lot but it has been very trying on me as I do struggle with why she keeps going for more. I am no longer in her profile pics..for probably a good 6 months she posts lots of attention seeking pics now which is a huge turn off to me. Told me I was jealous so I unfriended her so she couldn’t complain about that at least she does complain about everything anymore though. I read through a bunch of our old notes when we got together and that made me even sadder because our relationship is drastically different now. My opinions mean nothing and she strives for feedback from everyone else. Now she wants breast augmentation to which I said I can’t do it. If she wants it she should get it but it’s not about us anymore it is only about her and she’s hardly the woman I loved anymore it is all going away. So if she wants them I will back that up as soon as she moves out and has a new home first. I pay about 85% of our bills and absolutely can’t get her to help and this is the last straw for me. I just feel used at this point. She’s not even on the house or any monthly bills that have to be paid at all…

  7. Gabrielle says:

    I’m not convinced that getting plastic surgery in itself increases the likelihood of affair any more than weightloss or curing acne would. It seems tenuous to say that feeling better about yourself is a step closer to infidelity–should it then follow that poor self-esteem correlates with faithfullness?

    However, I would believe that someoneone who consciously or not craves a boost might well lean toward the relatively fast (and painful) gratifications of plastic surgery and affairs. These in contrast to the slower, lifelong investment in establishing good communication skills, exercise, and eating habits.

  8. ElleRich says:

    I decided to have a gastric bypass in 2001 because I weighed almost 300 lbs and it was for health reasons. My spouse of 24 years at the time was totaslly supportive of me. I stuck totally to the regimen and lost 90 lbs. in 5 months, exercising every day. I finally got my first job after being a stay at home mother for 20 years. In my experience, I gained lots of attention, and had increased my self esteem and independence. I went from a size 26 to a size 6-8 in a year and a half. It was like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. That is when the problems started. The more weight I lost, the less my husband desired me sexually. The more independent I became, the more he resented me making some decisions on my own. This led to 2 affairs and he ended up dating a woman who was obese like I used to be, but he learned as time went on, she was not a substitute for me and she was very controlling and out for his money. I finally filed for divorce and asked for alimony. I was making $7.25 an hour as a night auditor at a hotel…he made $72000.00 at the time. My monthly meds cost was $500.00 alone if I lost my insurance. It was a mess and we finally reconciled, but we to this day still lack what I yearn for, a simple lifestyle, a spouse who will communicate with me on my level and not be glued to a TV set, and for him to be able to freely express himself when it comes to intimacy….not just a wham bam 2 minute session before bed. We are still together after 33 years. I love him dearly and he has made much progress this past year. He no longer drinks alcohol which was a huge issue with me and he has lost 40 lbs in the last 7 months. I realize the two affairs I had was a cry for what I was missing in my marriage, but it was a quick fix with 2 painful endings. I take full responsibility for them and finally have realized that maybe it wasn’t a proper choice, but I did learn important lessons from them. I truly just want to be loved for who I am and not for what people want and expect from me. It’s that simple put into words but in reality, standing on your own two feet and your principles are very challenging and many of my own family have turned on me. With my husband, our biggest problem is communication and that is an ongoing daily challenge.

  9. sheila says:

    I think it is more about a comfort level with yourself. People having affairs obviously do not have that, or they wouldn’t be having the affair in the first place. I think there may be some correlation between people having affairs and body image issues; however, sometimes, the focus is more on the significant other, though, than themself. I was under a lot of pressure from my husband to have all sorts of things changed, which I was very hesitant about. Then he went and had an affair, lost 50 lbs, had lipo, and is considering hair replacement. After he left, I realized how much his criticism had affected my self-esteem, and I am glad I didn’t do all of it just for him. At 5’3″, 115#, and 4 kids, I am happy with myself. I know, though, if he hadn’t left, I would have always thought I was unacceptable. The one thing I did have done because he wanted me to did not turn out perfect, despite a Dr. with excellent references. We, as people, just aren’t made to be perfect.

  10. Sheila says:

    My boyfriend had an affair for nine months with his ex-wife. This started one month after our daughter was born. I found out later that he was having thoughts about her and stopping by her house to “chat” for an hours. I was heart broken. I gained 40 lbs. when I was pregnant and was not skinny to begin with. He said he is not attracted to me anymore and does not want a fat girlfriend. This shattered my self-esteem and I know I am a strong person. Somehow, him constantly telling me to my face that he was not attracted to me has damaged me emotionally. I was the one who wanted to get lipo and then have an affair on him. I know now that this would not have fixed anything about our relationship and still have issues with being intimate with him because I feel as if he is doing me a favor.

