5 Reasons Why People Cheat

by Alexandra CraciunAugust 10, 2021

Boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, and wives.

It doesn’t matter the relationship’s level, People can and will cheat. That is a fact. And they’re motivated by all sorts of things.

The reason behind people cheating varies from one person to another and the context, everyone’s personal history, coping mechanisms, and dynamics.

There’s a lot more to cheating than meets the eye.

Many factors predispose people to cheat, like age, the duration of the relationship or marriage, certain personality traits, financial status, or personal history.

However, predisposing factors are different than the causes behind infidelity – that is, the “why” of it all.

So let’s get more in-depth:

Note: Alexandra is a professional Psychotherapist with specialized knowledge in relationships.

– Worried Lovers

5 Possible reasons for infidelity

1. Things may not have been rosy before either

Your relationship may have fallen short in more ways than one even before the affair happened.

Criticism and contempt may have plagued it, and the fights you had with your partner didn’t seem to have any resolution. Not to mention that they kept going on and on.

Other factors are more detrimental to a healthy relationship than cheating, and there’s an almost sure way to know if they’ve reached a limit.

2. To escape uncomfortable, stressful, or dire situations

Sometimes, external factors can trigger adulterous behavior.

These can be unfortunate life circumstances—for example, the death of a family member, financial issues, the birth of a child, a midlife crisis, or other unexpected changes.

For some, it’s a perfectly efficient way to cope with hardships. And the sad part is that the devastating effects that result from it are usually not in plain sight the moment you engage in it, but rather afterward.

And it usually hits hard.

3. To discover something about themselves or find a new self

Not all cheaters are unhappy, miserable spouses. Many people admit to feeling happy in their relationship or marriage or getting along with their spouse.

Sometimes, people cheat because they want to learn something about themselves or discover a different self.

They may want to live other lives in which they can be different people. But, many times, they want to leave their old selves behind, not their partner.

4. Feelings of loneliness or lack of respect in the relationship

Infidelity is sometimes a result of the way we feel about certain things. When our partners make us feel intense negative emotions, we do various things to protect ourselves.

When we feel that we don’t get the respect and admiration we need from our partner, we are more prone to look for it in other people.

After all, it’s a universal need. Often, partners end up in relationships where they both turn away from each other time and time again.

And this is the perfect breeding ground for negative comparisons – Comparing the lack of appreciation you feel from your partner with the presence of it from others.

More often than not, the contrast is stark.

5. Attachment issues

Or, as others like to put it, commitment issues.

Attachment issues usually stem from our childhood experiences, typically from our relationship with our primary caretaker.

If we were raised in a stable, loving environment, the chances are that we have developed a stable attachment style.

And if we continuously foster and build healthy relationships, we can also maintain that attachment style.

Our own unique life story influences how we build and strengthen our relationships, how we self-regulate, and how we deal with life situations.

Recommended: What Is Couples Therapy & Is It Right For You?

What you should do about these worrisome reasons

Naturally, all of these things can make us more prone to cheating or other dysfunctional behaviors.

And this, this could be perhaps one of the most concerning things.

If you or your partner have any kind of life-long trauma that may cause any of the issues mentioned here, then you should seek professional help.

Tackling these kinds of issues in a healthy and productive way should be your priority, and therapy happens to be one of those healthy ways.

With it, you can establish healthier communication with your partner in a controlled environment meaning that discussions won’t devolve into emotionally charged arguments.

Therapy is a proven way to fix and even save relationships that I honestly believe every couple should try at least once.

If you want to learn more about this great tool, you can read about it here.

The most harmful myths about infidelity

The biggest myth about infidelity is that it’s essentially a product of the partner’s shortcomings.

Unsurprisingly, this story was born precisely from the mouths of those that have been the victim of it.

Most of the time, infidelity is about the transgressor than the one being hurt; yet, almost every time, people would prefer to make the story about themselves.

Why is that?

The answer must be that we know so little about the mechanisms behind it.

Getting to the bottom of infidelity by understanding why it happens on a general, as well as a personal level, changes the perspective we have on it and reduces the shame that comes with it.

Understanding why it happens so often in the world and the factors that come into play helps us find better ways to fight it or even prevent it.

Another well-known myth is that once someone has cheated, they will most likely do it again.

While cheating can happen multiple times, and some of us may even personally know some serial cheaters, reducing somebody who cheated to that sole label is limiting and simplistic.

There is repentance after infidelity, couples can recover from an affair (and the numbers show that), and a behavior (hurtful or not) doesn’t completely define a person or who they are at their core.

What matters more than the affair itself is the aftermath. What happens after the wrongdoing is going to dictate the course of the relationship ultimately.

Choosing to work things out in a healthy way is always the best solution.

Final thoughts

The discourse we engage in about infidelity can, unfortunately, paint the wrong picture. Tying infidelity to certain characteristics of the cheater may invite people to overgeneralize.

Not all cheaters are douchebags with narcissistic or antisocial traits. In fact, most of them are not. Anybody can cheat.

Unfortunately, we humans minimize the effect that various factors can have on us and how much they can influence us, often without realizing it.

We live in a world where a lot of topics are still off-limits. As a result, we think many of our experiences are more tragic, unusual, abnormal, or rare.

This thing is the very soil that stigma and prejudices flourish from.

Instead of just scratching the surface of what cheating is, making an effort to talk about the many factors, motivations, and explanations behind it will serve us all.

That’s why realistic representations of it are so valuable, as they can often demystify something so prevalent everywhere in the world.

So let’s do ourselves a favor and try to understand it on a deeper level.

Recommended: What Is Couples Therapy & Is It Right For You?

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