Secrets Revealed: Why People Cheat

Why DO people cheat? A loaded question? Well, yes and no.  There’s no doubt about it, people do cheat and the numbers are rising.  Most people would automatically group cheaters into the “asshole” category but there’s always two sides to every story and when you stop to look at what’s behind cheating, you realize that it’s not one person’s fault and you also realize it’s usually not something that happens overnight.  Infidelity is a symptom of much bigger problems in a relationship.

Why People Cheat: The Numbers

The numbers of cheaters is definitely on the rise.  However, it’s hard to get accurate statistics on infidelity because most people will not tell the truth or admit they’ve done it.  Although the majority of people would agree that cheating and adultery is morally wrong, they still do it.  Almost a quarter of committed men and women have cheated on their significant other at least once during their relationship.  Some would even say the numbers are much higher than that, other sources put the numbers at 30-60%.  According to a study out of Indiana University “19 percent of women and 23 percent of men reported cheating, statistics that seem to reflect a closing of the cheating gender gap. Research from the 1990s found that only about 10 percent to 15 percent of women reported being unfaithful“. What does this mean? It means that cheating is becoming more common.

Why People Cheat: Who Cheats

why people cheat Quite frankly, anyone and everyone has the potential to cheat.  In my post Is Monogamy Natural? I stated that “given the right circumstances and situation every single person is capable of infidelity“.  I do believe it’s true.  Some people are more inclined to cheat than others because they are not able to control their primal urges whereas those who resist cheating opportunities are better at self control.  It is said that typically people in their 20′s and 30′s are more likely to cheat, but it’s still quite common with people of all ages.  Some would say that the more attractive a person is the more likely that they will cheat (which is why some people avoid dating attractive people), I’m not sure that’s true, cheating is more about personality and opportunity rather than looks!

Why People Cheat: The Reasons

Essentially, people cheat because they aren’t happy.  People who are completely happy and satisfied in their relationships rarely cheat.  Yes, there are those few who just can’t be faithful in any relationship regardless, but that’s the exception to the rule.  People cheat because there are problems in their relationship.  Plain.  Simple.  The relationship isn’t whole. People who cheat usually say that they aren’t happy with their partner so they look for love, affection and someone to meet their needs outside their relationship. Cheaters cheat not because they are bad people, people cheat because there’s something missing.

As earlier mentioned, there is an increase in the number of cheaters out there.  Why? Because the opportunities are there.  People are working longer hours and spend more time with co-workers than with their partner, the Internet makes it easier to meet and have emotional affairs that often lead to physical affairs, and one reason that I’ve read that makes so much sense to me is that more and more people have multiple sexual partners before committing to someone and when it comes to being committed to one person they can’t, they need the variety they enjoyed before.  I am finding this more common among people who commit in their 30′s or 40′s because they are used to a more free lifestyle.  (It is worth exploring if this is why “swinging” is becoming more popular)

I read an article recently published in Psychology Today called “The Eight Reasons that People Cheat on Their Partners” according to the study the main reasons people said they cheated were: the lack of satisfaction in their sexual relationship, the desire for more sexual encounters, lack of emotional satisfaction in their relationship, wanting to be validated emotionally, falling out of love with their partner,  falling in love with a new partner, they want to seek revenge and out of curiosity.  So, simply put, they have a void that needs to be filled … wait a minute, that didn’t sound right did it? But, well, however you read that it’s true!!

Why People Cheat: The Solution

I have always said that you need to find the right person for you in order to be fully satisfied and happy in your life.  This means being on the same page about your needs, wants and desires … being on the same page about what’s most important to you.  When you have the right relationship then the likelihood that you will cheat will be very low.  The Ask Men website says that “it all comes down to two basic drives: the physical sexual drive and the emotional need. People usually cheat because there is a conflict between their physical and emotional desires. By accepting and understanding these shortcomings — instead of ignoring them — we can hopefully work harder to make sure that our partners are satisfied enough to resist any instinctual sexual urge.”  This makes a lot of sense.  Relationships take work.  See where the gaps are and fill them.  Talk about your problems and what you need from your partner, if they aren’t willing to work on it, then it’s better to walk away than to cheat.

