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Uncovering the Truth: 40+ Psychological Facts about Cheating

Uncovering the Truth: 40+ Psychological Facts about Cheating

There are few things that can hurt a person as much as being cheated on by a partner they love. Most people have some pretty strong opinions on this subject.

Many people think that cheating happens because the person doing the cheating is basically just a jerk. But, it really does go much deeper than this.

There are actually many psychological facts about cheating that most people don't take into consideration.

Of course, when someone has been cheated on, this is understandable since they are angry and likely unable to think rationally about it, at least at first.

Unfortunately, infidelity is something that can immediately destroy a relationship.

Once that trust is broken, it can be difficult, if not impossible for someone who has cheated to earn that trust back.

Not only can cheating ruin a relationship, it can make future relationships difficult for someone who has been cheated on.

Often, there is a tendency to not trust anyone after being cheated on, and it can greatly affect future relationships.

If you have been cheated on and you are looking for answers as to why it happened in the first place, you are definitely not alone.

Today we are going to take a look at the psychological facts about cheating.

Hopefully, this will give you some insight as to why it happens and how you can heal yourself and move on.

Let's get started.

Psychological Facts about Cheating

Often, when one has been cheated on, they never really know why they were cheated on.

They tend to go through the remainder of their lives wondering, and they worry that it will happen again with other partners.

If you have ever been cheated on and still don't know why, here are some psychological facts about cheating that may provide you with the answers you need.

1. Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

Psychological facts about cheating

Whether or not someone who has cheated will cheat again is not something that can easily be answered.

The phrase, “once a cheater, always a cheater” is not always accurate.

Yes, there are some people who have it in their nature to cheat.

These people are known as habitual cheaters. They will continue to do so until they decide that it is time to change their ways (many never do).

On the other hand, there is such a thing as a mistake. Some people simply make bad choices and choose to cheat, regretting it later on.

Of course by then, there is nothing that can change what has already happened.

2. Cheating Is The Reason For Over 50% Of All Relationship Breakups

A Health Testing Center 2021 survey on infidelity has shown that over 50 percent of all relationship breakups are the result of infidelity.

In fact, it was found that the breakups were immediate, once the other party learned of the infidelity.

Less than 20 percent of respondents answered that they were still involved in the relationship.

Another 30 percent of the respondents said they tried to make the relationship work, but it didn't last.

3. People Don't Necessarily Need To Be Unhappy To Cheat

Most people think that cheating happens when one person is unhappy in a relationship. This actually isn't always the case.

Many people who are in happy relationships still have a tendency to cheat.

There are many reasons for this, including fear of commitment or having polyamory tendencies.

This is alright, if both parties agree to a polyamorous relationship. But, it may not end well if one person in a relationship is against polyamory.

4. Cheating Is a Symptom Of Low Self-Esteem

Low self esteem and cheating

Often, those who cheat suffer from low self-esteem. Unfortunately, when they cheat, it can also cause the person who has been cheated on to suffer from this same issue.

When a person with low self-esteem cheats, it is usually because they have an innate desire to prove something, at least to themselves.

It could also be that they have met someone who is so perfect that they can't believe this person would want them.

It is overwhelming, and they end up cheating because they feel so flattered.

5. Sometimes It Just Happens

Even the most honest and reliable person can find themselves cheating on their partner. Sometimes, it just happens.

It could be that the person who cheated felt that they were not getting enough attention from their significant other.

Finally, they decided to look elsewhere for that attention.

This doesn't make it right by any means.

But, it doesn't mean that the relationship is automatically over because one person cheated. It's all about communication, and the desire to work on the relationship.

6. Relationships Can Get Back On Track Following Infidelity

It can be difficult to regain trust after being cheated on, but this doesn't mean that the relationship has to end. If both parties still love each other, they have a strong foundation to work with.

In order to fix the relationship, both parties need to be open and honest with one another.

It is going to take a lot of work to get things back on track. But, if they truly love each other, it may be worth the effort.

7. Some Cheaters Fear Conflict

psychological facts about cheating man

Many people are unable to deal with conflict. When conflict arises in a relationship, their defence mechanism is to walk away from the conflict and find a distraction.

Often, that distraction is cheating.

Because they don't know how to work on their relationship problems, they relieve their frustration through cheating and avoidance of the issues.

Unfortunately, this can only lead to more relationship problems in the long run.

It's best to deal with problems head-on before the lead to something that can't be undone.

8. Some Cheaters Fear Intimacy

There are people who want to be in relationships but fear intimacy at the same time.

When things happen too quickly, or there is too much intimacy, one partner may have an avoidant attachment response.

This is particularly common among those who have been in abusive relationships in the past. Past abuse can trigger the flight or fight response in future relationships.

Those who fear getting close to someone else may be tempted to cheat. It isn't because they want out of the relationship. It is because they are intimidated by the intense intimacy.

9. The Cheater May Want To Be Caught

Sometimes, relationships get to the point where one or both parties just are not happy. But, they aren't quite ready to end the relationships for various reasons.

