May 04, 2014

On People: Kristine Gail Lobo, A Sociologist, Talks About Cheating

As an expert in social class struggles, the dynamics of families, relationships, individuals and topics as diverse as the sociology of cheating and sexuality; Kristine Gail Lobo, my best friend, academic, sociologist, researcher and regular TV social commentator is a fascinating study. Equal parts erudite scholar and jaunty single career woman, Gail is emblematic of the new Philippine woman who is empowered, career-oriented and engaged in social issues. With a sharp mind and an even sharper tongue, we probe Gail for controversial answers to burning questions on sexuality and relationships!

1. Tell us a weird quirk of yours.
I scratch my anus because it’s itchy. Then I will smell my fingers. Heaveeeeeeeeeen!

2. How did you start as a sociologist?
I graduated from University of the Philippines Los BaƱos with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Sociology. From that moment, I started analyzing social problems through various research about social issues.

My Master’s degree is Family Resources Management (FRM). People advised me to vertically align my undergraduate and postgraduate courses, but I pursued MS in FRM. I can still remember my qualifying essay for why I took FRM. I came from a broken home and I cannot explain to myself why it happened. When I was taking my Master’s Courses, little by little, I realized there are different reasons why a family undergoes stress and why this can lead to crisis.

Currently, I am applying for a PhD in Sociology. I am eyeing an effective re-entry plan for inmates in the Philippines.

You see, being a sociologist is not an easy profession. One must research for the development of lives of the people's lives in society.

3. Tell us something about your work.
I research (Qualitative and Quantitative Research) about social institutions; gender and development; prejudice and discrimination; deviance and social relationships, etc in the society. Our laboratory is the society per se.

If he/she does not research about society, he/she is not a sociologist. How can someone interpret the pattern of behavior if he/she does not know how to do empirical research?

Currently, I am a Senior Researcher. I am a project leader in one of our research projects that leads in the design, execution and management of research involving a team of researchers. I also mentor junior researchers. I also provide technical support and research expertise to the academic community.


4. Tell us about your typical day at work. Who or what inspires you and why?
Basically, I make research proposals. Right now I am working on a project about the historical timeline of disasters in Manila. I will start gathering data from 400 years ago and analyze the transition, sociologically.

That is my typical day at work. Actually, it makes me tired. Sitting on a chair, generating ideas, conceptualizing and analyzing data. Good thing, I have my dogs with me. They make me happy every day.My mom is my inspiration, my life support and my most loved person.

5. What was the best thing that ever happened to you whilst being a sociologist/researcher/teacher?
Being a Sociologist, I can explain what is happening in our society. I can explain why private troubles can lead to social problems. Thus, I am able to be a guest on National Television. TV networks have me as their guest sociologist. I am very happy because my Mom is also happy, as well as the people who are close to me—that is what matters most to me, making them proud.

Being a Researcher, the best thing that ever happened to me was when I got to talk to my fellow researchers who are National Scientists and Academicians. In short, I am expanding my network and getting to know high caliber researchers. Accordingly, I tell them about my research and they tell theirs to me.

Basically, researchers share the same language whether they are from the natural sciences or social sciences. Researchers are brilliant people. And I am proud, I am one of them. (echo slang!)

Being a teacher, I share what I have learned from the University and my experiences. The best thing was when my words of “wisdom” I imparted to them were being posted on Facebook. And then they tagged me as the “best sociology teacher ever”. One of the quotes reads “mag-aral kayo hindi para sa pamilya ninyo, mag-aral kayo para makatulong sa lipunan (society)”.

6. I'm going to be a bit personal, how is your lovelife?
Just like other people, my love life is also complicated. Because of its complexities, I have learned that love can only grow from love. Love cannot grow from mistrust, or anger, or forcing someone to see the good qualities in another.

When you love, you've done your part, and that's all you can do.

7. Have you ever been cheated on or cheated?

8. Why do you think men/women cheat?
Cheating is a behavior that diverges from ethical norms and involves violating rules deceptively in an effort to gain something of value. In other words, men/women cheat because they seek better partners in life.

I have a friend who always tells me that “it’s better if she does not know anything. What she does not know will never hurt her”.

(well, how “gago” diba? But we do this all the time). Cheating is also lying. We feel betrayed when we find out that our partner lied to us.

Furthermore, in a recent review of the adult literature on common reasons for cheating, they included: permissive attitudes towards cheating, dissatisfaction and low levels of perceived commitment in the romantic relationship, and opportunities to cheat (e.g. in the workplace; Blow& Hartnett, 2005).

