What Personality Types Are Most Likely To Cheat?

by Alexandra CraciunJuly 20, 2021

“Which personality type is most likely to cheat” has always been a popular topic for discussion.

If you’ve experienced cheating or are terrified of having to live through it, you are probably looking for ways to avoid it at all costs; that way, you can protect yourself from the hurt. 

I’m not blaming you. However, infidelity affects everyone, and its psychological effects are destructive: low self-esteem, self-blame, and poor mental health.

Knowing what people are most prone to cheating might also help you deal with this fear.

It seems that there is a correlation between certain personality traits and infidelity. For some people, it may be harder to control the urge to cheat than for others.

However, this shouldn’t make you miss out on having a relationship with a person you genuinely like just because you might suspect one of their traits might make them engage in this behavior. 

There are many causes and predisposing factors that have a stronger connection to infidelity, so take that into consideration.

 Some people believe that cheating doesn’t happen that much, and others believe that all people are potential cheaters or even that they’re not meant to be monogamous. 

Either way, anyone can end up being the victim of it.

The anatomy of cheating

 People don’t cheat for just one reason alone. Everyone has a different set of motivations for why they engage in cheating. 

It’s important to look at the big picture and not put all the blame on one person.

It’s easy to assume all weaknesses are your own, but we are all impacted by different environmental influences, life experiences, and coping mechanisms. 

Like with most things in life, we don’t exist in a vacuum.

Sometimes our drives and motivations are dictated by bad behaviors outside of our control that we use to self-soothe and deal with negative emotions.

However, there are some predisposing factors, like high conflict coupled with low conflict resolution, low relationship satisfaction, and, last but not least, personality traits. And these are: 

  • What personality types are most likely to cheat? 
  • Are extroverts more likely to cheat? 
  • What patterns can you notice in the people that cheat? 
  • What do all cheaters have in common? 
  • Do all cheaters have the same universal trait?

Some data shows that there is an association between certain personality traits and the likelihood of cheating. So if you want to know what kind of people end up cheating on their partners, keep reading.

What does a cheater look like?

When you hear the word ‘cheater,’ what do you picture? A sleekly dressed, brooding man, like in Mad Men? 

Or maybe a cigarette-smoking femme fatale down on her luck? 

How about a hard-working man that is just going through a midlife crisis and wants to feel young again?

The answer to this question is more complex. There is no definite way to tell if someone were to cheat. At least not beyond any reason of doubt. 

It’s not always that obvious. Cheating can happen to anyone, even if some personality traits might make some people more prone to it. 

The most beneficial thing for us is to look deeper and search for the reasons behind it. 

What personality types are most likely to cheat?

People with narcissistic personality disorders or narcissistic traits

 Some partners cheat because they feel entitled due to a sexless relationship or seek a higher intimacy level with somebody else. 

For some, it’s like finding the next best thing. 

Feelings of grandiosity make people with these traits find justifications for their behaviors with more ease than others. 

Low empathy or lack of it

 Low empathy is associated with some personality disorders, and it’s a deterrent to forming intimate and caring relationships. 

While we cannot assume that cheaters must necessarily have a low level of empathy, the behavior in the aftermath of cheating is definitely telling.

One thing is for sure; it is fair to say that cheating in itself is not an emphatic way of dealing with anything. 

Avoidant attachment style

Partners with an avoidant attachment style typically fear closeness and commitment and do their best to avoid it. 

An affair reduces this threat, so it only makes sense that they are more predisposed to this kind of behavior. 

A partner with a stable attachment style that doesn’t see the distancing of their avoidant partner as threatening can help them feel more secure in the relationship and less likely to feel the need to retreat or push others away and cheat.

Other personality disorders

Personality disorders can make people more likely to cheat on their partner – these include histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or antisocial personality disorder.

For example, People with BPD may cheat due to their intense feelings of abandonment in a relationship. 

They may irrationally think that cheating will boost their self-esteem, even if it leaves them feeling emptier than before. 

They might tend to see themselves as victims rather than being accountable for their own choices and behaviors.

Psychopaths are more prone to long-term cheating and lying because they lack moral standards and don’t think about how their actions may affect their partners. 

Instead, they only think about how it benefits them. 

Not feeling any guilt, shame or remorse just adds to the mix and makes matters worse. 

Impulsive tendencies and risk-taking 

It only makes sense that seeking novelty and thrills will make somebody more likely to cheat on their partner. 

These tendencies make them act quickly without thinking of the consequences of their actions. 

People that have bipolar disorder can fit in this category. In addition, low impulse control can also be associated with ADHD.

Low scores on Agreeableness and conscientiousness and high scores on Extroversion 

The Big Five is the primary tool used to measure personality traits. 

The primary scales are Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Extroversion, Neuroticism, and Openness. 

But what do these have to do with cheating? 

Conscientious people feel a sense of duty towards others and are dependable; agreeable people like to please others and value their needs. 

These characteristics are, without a doubt, essential to be faithful to your partner. 

In addition, extroverted people are more likely to cheat because they have more choices and are usually more laid-back around the opposite sex.

Some of these factors are related to each other. For example, someone who is very extroverted might have significantly less risk aversion than an introverted individual. 

Some personality disorders (like antisocial personality disorder) are associated with low empathy and impulse control. 

Beyond the surface

Remember, a person with narcissistic tendencies may be a former child whose needs were not met. 

An avoidant partner might fear abandonment and hurt and think that they won’t handle it if it comes their way. 

A partner with low impulse control may not have the necessary skills to find more adaptive ways to deal with difficult situations.

I don’t like to put cheaters in categories and place labels on them. 

Not all cheaters have narcissistic tendencies, and all these traits lay on a spectrum – with some people falling on either end of it. 

Other than personality traits, many other things come into play when talking about infidelity. 

Underneath adulterous behavior, there is anxiety, guilt, and shame.

 There are also factors beyond anyone’s control. Understanding what these factors are can help you make more rational and logical decisions.

Moreso, if you think that your partner is at risk of cheating, you can find ways to help him. 

Understanding the personality traits most likely to cause infidelity can lead to the solution before an affair has a chance to begin.

But preventing this is teamwork. 

Both partners must be open to communication and tend to each other’s needs while also checking up on each other regularly.

Word of advice

If you are suspicious of your partner’s fidelity, don’t jump to conclusions.

There will be plenty of articles and stories telling you that one personality type is more likely to cheat than others. 

Unfortunately, this information might make you stop trusting your partner just because they fit a particular personality type. 

Take every information you stumble upon with a grain of salt. It is important to know that anyone can cheat, regardless of their personality type.

You can do your best to avoid infidelity and the suffering that comes with it, but the fact of the matter is that you can’t be sure about anything, no matter how hard you try. 

You can only deal with a situation once you get there. 

Accepting this uncertainty is an essential part of being in a relationship.

Love is an act of faith – you dive into it regardless of the consequences because the joy it brings far outweighs the disappointments.

It won’t do you or your partner justice to fret about a possible affair and all the factors that come into play before it happens.

Find a caring person that shares the same values as you and foster an intimate and meaningful friendship with them. 

That’s the ultimate buffer for any hardship in life.

Recommended: When To Walk Away After Infidelity

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