Last updated on Jun 11th, 2021 at 11:18 am
Why do people cheat? It’s an age-long question about infidelity that experts have tried to answer…
Many people fall in love with each other, get married, and think they are going to live happily ever after, as though the ring that now sits on their finger is an impenetrable glue that guarantees the success of their relationship.
Married or not, relationships demand emotional, spiritual, and sexual investment, if they’re to grow and mature. And being married does not make you or your partner immune to temptation or resistant to change.
The key to maintaining the magic which first brought you both together lies in accepting that your relationship is organic and, just as feelings and experiences change, so you have to change with them.
So, why do people cheat? Here are four reasons why.
1. They’re not getting what they want from their partner
All of us want to feel loved and wanted by our partners, so when that isn’t forthcoming, it’s easy to feel neglected. So, you feel the need to look elsewhere for affection or whatever else you think is missing from your life.
This can often lead to cheating, which may not have been the initial intention, but we can all be slaves to our emotions.
If something makes us feel good – like a smile from someone attractive or a compliment when you weren’t expecting it – then we tend to chase after that because we like how it makes us feel.
That’s human nature and there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s about where you draw the line. Having boundaries can mean the difference between enjoying a harmless flirtation and turning into a cheater.
This is why it’s so important to be honest with yourself.
Are you not getting what you want from your partner? If so, what needs are not being met?
If you need some attention and are desperate for that attention to come from your partner instead of someone else, then think about how you can get yourselves back on track.
If you feel like something’s missing or you just want to reconnect with your lover on whatever level, talk to them and re-establish the dialogue that got you together in the first place.
Communication is key in marriage and relationships! Your partner is not a mind reader so don’t get upset because they can’t figure out for themselves what’s upsetting you.
Talk to your partner about what’s missing. It could be as simple as your lover asking you how your day went, kissing you on the cheek when they get home, helping out with household chores to texting you throughout the day to feel loved.
Also, ask them to see if there’s any need not getting met on their end. You might be surprised that they feel the same way.
People cheat when the excitement in their relationship or married life starts to fizzle because they are looking to bring back that excitement they felt in the beginning
2. The relationship lacks excitement
Human beings get bored very easily. That’s a fact of life because we are naturally inquisitive and are always hungry for new things to excite and stimulate us.
This is particularly true today, with the wealth of technology open to us – everything’s fast, instant, and now!
Think about it, people want to be entertained constantly, whether it’s through travelling, binge-watching a favourite TV show, seeing the latest special effects blockbuster, attending sports games, or going clubbing – the list is endless.
This is also true when it comes to dating. Gone are the days of long courtships, with couples taking their time to get to know one another through love letters, evening walks, and long engagements.
We don’t wait anymore – not for anything.
People cheat when the excitement in their relationship or married life starts to fizzle because they are looking to bring back that excitement they felt in the beginning. We get ‘comfortable’ and end up neglecting our partners.
So start looking elsewhere. It can begin innocently by going online, hanging out with friends, or flirting with co-workers.
But, instead of looking elsewhere, you should be looking towards your partner for that excitement. It’s up to both of you to keep things exciting.
Yes, it’s always going to come easy at the beginning of a relationship but as time goes on, relationships take work. And if you think it’s worth it, then work at it.
Go on date nights but change it up with something new every week.
Instead of having sex in the same position all the time, try something different whether it’s a new position, sex toy, different room of the house, or taking a sex class together.
Yes, the lust at the beginning may have faded a little but keep the love alive between the two of you by spicing things up both in and out of the bedroom.
Stop feeling bored or trapped and start taking control of your own happiness instead of thinking that happiness lies elsewhere.
A relationship is whatever you want it to be, you just need to find someone who’s on the same page as you
3. They are not honest about themselves
Many people I’ve spoken to have confessed that the reason they’re unfaithful is simply that they just don’t know what they want. They get into a relationship and everything is wonderful for a while, then they start having doubts.
But, instead of ending the relationship or discussing with their partner the issues they have, they just go out and cheat instead, as though a quick fix of lust and excitement is all they need to ‘fill the gap’.
The reality is that they just don’t know themselves well enough to feel confident in the choices they’re making.
People who lack self-esteem or any real insight into who they actually are may cheat their way from relationship to relationship and will only be able to break the cycle when they realise what it is they actually want.