While cheating is non-confrontational, it is actually more hurtful than any confrontation.

It is almost as if the cheater wants to be caught.

They may want to end the relationship but are afraid to do so. As a result, they cheat in hopes of being caught so the other person will end the relationship.

10. They Want To Explore Polyamory

Man and two woman and psychological facts about cheating woman

We touched on polyamory earlier in this article. If someone is interested in polyamory, they may be tempted to cheat on their significant other.

There are different reasons for this. It could be that the person doesn't like to follow rules. Or, they may not like commitment.

Whatever the reason, it is important for both parties to discuss the situation. If both are not on the same page, it may be time to go their separate ways.

11. They May Be Seeking Revenge

If one party in a relationship feels their partner has done them wrong in one way or another, they may use cheating as a way to get even for the perceived wrong.

Those who cheat as a means of revenge tend to feel that they are justified in their actions.

Cheating is a passive-aggressive way to get revenge, and it is a way to avoid confrontation. But, it is actually much more hurtful than any confrontation could ever be.

12. They Are Seeking Outside Support

Often, people cheat because they feel like it is the only safe retreat from relationship problems. They feel hopeless and helpless.

But, they are not ready to leave the relationship for a variety of reasons, including children, money, and lifestyle.

In order to feel happy, one person may cheat.

They may think that this is a way to keep the relationship together because they are now happy so things will be better at home.

13. Boredom May Lead To Cheating

When someone is bored in a relationship, they may choose to cheat rather than talking to their partner about the way they are feeling.

This person is known as a “seeker”, looking for more excitement than what they are getting out of their current relationship.

These thrill-seekers need that adrenaline that they can find through cheating. But, there are much better ways to get an adrenaline rush that are much less hurtful to others.

14. Nearly Half Of All Cheaters Feel Guilty

Studies show that approximately 47% of all cheaters feel guilty after the fact.

They may have had their reasons for cheating, but afterwards, they know they were wrong to do it.

While this isn't going to change the fact that they have cheated, it may help the wounded party feel better knowing their partner feels so guilty.

Unfortunately, guilty feelings may not stop them from cheating again.

15. Cheating Isn't Always about Sex

In many cases, cheating is about sexual gratification.

But, this isn't always the case, and there can be many other reasons for cheating.

For instance, some people may want to experiment with non-monogamous relationships. Others may not feel that they are getting what they need from the relationship.

Unfortunately, cheating isn't going to make things better. In fact, this dishonesty is likely to end many relationships.

16. They May Be Narcissists

We mentioned earlier that some people cheat because they suffer from low self-esteem.

Then, there are those who cheat because they are narcissistic, or have too much self-esteem.

The narcissist has a deep-seeded need for validation and recognition. If their partner is not constantly feeding their ego, they may look elsewhere for satisfaction.

What most people don't realize is that narcissists are this way not because they think they are better than everyone else, but because they don't have a sense of self-worth and don't even realize it.

17. They May Think Cheating Won't Hurt Their Partner

Cheating hurting a partner

Let's face it. Not all relationships are meant to last. Unfortunately, some people remain in relationships far past their expiry date.

When this happens, one or both parties are at a point where they are unhappy or unsatisfied.

Rather than simply walk away, they think that cheating is a safe way to find satisfaction without hurting the other person.

Yes, breakups are painful. But, they are not nearly as painful as being cheated on.

A breakup will eventually be forgiven. Someone who has been cheated on will carry that pain throughout their lives.

18. Cheaters May Rationalize Their Behavior

Often, someone who has cheated will try to rationalize their behavior. They may think it isn't a big deal, or that their partner will be none the wiser about the infidelity.

In some cases, if sex hasn't actually occurred, the cheater doesn't see what they are doing as cheating.

But, even if one is just flirting with the idea of cheating, it is likely that they will end up doing it.

No matter what the reason for cheating is, if someone is doing something they don't want their partner to know about, then deep down inside, they know what they are doing is wrong.

19. Some Cheaters Are Seeking To Change Themselves

There are many who believe that cheaters aren't necessarily looking for another person to be with. They are looking to be someone else entirely.

We are a bit different in each of our relationships. Some people want to explore those differences more deeply.

They may end up cheating in order to learn more about themselves and what they want out of life and relationships.

20. 1 In 5 Relationships End Due To Cheating

Relationship separation due to cheating

Many people say that they would never put up with a cheater. But, just one in five relationships end as a result of cheating.

Someone might think that they could never live with a cheater. But, when it happens to them, they may not be ready to give up on the relationship.

Believe it or not, cheating doesn't have to end a relationship. In fact, about 80% of relationships where there has been infidelity have survived.

21. Soulmates Cheat Too

Many people think that soulmates are meant to be together forever, and that their relationships will be perfect. This is not always the case.

Just because two people are soulmates, it doesn't necessarily mean that their relationship will work out as they hope.

When you come right down to it, being soulmates doesn't guarantee unconditional love.