    • Tom says:

      You need someone who appreciates you and who you are. If I could have my old wife back who wasn’t completely self absorbed about her looks and getting attention I would be the happiest man in the world again. Now she wants plastic surgery on top of it which I guess if she really needs it fine but our marriage is over before it happens at this point. I struggle to say a sentence to her without it being wrong these days and our relationship has become misery for me at best. Her phone and all the litttle messages coming into it are my replacement.

  11. Werner R. Stutz says:

    Some 10-12 weeks before my (now ex-) wife of 19 years embarked with this younger OP on her well planned affair of 9 consecutive days staying in 3 different hotels (yes, she also paid for all the hotel bills herself …), she had liposuction and some other cosmetic, face enhancing surgery. The ironic fact is that I even drove her to the two different clinics for the respective operations and waited there for several hours each time until she was ready to be released and for me to drive her home. In retrospect, it seemed obvious that her surgical procedures were expressly concocted to enhance her appearance so as to seek or to increase the likelihood of infidelity. Likewise, just before her betrayal, she had her wedding ring cut and removed at the jewelry store because she had claimed to me that it had been too tight on her finger for some time…

  12. Just Me says:

    My H had the emotional affair. I did notice that he dyed the gray out of his moustache before he drove hundreds of miles away to apply for another job. I didn’t know at the time he would also be seeing his crack whore. I see now how important it was to him to look younger since he was screwing around with a younger person. She’s not a woman in my book. Anyways, for him to impress someone who is nothing but an alcoholic crack whore with a mouth filled with rotted teeth just disgusts me.

  13. Carla says:

    I think the reverse is true. A person takes more care of themselves when a specific person is on the radar. My husband began working out every day, spending hours exercising, as well as a sudden interest in clothing. The focus on personal appearance was part of the gearing up of the relationship.
    My husband also stopped wearing his wedding ring saying it was dangerous at work–he worked in an office!! but he was right, it was too dangerous there lol

  14. Ellen Mateyu says:

    Here cosmetic surfery is not that popular,but ican relate to some of the comments. My husband started to carry an extra teethbrush, buying expencive cologne something he never did.

  15. May says:

    My husband (62) had gained weight and had some medical problems. After losing a few pounds and looking better physically and his health improved, his intensity grew for admiration which I lovingly gave him. His self esteem was lifted up and hoping he would have some gratitude and appreciation for my help, he looked for more admiration elsewhere and so on came the affair. Yes physical appearance does attract both men and women, but the heart can be deadly and treacherous. Imagine the OP saying he was so “HONEST” and later when confronted she said “what would I do with an old man like that?” He was devasted and had to ask the source (who told me) was that what she really said. It was true.

  16. Joe says:

    I think a lot of women get breast augmentation for completely innocent reasons — lost shape after pregnancy, etc… — simply to feel better about themselves. But the funny thing is that as they start to gain attention from others in new ways that flatter them, their husbands don’t necessarily react the same way. And the reason is that their husbands love them for the right reasons — reasons that havn’t changed one bit. So these women can end up getting new attention from every angle except one — their husband. Because the new attention is attracted by the new body, and the husband is motivated by his love (which hasn’t changed).

    Kind of a bum deal for the husbands, who are then viewed as not noticing or paying attention to the wife in the way that everyone else does. As the wife is flattered by others, her husband suffers by comparison.

  17. p franco says:

    yes when women do get attenion outside of marriage it does excite them i have seen this in my wife and other women, that i can see it in their facial exsprison and the way they talk,with you.that i had never noticed until i noticed it with my wife,how she would act when some one payed her a compliment.

  18. Kathy says:

    Years ago, my husband became the COO and made partner of his company. His working late was a normal thing for our whole marriage. But when he was made a partner, now he would go to different places saying it was work related. He went on a diet and would not eat with our family, bought all new cloths and would not let me buy him any (now for years) and 3 years ago I Had a woman call me and tell me she was his girlfriend.

    That year my eye doctor wanted me to have my eyes done because the lose skin was impairing my vision. And no way did he want me to do it. But it was something that I needed to do. I think he feared that I would start an affair, but I have no need for that kind of attention.

    He is still in and out of affairs, and I am about done with the lies. I look way better than he ever has and that is what baffles me, why would someone want anything to do with him?

