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10 reasons why even the happiest people cheat

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10 reasons why even the happiest people cheat


Did you know that infidelity is the leading cause of marital and pre-marital breakups (Fincham & May, 2017)? Not only is it linked to breakups, but it's also associated with depression, domestic violence, and anxiety. Infidelity can crack the very foundation that the relationship sits upon. It can cause you to question your reality and how you view the people around you. It can shake your confidence and self-esteem and cause you to feel the lowest of the lows, whether you are the cheater or the one who has been cheated on. And for the cheater, it can leave you questioning why and how you would do such a thing. How could you hurt the person you deeply care about and leave you riddled with guilt and shame as you question whether you are a monster or not? And for those who cheat but don't get caught. You must live with the heaviness of the lie and betrayal in your heart for your entire relationship. As you look into your partner's eyes, you may never be able to shake the feeling that you are living a lie.

One would think that with all of the drama, pain, and angst that comes along with infidelity, we would all just avoid it, right? Unfortunately, that's not the case. According to research (Fincham & May, 2017), infidelity occurs in approximately 20-25% of marriages, with men and women cheating at similar rates. The statistics show that infidelity is a common thing, more common than we'd like to admit, but why? Why do we, as humans, engage in one of the largest self-sabotaging techniques? Today, we'll be going over 10 reasons why people cheat, even the happy ones. We will look at a study that investigated approximately 500 heterosexual individuals' relationships and experiences with infidelity (Selterman, Garcia, Tsapelas, 2019). According to this study, the reasons why people cheat include the following: 


  1. Falling out of love or lack of emotional connection 

    • One large reason people step out of the relationship is that they aren't feeling the emotional connection. Essentially, they have fallen out of love with their significant other. A whomping 77% of the 500 people tested on infidelity said that falling out of love was a major reason they cheated. 

  2. Boredom and variety 

    • Some people are completely satisfied with being intimate with one person for the rest of their life, and some are not satisfied with it. Unfortunately, some people want the comfort a relationship offers but can't quite eliminate the itch of wanting to play with other people. They might try to stuff the desire down, but they may find themselves bored after a while and in desperate need of variety.74% of the 500 people tested on infidelity stated that boredom and the need for variety were a large reason why they cheated. This was seen more in men than women.  

  3. Feeling unheard, ignored, and neglected.

    • One reason why people cheat on their partners is that they feel unheard, ignored, and neglected. They aren't getting the energy and attention they want out of their relationship. Their tank is empty, and they want to fill it. If they've asked their partner many times to make changes and there aren't any changes being made, they may resort to finding that energy and attention elsewhere. According to research, this reason is more common in women than men. 70% of the participants in the study chose to feel neglected as a reason why they stepped out of the relationship. 

  4. Low self-esteem

    • One reason why people cheat is that they have low self-esteem. They need other people to need them, want them, and validate them. So, if their partner can't fill that self-esteem void for them enough, which, to be frank, nobody can fill that void, but the person who has it, then they will look for others to fill it. This self-esteem void typically stems from unresolved childhood issues. Somewhere in their childhood, they may have learned that they're not good enough, thus leaving them looking for other people to validate their worth. 57% of those who completed a study on infidelity stated that they cheated to boost their self-esteem. 

  5. Vengeance and Anger 

    • One reason why people cheat is out of anger and revenge. Their partner wronged them in the past, and that resentment and pain led them to try to hurt their partner. 43% of those who engaged in the infidelity study stated that they cheated on their partner out of anger. 

  6. Not feeling committed

    • When commitment is shaky, people have been known to cheat. If a partner doesn't feel that strong loyalty to the relationship, or they are questioning the relationship, or whether or not they are together, it can open the door to cheating. Sometimes, the status of the relationship can be unclear and shaky. For example, maybe a breakup happens, but the other partner doesn't believe they were broken up. Or maybe, there wasn't a clear indication that the two were monogamous. Maybe one person believes they are monogamous because they have been spending a lot of time together, and "I love you's" were said. However, what wasn't discussed clearly was relationship expectations and boundaries around whether they are exclusive. 

  7. Sexual desire 

    • One reason people cheat, men more than women, according to the study completed on 500 participants about infidelity, is because of lack of sexual desire. People tend to cheat when their sex life has turned dull, and there's not much fire there anymore. Let's talk about some reasons people cheat that weren't included in the study. 

  8. Poor environment + friendships 

    • One reason why people cheat could be their friendships. For example, if one partner hangs out with a group of others where cheating is common and accepted, their energy is contagious. It will also place that partner in bad environments and situations they wouldn't have had they been around others with different values.   

  9. Sex addiction

    • One reason why people cheat could be due to their sex addiction. People who suffer from sex addiction will violate their morals and values and risk the people they care about in order to achieve their fix. Like an addict who is addicted to drugs, their relationship with that specific substance has a strong grasp on their psyche and their choices. Sex is a mind-altering experience that can alter hormones and get us high. Their compulsion leads them towards cheating even if they love the person they're with. 

  10. Drug + Alcohol influence  

    • One reason why people cheat is that they are under the influence. Alcohol is a mind-altering substance, and it's acceptable in today's society, even encouraged. When drunk or high off of other substances, people can lose their moral compass and do things they regret when they wake up the next day. This isn't an excuse for cheating, and some would question whether their desire to step out of the relationship was there before they were under the influence and whether the alcohol or substance just lowered their inhibition. 

Don't stop now! Check out our next article!

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