I know this because it happened to me when I was younger. I dated guys but none of my relationships seemed to last. I cheated on many of them because I was still on my own dating journey, trying to figure out what I wanted from a relationship.
Luckily, I came to know myself pretty quickly, and once I realized what I did (and didn’t) want from a partner, it put me in a much better position to choose the people I dated with more care.
I stopped cheating because I no longer needed to and I was able to give my partner a lot more of myself, both physically and emotionally. I was finally confident in who I was.
But there are many people, of all ages, who just don’t know themselves well enough to feel confident in their relationship choices.
No matter how much they love their partners, they’ll always be searching for something more, but unless they know what that ‘more’ actually is, then how will they ever find it?
The important thing is to learn from your dating experiences – both good and bad – in order to stop making the same mistakes over and over again.
This is when you need to take a break from dating and figure out exactly what you want from a relationship and from yourself.
When I was in my mid-20s, I took a break from dating after a bad breakup. Only when I had this time and space to myself, did I realise that I had a habit of repeating unhealthy relationships for the simple reason that I just didn’t know what I wanted.
READ MORE: Finding your way after infidelity
It had never occurred to me to have a relationship with myself first before hooking up with anyone else. So I took a two-year break.
Technically, I still dated guys during this time, but I made it clear that I didn’t want any kind of serious relationship with them. It was important for me to figure myself out, and it was during this time that I realised that monogamy just wasn’t for me.
This is why so many of my relationships failed! I wasn’t cut out for one relationship with one person.
That’s when I started conducting open relationships. They are not for everyone and I’m not suggesting everyone should try them in order to ‘cure’ your own relationship issues.
But, it’s important for you to discover your own dating style because it might not be the standard ‘norm’ that society expects of you. One-size does not fit all when it comes to dating.
A relationship is whatever you want it to be, you just need to find someone who’s on the same page as you.
Being married does not make you or your partner immune to temptation or resistant to change
4. They are cowards
Another reason why people cheat is that they’re too afraid to tell their partner that they want to end the relationship.
For instance, you might not be interested in your lover anymore – some people just fall out of love as quickly as they fall into it – but the idea of telling this to your partner is so terrifying, you just don’t have the courage to do it.
So, you put up with something that’s making you unhappy and you seek excitement and validation elsewhere.
Trust me, I know this first hand because I used to be that coward. When I was tired of a guy, I was so worried about hurting their feelings if I told them, that I just said nothing and went behind their back instead.
Of course, my lovers ended up being hurt twice as much by the discovery that I’d been unfaithful than they would have been if I’d just told them the truth – that I didn’t want to be with them anymore.
But, another reason for this is because they have a secret desire to get caught, because if they get caught, then their lover can do the breaking up, not them, which takes the pressure and guilt away.
Crazy when you think about it – that to feel less guilty about breaking up with a lover, you cheat on them instead.
But that’s exactly what I was like because it was easier if they broke up with me, rather than the other way around. But if I’d been a stronger, more confident person who knew what I wanted and how to ask for it, then I’d never have been in those situations in the first place.
Sure, I regret hurting those guys, but I regret hurting myself more, and it was during my dating break when I decided to break the cycle and resolve to just be honest with every guy I met in the future.
True to my word, I’ve done exactly that and nobody has been hurt, especially not me. My relationships last a lot longer and always run their natural course, with no bad feelings on either side.
Yes, these relationships are open, but they are transparent and honest, with all cards laid upon the table.
If a lover doesn’t like the lifestyle I lead or realises he can’t handle some of the jealousies and insecurities that can come with open relationships, then we part company and there are no hard feelings.
It’s clear that the main reasons why people cheat lies in communication – or lack of it. Not just communication between partners, either, but the internal communication you should be having with yourself.
Not knowing what you want from a relationship or, if you do know, then not knowing how to ask for it, will always lead to insecurity, which can lead to cheating because you’re never happy with what you have.
Your behaviour as an individual reflects how you’re likely to behave in a relationship. If you’re an un-confident, indecisive or selfish person, then that’s all you’ll bring to a partnership, too.
Knowing yourself breeds confidence and it’s that confidence that attracts others.
Nail that and you’ll never feel the need to cheat again.
Sienna Sinclaire is a Los Angeles-based Sex and Dating Coach. She works as a freelance writer for various magazines, writes for her own websites and is a new author of her current book, Naughty Girl’s Guide to Los Angeles and Naughty Girl’s Guide to Las Vegas.