Do you agree? Disagree? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Your Sister in Dating Bliss,

Single Dating Diva

Copyright Single Dating Diva

40 thoughts on “Secrets Revealed: Why People Cheat

  1. Pingback: Ask Single Dating Diva: I Think My Partner Is Cheating | Single Dating Diva

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  4. “I have always said that you need to find the right person for you in order to be fully satisfied and happy in your life. This means being on the same page about your needs, wants and desires … being on the same page about what’s most important to you.”

    I totally was nodding my head in agreement with everything you said until I read your solution. Yes, I do agree that you want to be in a relationship with someone who has the same values, goals etc…as you do.

    But… the reality of it is that in EVERY relationship there will be your high points AND low points. Finding a relationship and expecting that you’ll be HAPPY all the time is unrealistic expectations that sets you up for more heartache.

    Jumping ship just because you’re unhappy in your relationship is a clear indicator that you’re not COMMITTED to making your relationship work. Especially if you’re married and your spouse cheated on you for the first time. Getting a divorce means that neither you or your partner wanted to resolve and get to the ROOT of WHY your marriage wasn’t working in the first place. (Btw, I believe that the foundation of a successful relationship BEGINS WITHIN each person and their perspective of themselves and the world. You can’t change your partner BUT you can change the DYNAMIC of your relationship by looking at how YOU’RE bringing yourself to the relationship.)

    By no means am I condoning cheating, I am just saying that the SOLUTION isn’t to jump ship if you’re in a long term committed relationship and your partner cheated on you for the first time, (I’m not talking about a serial cheater here, because serial cheaters have their own issues and you gotta cut them loose), you have a choice… 1) you can get to the ROOT of why your relationship is struggling badly enough for you or your spouse to cheat. Or 2) You can get divorce, find someone new and eventually continue the same habitual patterns that created the SAME DYNAMIC of your previous marriage.

    Just my thoughts.

    • @Mika: I don’t think you understand the devastation an affair causes. Especially when you have been in a long, committed relationship. To call it “jumping ship” when a betrayed spouse refuses to stay with a cheater is ignorant. You have no idea what you’re asking of someone when you advise them to stay. At that point, the relationship is completely broken. SOME (and I mean very few), recover after an affair. See, people seem to think that because a couple is together 5 years after an affair, they have survived it. Read statistics and you’ll see that it does not usually work out. Meet with that same couple 10 years later, and they are planning a divorce.

      You said you can get remarried and face the same issue. ONLY if your next spouse is a cheater, which usually doesn’t happen. You say that as if it’s the betrayed partner’s fault that they were cheated on or that they have some sort of characteristic that draws them to a cheater. I support both people who stay and people who leave. And I will even go a step further and say that it takes more strength to leave than to stay.

      Contrary to popular belief, there are devoted people out there who NEVER stray no matter how bad a marriage becomes.

  5. A good write-up about a very touchy subject. If cheating is defined as someone in a committed relationship, stepping out of that parameter and secretly engaging another person in a similar relationship reserved exclusively in the first relationship, then this is a simply a matter of self-hate and lack of integrity. It always involves acting dishonestly to avoid being caught.

    Very true anyone can easily cheat. It takes discipline and a ruthless commitment to oneself to stay true first to oneself and then to another. Just my two cents.

  6. I’m kinda tired of the phrase “Cheat” when it is referred to as the opposite of monogamy. We’re in 2012. I’ve been around the block enough to know that if someone is having sex with someone outside of his or her committed relationship, it’s not *always* a secret or considered “cheating.” I’ve known many happy couples who’ve agreed and lived by the premise that monogamy doesn’t work for them… and with very specific guidelines… they were free to play the field within their relationship’s parameters. This doesn’t work for everyone – jealous types, those looking for the traditional, white-picket-fence relationship, those who want to have/raise kids, lying and insecure people… But hell, monogamy obviously doesn’t work for the masses, either. So – how about we come up with another definition for cheating, that doesn’t always assume the expectation is a closed, monogamous relationship? Perhaps let’s assume infidelity has to do with the dishonest sexual betrayal of the relationship… what can we call that? SNOGGING? SCHUMBAGGING?

    • Thanks for the comment, I like this “infidelity has to do with the dishonest sexual betrayal of the relationship” … I’ve always said the definition of a relationship needs to be re-explored because relationships aren’t what they used to be … to me, anything goes as long as all parties are happy and satisfied!