  19. Sheila S says:

    My husband started to loose weight and lost about 40#. He then had meetings (at bars) that he said were business meetings He would come home drunkn if he even came home. He then started going to the beach and walking for hours getting excersize and a golden tan. He let his hair grow long and grew his mustach dowm both sides of his mouth. He never went anywhere before, so he didn’t care much about his clothes, but then he suddenly started buying spiffy clothes to wear for his beach walks. After one of his all night business meetings and after he passed out from drinking too much I read a text message that said she has strong feelings for him. My husband and I are both 60. The OP is 48. I look younger than she is, but I can’t compete with someone 12 yrs younger than I am. I won’t even try. In my opinion my husband looks 10 yrs older with new appearance. Someday his new girl will wonder what she is doing with this raggady old man and she will move on giving him a good taste of his own medicine

  20. Dave Smith says:

    This would be difficult to measure. Maybe someone who was prone or even intending to have an affair would be more likely to have surgery. What it boils down to is that people who have surgery are different than those who don’t. This endogenity would have to be addressed somehow in any statistical study of this.

  21. Bewareofsociopaths says:

    My husbands married sociopath mistress pretended to be my best friend for 10 months to get to my husband. 5 months before my husband left married sociopath mistress had an extensive tummy tuck and liposuction … She told me her life was totally going to change after the surgery. That she wanted to have an affair with an old boyfriend from over 20 years ago 🙄👿 …
    In my situation she had the surgery to have an affair with my husband.

  22. Brad says:

    I would agree that it was a huge catalyst in my now ex wife having her affairs.
    She always had low self esteem. She always said if she could do one thing to change herself it would be to have larger boobs. So the thoughtful loving husband I was, I paid for her breat augmentation surgery. Told her that I did not want her to get it done, as I loved her for her and what she had when we met. But, she wanted it done, so I lovingly paid for her surgery.
    Let’s just say that while I was cleaning and changing her bandages for her in the morning, at night she was having her first known affair partner playing with them.
    I can’t state that it was the only reason her affair behaviour started. But I do believe it was a huge boost in her false sense of self esteem built on ego.
    Would I ever do that again? Absolutely not!
    She also has strong Narcistic behaviours, so research has taught me I would have never had a healthy relationship with her. 18 years of my life was a facade. I was the only real person with unconditional love in that relationship.
    She definately liked the extra attention she was getting from her new boobs.

  23. James says:

    I believe there definitely is a correlation , but not absolute . What happens is you take a women of lower cosmetic attractiveness and immediately cast them up to a higher threshold they are not used to. Some get caught up in the new attention/pressure, and make bad decisions because they did not grow up with that degree of attention. I am a board certified ER doc, and have seen some very bad repercussions of that inability to manage that higher level of attention . Good looking women have to be much more carful about what they do , where they go and with who. It may be not politically correct today that, but it is a fact of life

  24. Joe says:

    I agree completely with James, and I think the second big factor is that when someone garners that new attention from new people, they aren’t necessarily getting the extra flattering from their spouse. Spouses aren’t drawn by the new appearance and still see the same person. So … Spouses are seen as not appreciating the changes while all this attention is coming from new people. That’s a bad recipe.

  25. sky says:

    I had some facial rejuvenation done .Look great.Work out every day.Eat .Juice.Happy.
    An oriental tour guide still stole the attention of my mate and ruined our marriage.
    We survived because of distance.
    .He never admitted to sneaking out at night in the hotels to see her.He was
    Ad dick ed to her immediately.
    I could never compete with that.Ever.20 years! No history.A whore looking to get to the USA.
    My senior years are ruined forever.My happy life is altered.
    Plastic surgery doesn’t change anything.I was pretty before he chose to cheat.

  26. Tim says:

    My wife is currently having a major midlife crisis. Part of the crisis is an elevation of narcissistic behaviour. I see it in my wife and other people who I believe are also going through a MLC.
    My wife hasn’t had any cosmetic surgery, but I can certainly see why there seems to be an observable uptick in infidelity with cosmetic surgery – MLCers are narcissistic and the majority of them have affairs.
    The have damaged self-esteem, obviously, but they are looking for external solutions for internal problems.
    Read the psychology behind MLC and you’ll see why.

  27. Tom says:

    I’m not saying everyone that has cosmetic surgery is going through a MLC, but I have read a lot of cases of MLC that involves cosmetic surgery and affairs. MLC may be a factor in those cases.