Researchers have attested that women are just as likely to be unfaithful as men. Contrary to popular belief, cheating or infidelity is not more prevalent in men. There were no differences between men and women in this respect and just as many men and women had a strong correlation with infidelity.

Reasons why I think people cheat:
1. To gain economic power. People cheat because they feel like their partner is not producing enough economic power similar to themselves. From this reason, there exists the benefited and under benefited (Social Exchange Theory). The one that holds power is the person who benefits a lot from the relationship. The one who is discriminated does not benefit a lot from the relationship. Thus, men/women cheat because they think they deserve someone better, with financial stability and impressive mental and social skills.

2. To not commit. People with avoidant attachment styles are individuals uncomfortable with intimacy and are therefore more likely to multiply sexual encounters and cheat. Believe it or not, there are people who are afraid to commit.

“Infidelity could be a regulatory emotional strategy used by people with an avoidant attachment style. The act of cheating helps them avoid commitment phobia, distances them from their partner, and helps them keep their space and freedom”(Beaulieu-Pelletier, 2008).

3. Because of Socialization. Socialization plays an important part in child’s life. Beaulieu-Pelletier (2008) suggests the emotional attachment partners have with others is modeled on the type of parenting received during childhood. We cheat because we also see the behavior in our parents. We tend to lie because our parents also lied to us.

4. To Take Power and Create Personal Happiness. Cheaters get their cake and get to eat it too. Cheaters cheat because they know the relationship is just temporary affair—it always ends.

5. To end the relationship. For no reason at all because they want to end the relationship.

9. What can you say about the popularity of TV shows in the Philippines about infidelity?
What we watch on television is a reflection of our society. Television networks create a story where hidden part of the society is being highlighted publicly. Thus, we can relate to the story because we experience betrayal in our daily lives.

Accordingly, Mint (2004), infidelity refers to an “expected failure” in our society. It is well-scripted by the media and culture at large: people know how to cheat, what happens when you cheat, and how other folks are supposed to react. A person who cheats is not doing anything particularly revolutionary (in an ideological sense), but rather following an over-determined plan fed to them by movies, television, and their acquaintances.

In other words, our culture condemns cheating while providing people with enough information and role models to make the act of cheating conceptually and emotionally easy. Seen this way, cheating is at its base a normal act and the people who do it are normal people, even though they are not behaving as the cultural norms say they should (Journal of Sexuality).

10. A friend told me that if Divorce is legalized in the Philippines, half of Pinays in marriages will divorce their husbands. What do you think about that?
Yes. Women nowadays are empowered. Even I will divorce my husband for reasons that can violate my rights as a woman.

Here is the link if you want to know the reasons for divorcing. It’s a study of Amato and Pevitti (2003) about the PEOPLE’S REASON FOR DIVORCING: Gender, Social Class, the Life Course, and Adjustment.'s%20Reasons%20for%20Divorcing.pdf

11. What message do you have for couples who are cheating and people who have experienced cheating? 
1. For couples who are cheating, cheat as long as you want. Karma knows its way. That will be a glorious day for your victim.

2. For those who have experienced cheating, the best revenge is to live well. Improve your self and channel the love toward yourself.

3. Most importantly, make them feel loved all the time.

11. How to avoid cheating?
Do not ignore the person you love because it will build a wall. Learn new cultures and meet people. Travel and appreciate the simple things you have in life.

12. What message do you have for aspiring sociologists?
For aspiring sociologists, you are the sociologists of the next generation. You will soon have the sociological imagination that can help society. You will soon realize that the world is not black and white. You will soon appreciate that not all things are rational. You will soon understand the history of society is the history of social class struggles.

I want you to engage more on research FOR development not research and development.
A sociologist is a good researcher.

13. How do we contact you?

Questions? Talk to me here: Millie's Ask.FM


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Listening to: Make Up Syndrome by Ling Tosite Sigure
Loving: my bestfriend, Gail
Watching: GOT


  1. wooow ! just wow ! For couples who are cheating, cheat as long as you want. Karma knows its way. That will be a glorious day for your victim.

    karma will surely hit your friend !! (the one in this blog)

  2. Karma already hit your friend.

  3. Those who celebrate the misfortune of others will also face their own Karma. I think Ms Kristine Gail Lobo is one of the strongest woman in the Philippines because she is not ashamed to speak her mind. She is not ashamed if she failed or not. I think the biggest loser here is US, commenting anonymously. BTW! I'm Ms Gail's student. Not putting my name here for now.


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