    • No of course it’s not always cheating. If sharing, swinging, roaming, whatever it’s called, is your thing, have at it! But if you are running around behind your partner’s back, doing things you know you shouldn’t, doing things you won’t tell them you’re doing, then it’s CHEATING. No other word. My marriage broke up because he cheated. If he was so unhappy, he should have left me first. Then i might have an ounce of respect for him. But because of the way he did, he is now and forever will be a total dog.

  7. Awesome post. I agree that everyone is capable of cheating and that cheating is the cheaters attempt to fill a hole. However; I don’t think that the emptiness a cheater feels is necessarily due to something their current partner is doing/not doing. Often times the emptiness one feels in a relationship is caused by their own negative discourse and they fault their partner to escape culpability for their actions.

      • Exactly! And to take it a step further; you have to remain an individual and true to yourself while in a relationship. I honestly believe that the “something missing” a person feels in a relationship is because people stop being “me” and disappear into a “we”. They lose touch with themselves and stop taking responsibility for their own happiness. You can’t rely on someone else to make you happy.

  8. Don’t like the relationship? End it. Have an issue with the relationship that makes you think about cheating? Have the common human decency to bring the issue up with your partner. There’s lots of reasons people use to justify their choices, but that’s just a way of outsourcing the responsibility for making those choices to some external source.

    When you cheat, you throw empathy out the window as you obviously don’t care about the feelings/thoughts of your partner. In my mind, the second you throw empathy under the bus (so to speak), the relationship is dead and that’s the end of it.

  9. Cheating is for losers. If you don’t love and respect the person you’re with enough to keep your clothes on around other people, at least do them a favour and break-up so they can find a new partner who really deserves them.

  10. According to the evolutionary psychologists, men and women have different genetic motives for cheating. For men, it’s chiefly sexual variety and the desire to “spread their seed” as widely as possible (so they might not be particularly unhappy in the relationship); for women, it’s 1) backup plan 2) extra resources 3) best of both worlds – get good genes from your affair with a “bad boy”, thus producing stronger offspring, while hanging on to the “nice guy” who, if he doesn’t find out about the affair, will continue to provide for her and her children. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unhappy in the relationship.

    But even though there are explanations, I’d like to add my voice to those who say cheating is never acceptable. If someone isn’t giving you all you want and you feel attracted to someone else, a) discuss things with your partner and see if the problem can be solved; b) leave them; then, and only then, should you c) sleep with someone else. It’s not hard.

    • Thanks Andy! You’re right cheating isn’t acceptable, but it doesn’t negate the fact that it happens and it’s important to understand why it does happen. Reasons are not excuses, just reasons to explore.

  11. I think you know how I feel here Diva. Relationships take work, you will never find the perfect mate, but with enough love and compatibility you can make a great and lasting relationship. And if you’ve made that committment, especially if it’s to make a family, then you turn to each other and openly and honestly try fix things. It’s never acceptable to look elsewhere. If it really can’t be good, then you split. The feelings of love we have, the want to be with someone along with the pain we feel at the thought of our partner with another. The immense pain felt by children also when a partnership falls apart – all very natural and real feelings for a human to have, and much more so and infinitely longer lasting than the apparently uncontrollable urge to have more than one partner it once.

    • Thanks for your comment! :) I agree that relationships take work and it’s essential we find the right person for us and we don’t settle so that we are willing to put that effort in and not look elsewhere for what we need.

  12. Well here’s what I think.

    1. People cheat because they want to. You can provide all of the cliché reasons such as sex drives and emotional roller-coasters but I say you want something else and you go for it.

    2. I agree that anyone is capable of cheating.

    3. As I said in 1, add all the cliché reasons to it, it’s still the same thing. You cheat because you want to.

    4. I don’t think there is a solution though I believe the analogy of physical sex drive and emotional need is the closest thing. The reason I say this is that cheating involves at least 3 people and we all only have control over 1 person which is ourselves even though at times we don’t have full control. The only thing you can do is true to be as compatible with your partner or who you choose to be your partner and keep your nose clean because other than that, you can’t control your partner or however they want to cheat with

  13. You are unbelievable. In a dozen different ways, you keep saying “cheating is wrong, but….” By adding that (or however, or whatever else) to the end of the sentence you make it moot. Then you try to save yourself at the end by saying “I totally agree that if you’re not happy or satisfied fix it or leave. Cheating isn’t the answer.”. Which is it?
    And by the way, the blame ALWAYS lies 100% with the cheater. There is NO reason to cheat.