Anyone in a soulmate relationship with a partner is cheating needs to decide if they want to continue working on the relationship, or walk away, no matter how much it may hurt to do so.

❤️ Related: Can A Soulmate Cheat On You? A Guide To Soulmate Betrayal

22. Cheaters May Be Looking For Control

In many cases, someone who cheats does so because they feel they have no control in their relationship.

In order to gain that control, they may feel that cheating is the best option.

It could also be that they have been cheated on by their partner. So, in order to take back their control, they feel the need to cheat as well.

To them, it is the only way that they can feel as though they have control over at least one part of their life.

23. Some Cheaters Do It To Feel Something

Many people say that they have cheated because they just wanted to feel something. They have become bored in their relationship, and they need that sense of excitement.

In this case, it is usually pure selfishness on the part of the cheater.

Most of the time, these are people who need to have more variety in their lives.

Unfortunately, some people do get bored in their romantic relationships. This is when they start to look outside of the relationship for satisfaction.

24. It's Complicated

Quite often, cheating is a lot more complicated than it may seem from the outside. In many cases, those who cheat do still love their partners.

It may seem unthinkable that someone could love their partner and still cheat on them. But, as we have mentioned throughout this article, there are many reasons why one would cheat.

For some, it may be that the cheater doesn't feel worthy of their partner.

In other cases, they are looking for something new and exciting, but don't want to leave their partners.

25. Sexual Needs Are Not Being Met

One of the biggest reasons why some people cheat is the fact that their sexual needs are not being met. When this happens, they begin to look elsewhere to have those needs taken care of.

In some cases, the person who is cheating is unable to communicate their needs to their partners.

This could be for any number of reasons.

It could be that they don't want to be judged by their partners, especially if they are interested in trying things that are quite kinky. So, they go to someone who will not judge them for their fetishes.

26. Cheating Happens Even When The Sex At Home Is Great

A lot of people think that cheating is all about sex. While this the case in many scenarios, it is not the only reason why people cheat.

Some people want to find more variety in their sex lives, and this often leads to infidelity.

It could be that they have a fear of commitment.

To understand infidelity, one must look at each individual relationship. Different circumstances lead to different conclusions.

27. Men And Women Cheat For Different Reasons

Men and women cheat for different reasons

When it comes to infidelity, men and women often tend to cheat for different reasons. With men, in most cases the reasons are sexual.

Women, on the other hand, often cheat because their emotional needs are not being met by their partners.

If they are feeling lonely, they may turn to another for comfort.

It is often said that when a woman cheats, it is because they are very unhappy in their relationship. Men, on the other hand, can be perfectly happy but still feel the need to cheat.

Obviously, this can also be said about women. But, in the majority of cases, women cheat to fill their emotional needs.

28. It Could Be An Ego Thing

Many people have said they cheated because they wanted to boost their egos.

Perhaps they feel insecure in their relationship or just want to feel a sense of conquest.

Whatever the reason, this ego boost is obviously going to make the person feel better about themselves.

This is particularly true if the person they are cheating with is incredibly sexy or good looking.

Unfortunately, in most cases, those who cheat do feel guilty afterward. So, that ego boost is only a temporary thing.

29. Cheaters May Feel Neglected

We have mentioned about sexual and emotional needs not being met, leading some to cheat. It doesn't have to be sexual or emotional though.

If there is any reason why someone feels neglected, it could result in them looking elsewhere to have all of their needs met.

In some cases, particularly for women, feeling close to an affair partner provides more emotional satisfaction than intimacy in the main relationship.

30. Reasons For Cheating Vary Depending On The Situation

Man holding hand with another woman behind his girlfriends back

There are so many reasons why a person may cheat on their significant other. Maybe they have faced a huge loss in their life.

The person who cheats may have recently faced a huge upheaval in their life.

If they are unable to relieve their stress at home, they may look outside the relationship.

This doesn't make it right, but it may be simply that the cheater is looking for a way to relieve the stress they are dealing with.

More Reasons Why Some People Cheat

Here are a few more psychological facts about cheating.

  1. The couple has too many differences
  2. They want to be caught
  3. They are not in love with their partners
  4. They have self-control issues
  5. They wanted to hurt their partners
  6. Some cheaters end up in serious relationships with their cheating partners
  7. Nearly half of all people who cheat confess to doing so
  8. Men and women have different views on infidelity
  9. Sometimes the lure is too great to ignore
  10. Social media often leads to infidelity
  11. Cheaters often become expert liars

In Closing

There is no simple answer to the question, “why do people cheat in relationships”. The reasons can be both physical and psychological.

When in a relationship, both parties need to take responsibility for their actions and decisions.

They also have to take responsibility for their part in the relationship.

When a couple is able to take this responsibility, talk about their issues, and be there to support each other's needs, chances are cheating will not take place.

Even if someone has cheated in a relationship, it doesn't mean that the relationship is over. It just may take a fair amount of effort to get it back on track.