8 reasons why people cheat
Infidelity is one of the most distressing things you can experience in a romantic relationship. Here’s why lovers are motivated to be unfaithful.
Here are eight reasons why people cheat on their partners:
- Lack of love
Feeling that your partner is not “The One” for you. No longer feeling passionate love or even falling out of love. Perceiving the relationship to be boring, dull or stagnant. “Lack of love is a powerful motivation — it’s definitely one of the stronger ones,” Selterman noted.
- Sexual desire
Feeling unsatisfied with the sex life you have in your relationship, perhaps because your partner has lost interest or you want to try something new that your partner can’t give you. “We also found people might be motivated to test the waters with regards to their own orientation or identity,” he said.
Feeling that your partner is not paying enough attention to you or not spending enough time with you. Not feeling appreciated.
When you’re in a different setting or not quite yourself — perhaps when you’re on vacation, drunk or under a lot of stress — you may have a momentary urge to sexually explore that would not necessarily be part of your stable, everyday behavior. “Landmark events,” such as an upcoming 40th birthday, may also lead you to cheat. One study showed “9-enders“ — people who are 29, 39, 49 and so on — may seek an affair as they approach a new decade to try to find meaning in their life.
You live by the motto “You only live once,” so you want to try lots of sexual experiences with as many partners as possible.
This is oriented toward people’s definitions of exclusivity, Selterman said. “Some people say they never discussed being exclusive with their partner or ‘I didn’t want to get too close,’ or ‘I don’t envision a future with this person,’” he noted. “They’re in a relationship, but they haven’t specified that the commitment level is high or the exclusivity is there.”
You feel sleeping with others will improve your sense of self-worth, signal your independence or increase your social status and popularity.
You suspect or know your partner has betrayed you, so you want to get even. “The motivation is revenge,” Selterman said.
The study, based on responses from 495 people who had cheated on a partner, found eight basic motivations for infidelity. The participants were young, 20 years old on average, but their reasons for straying are common themes that could apply across other ages, Selterman said.