    • Thank you for your comment :) I respect your opinion and thank you for sharing it. Cheating is never the answer, but it does happen and it’s worth exploring why it does happen and how it can be avoided. Wishing you the best.

    • I have to say I understand your commenting… I plan to comment on my own about something I’d like to point out. But your comment was shocking to me. Just WHO the hell do you think YOU are to “Anonymous” to insult and dissect (albeit a LAME dissection, that has more holes than swiss cheese) an article written here, in someone else’s space? Clearly you’ve not been taught the mores and social graces most understand and respect in the blogosphere. This is not the Huffington Post or some other wide-open public forum, nor is it a place for you to vent or spew your obvious pent-up unpleasantries. Let me guess… you’ve been cheated on? Well join the club, and how about this? Take a look in the mirror, because if I were with someone who waxed so sanctimonious, and behaved so rudely without the balls to fess up to who they are… I’d have run scared from you too. Sorry. But your ugliness is just THAT obvious. Get some help.

  14. I agree. Cheating serves no purpose. If someone is that unhappy, just go. Leave. Let the other person start moving on with their life. It’s not fair to anyone to stay if you are going to cheat.

    Personally, I don’t see how the person who the cheater cheats with, can ever trust the cheater. If it was me, I would always be wondering when they were going to start cheating on me, after all, I would know they had a history of it.

    Also, I don’t understand why people are ok with being the “other person.” I’m sorry, I am not a side dish. I think it’s rather insulting, actually. And in MANY cases, the person who is the “other person” is not who the cheater ends up with, but someone else entirely.

    • Thanks for the comment! :) Yes, I agree, if you’re the “other women” then become the leading lady there is a good chance that the same will happen to you. But, some people end up with the person they cheated with because they are their ideal mate. You just never know.

  15. If you were referring to the cheater and the person they cheated with when you said “when you stop to look at what’s behind cheating, you realize that it’s not one person’s fault…”, then yes, I agree with you completely. If, however, you were implying that the betrayed partner/spouse played a role or somehow aided to the affair-well then that’s where we have a major disagreement. I don’t care if the wife has lost interest in sex, or if the husband is “ignoring” his family because he’s immersed in his work. There is no excuse to cheat. Blame, even if it’s 1%, should never ever go towards the victim. You know why? Because as you stated, the cheater could have left first if they were unhappy. There is never a (good) reason to cheat. Why do people cheat? Simple. People are selfish.

    • Thanks for your comment and the reblog! :) I totally agree people have no excuse to betray their partner, however, we still have to see why someone cheated to begin with. People take their partners for granted and loyalty isn’t what it used to be, so people have to try harder to make things work. It’s easier for some to cheat than to try and make things work. Unfortunately, that’s the reality. I wanted to show both sides of the story, not condone cheating. Thanks again!

    • I agree with you Ms. Raven… and it is so interesting that you reblogged this and read this stuff all the time, but aren’t ever satisfied with the answer. What answer are you looking for? I’m just curious. This subject is very interesting to me, as my boyfriend and I are extremely happy and content, but we know many people who live very diverse lifestyles, and I think the answers are pretty simple… but they are not short… and involve much more than just cheating. My heart goes out to you!

      • @Lisa: Sorry for the late response. I don’t know what answer I’m looking for to be honest…That’s the frustrating part. Because I don’t agree with cheating at all and I never think there is a (good) reason to cheat, I will never be satisfied with anyone’s answer of why they strayed. One person will say they cheated because they were missing something in their current relationship. I blow up in their face like “BS!”. Then, another person will cheat and say out of complete honesty that it was because they just wanted to and they were being selfish. Even then, I’ll want to rip their head off. Maybe it’s because I always wonder “well why didn’t you just leave first.” Again, no one ever gives me a (good) reason as to why they didn’t just leave first. Why stay and cheat?

        I followed one person’s blog who is cheating on his wife. I told him that he should just leave instead of having her find out (which she just did recently), and ruining things even more. His reason for not leaving first? He believed in a strong family structure and didn’t want to break that perfect family appearance…Now he’s moved out of the house and doesn’t know what to do. He says he is so broken now because of what he’s done. Really?

  16. I’ve been there. And lived through it.
    Initially, I thought my ex cheated on ME.
    Now I realise he didn’t do it against me, he cheated on himself FOR himself.
    I wish he had ended it before he cheated, because then it wouldn’t have been cheating!
    Thanks for a good read.

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