Why Do People Cheat?
It’s rather obvious for me to start by saying that cheating hurts. Infidelity is widely frowned upon in our society, and yet it is also rampant in our culture. We know that cheating happens – but why do people cheat?
If we hate cheating so much, why do we do it? We’re about to uncover all the answers to the toughest question about cheating, right here in this post!
A myth about why people cheat
“How could you do this to me?” This is question most people ask when they find out their spouse has been cheating. If you’ve been cheated on, you know what I’m talking about.
But the truth is, people do not cheat as revenge, generally speaking. Cheating is something they did to hurt you – at least not intentionally. Instead, it’s something they did for themselves to feel more whole.
Your spouse cheating – it’s not something they did to you. It’s something they did for them.
(I can see your blood boiling – you’re thinking I’m a cheater sympathizer. Just hang in there and keep reading).
I’m not saying that “revenge cheating” never happens. It surely does. But this is not the majority of cases.
I mean, think about it. Revenge cheating doesn’t even make sense in a lot of cases. You married this person who is supposed to love you, support you, and take care of you. And even though you might feel disconnected from your spouse right now, they probably don’t want to intentionally cause you pain and heart ache.
Sometimes, during times of crisis, we don’t act our best. Our bodies are designed that way on purpose, to help us protect ourselves from harm. Unfortunately though, sometimes this means other people suffer the consequences of our panicked behavior.
The next important step though, is to understand the real reason why people cheat.
The real reason why people cheat
After suffering infidelity, many people ask themselves “is my marriage over?“. Good news: it doesn’t have to be. In order to move past the pain and get to the root issue though, you’ve got to understand why people cheat.
And there’s really only one reason: they cheat because they’re starved of a deep emotional need. I’ll explain first with an analogy.
Imagine you are starving for food. You are getting weaker and weaker by the hour. You don’t have any money, and no one to help you. Pretty soon, you’ll be doing just about anything to get your hands on some food, just so you can repeat the same thing again tomorrow.
The same thing happens when people cheat. Food is a basic human need to keep our bodies functioning. But we also have certain emotional needs to be healthy, effective adults.
We assume that those needs will be met in a marriage, but that doesn’t always happen. So when someone goes without love, or affection, or sex for long enough, you’ll probably notice a change in their behavior.
More specifically, they might begin to look outside the marriage to meet these needs of love, affection, and/or sex.
Why do people cheat? Once again, it’s usually not to hurt you. It’s because they feel they have no other choice.
Do men and women cheat for the same reasons?
You might think that men and women have vastly different reasons for cheating. But this is actually not true. Most people cheat to fill a deep emotional need.
But there are a few slight gender differences, based on research, that are worth noting. Take a look below.
Why do men cheat?
Here’s something that you’ll probably think is obvious. According to this research, 87% of men who cheat do so purely because they are seeking sex. They seek new sexual experiences, and affection.
Less commonly sought out are affection and a deep emotional connection.
It is not stated how many of the surveyed men were married. However, these figures are very telling.
Wives: what can we learn from this? Men value sex – possibly more than women – as a physical release of stress, but also as a way to connect with their spouse.
If your husband has cheated on you, take a look at how your sex life has been. Have you put it on the back burner? If so, you may want to look into how to fix a sexless marriage.
I’m not saying that your husband’s infidelity is your fault – not at all. But what I am saying is that it could be a contributing factor.
Sex is important to men for physical and emotional reasons. Women often don’t take that seriously.
Why do women cheat?
Sex is evidently important to women too. 65% of the women surveyed in the research referenced above, cheated because they were seeking sex. That might come as a surprise!
We don’t often think of men as the ones who cause sexless relationships, but it does happen. A lot of times, it is due to hormone imbalances, or depression.
But women cheat for other notable reasons too. 43% of women in this survey said they cheated to get back that butterfly feeling again. That’s almost have of the women who cheat!
Husbands: what can this teach you? Women seek a deep emotional connection. They want someone who understands them completely – someone who they can share their most intimate thoughts and feelings with.
Often times, these things can be achieved with quality time (this may even be her love language), some variety in your activities, and a little romance. It doesn’t have to be a lot of effort.
She wants to feel special. She wants to know that you love her and desire her, even if you haven’t said the words.
Can I save my marriage after infidelity?
Yes! So many people think cheating is the death of a marriage. But, perhaps surprisingly, surviving infidelity can actually bring you closer together and help you improve your marriage. (This was certainly true for us).
It forces you to address deep-seated issues, and to find the root problem. And the only way to get there is through communication. Over time, you will learn how to forgive the one who’s cheated on you.
Although infidelity is deeply hurtful and traumatic, you can heal with the right help. You and your spouse can gain new skills through the process, and strengthen your marriage into the future.