  28. Dom says:

    Surgery of any cosmetic kind can and will effect a woman. To what degree that of course depends on the woman, but there is no doubt that a drastic change (even more drastic and altering to themselves than other’s view of the change) will have consequences After two years being with my girlfriend, she finally decided to go to Colombia where she was from to have a large growth on her cheap removed, something she was born with and got larger with age. The early parts of our relationship I noticed it and it did bother me, but over time as I fell deeper and deeper in love with the person I was with, for who she was inside, not out, I can honestly say that the growth did not matter to me. One day I got through to her though as I recognized how much it destroyed her self esteem throughout her life, I told her that I don’t care if you look your best, I just want you to want to look your best. She understood what I meant and that was for her to be confident in herself. Well, this was certainly a stronger psychological issue than I even knew because that birth defect turned out to be a part of who she was. She may have had a form of the “ugly duckling syndrome” because of it, but let me tell you something, there wasn’t a sweeter nicer, more amazing person than her on this earth. I paid for the surgery and within two weeks of her getting it removed, she started to see other guys. I was so in love with her and trusted her entirely and knowing the person that she was inside didn’t think that was ever possible, but it turns out she could not handle the change. I don’t know if it came from within her or that she couldn’t resist the new found attention but what a I do remember is her telling me a dream she had shortly before her surgery and the growth “fell off” in the dream. She told me that she felt free, and after she had the surgery, that liberation was something that she couldn’t handle, as she repeatedly saw different guys that I found out about later. She went on a spiritual journey in Chili and then “fell in love” with someone she only knew for a couple days there n she told me she was leaving me but not for someonenelse. I had to find everything out on my own, which I did and learned tremendous lessons, most of which is that the mind is extremely fragile and some people cannot handle major changes and resist from the temptations because of them. Our relationship was perfect both emotionally and physically, but the difference I think was that after her surgery she felt that she needed to make up for lost time and see as many people as she could because she finally felt beautiful. When she came home, I told her she was but I purposefully did not make a huge deal out of the change because it was always a sensitive issue for her. Similar to a comment abover perhaps not making her feel that the change was not a big one for me, maybe that was also a factor maybe, but like the commenter, I loved her before and after, and that birth defect birth mark, mole, whatever you want to call it was a gift for her because she was amazing, but after she turned into a very very different person, one I’d classify as “common”, cold. Everything about her was different tone of voice, what shensaid, attitude, personality, character and soul. It seems women on here are resistant to this premise, but there is no doubt that it can happen and will happen (change not infedelity in every case). Not that I wished it after I fell in love with her, only early in the relationship BUT, be careful what you wish for.

  29. Brad says:

    Unfortunately I made this mistake. My spouse always wished if she could change one thing, it would be to have larger breasts. I was happy with her, but she was not. I saved up the money, surprised her with the gift of if she wanted to do that for herself, she could as the money to perform the procedure was possible. BIG MISTAKE!
    Literally I was cleaning the sutures and stitches in the morning, and her new lover was playing with them at night. Talk about Brash!
    She went on to get dumped by the first affair partner. The affair became knowledge to me. She had issues and wanted to attend counselling to save our marriage around the time of her enhancement. She continuously lied to the counsellor throughout and the whole time was having a second affair. She has since left me and married the second guy. Ironically I’ve learned that he is a con artist, has lied to her about many many things since day one. It’s just a matter of time before she learns of his lies and it will likely end. I’ve moved on and deserve better.
    So I agree. I firmly believe that the “false” self esteem and confidence was the go ahead for her to cheat brought on by the surgery. She also was in a mid-life adjustment that she turned into a crisis. She was unhappy then, she will return to being unhappy and the pattern/cycle she has repeated all her life will continue. Thankfully I won’t be around to be her next victim.

  30. Andrea Widdison says:

    I think we may be putting the cart before the horse. Women who have low self-esteem (and especially, poor body image) often seek out plastic surgery as a way to boost their egos. Their insecurity ALSO makes them more prone to risky behaviors such as excessive alcohol use and sexual promiscuity. But I see this as a correlation, not a cause/effeect relationship. Getting a boob job is often a sign of insecurity. So is having an affair. But one doesn’t necessarily cause the other, although it may be a contributing factor, especially if the spouse compounds the insecurity, either by emotional non-support or by outright abuse such as ridiculing their appearance. If a husband frequently teased his wife about being flat-chested, and she felt resentful of his thoughtless jabs, yes, she might be compelled to get plastic surgery. But her resentment may also make her more likely to respond to flitations from a co-worker. In this case, the affair wasn’t a direct result of the boob job, but both were the result of an insecure wife and a callous, taunting husband. In other words, a correlation. We may not be aware of the toxic dynamic present in a marriage, since it’s often kept hidden. Relationships are complex, and we may not know as much as we think we know about other’s marriages, even those of our closest friends, so it’s easy to jump to the wrong conclusions.

  31. John wayne says:

    My wife left me 9 weeks after
    Mommy make over !!?’
    I took care of her for 3 weeks also
    Still separated for 9 months
    Am I stupid???

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