Reasons Why People Cheat

Updated 03/24/19
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People cheat on their partners for many different reasons. Below is a list that will help explain, to some extent, why some people cheat:

  • They are addicted to sex. Sexual addiction is about people who engage in sexual behaviors that are damaging them and/or their families. These are hypersexual people who aren't satisfied with one sexual partner. They use sex as a coping mechanism for anxiety, depression, and other life problems. It only makes sense that a hypersexual person would be likely to go outside the marriage for sex. 
  • Low self-esteem and the need of attention from other people. Those who need to be stroked emotionally and physically (no pun intended) due to low self-esteem are likely to seek sex outside a committed relationship because they are a bottomless pit of need. No partner can be expected to keep up with the need these people have to be reassured of their worth. 
  • Some cheat for the sake of cheating. It is a game to them and one they figure they might as well play as long as they can get away with it. This person has no concern for the pain their cheating will cause if they are caught. The thrill of cheating trumps the negative consequences of possibly being found out. This person is a plain and simple jerk!
  • Some want to feel that “in love” feeling. Once the marriage becomes comfortable, they go looking for the excitement of new love and lust.
  • They grew up watching their parents cheat and have an ingrained belief that cheating is just something people do. You can also expect this person to have very little respect for people in general. Not only are they cheaters, these people are abusers, inconsiderate in relationships, and downright narcissists. 
  • They cheat because their marriages are in trouble. If they aren’t getting what they want and need from their partner, they find someone to take over her role. Cheating is so much easier than dealing with the problems in their marriage—but that is no excuse!
  • Some people cheat to punish their partners. What better way to hurt someone who has hurt you than to replace them intimately? This is a passive aggressive maneuver, one used by a weak person without the fortitude to confront and solve problems in the relationship. 
  • Believe it or not, some cheat accidentally. They don’t go out looking for an affair, but get caught up in the moment and before they know it they are in over their heads. Or between the sheets, as the case may be.

I’m sure the list of reasons people cheat is as long as my arm. The only way to know why someone has cheated is to get into their mind and that is impossible. Many, more than likely, do not understand their own motives for cheating. Whatever the reason, the consequences of an affair are always negative and the harm it does to a relationship can be irreparable.

If your partner has cheated, the reason "why" is not important. Trying to rationalize and understand "why" won't lessen the pain of his or her affair and will keep you stuck in your own pain and confusion. Know this—whatever their reason for cheating, you are not responsible. Their bad behavior is about them, not about something you did or didn't do to or for them. Your main concern once you find out about the affair is to determine whether or not your relationship can survive the infidelity.

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