Why Do People Cheat on their Partners?

By Rachael Pace

If you are married, the thought of infidelity has probably crossed your mind at one point or another.

It may be that you’ve fantasized about the guy at the gym or your flirty secretary. Or your thoughts may consist of mutual horror between you and your spouse. Both widening your eyes at the mention of physical or emotional cheating and thinking, “I hope that never happens to us!”

No matter which one your marriage is faced with, physical and emotional cheating can be devastating to a marriage. Once that precious bond of trust has been broken it can be nearly impossible to get it back.

Do men and women have different reasons for cheating? Do couples only cheat if something is missing in their relationship or is opportunity all it takes to tear down a once happy marriage? Here are 10 common reasons why people cheat.

  1. Boredom

One common reason why people resort to physical or emotional cheating is due to relationship boredom. It could be that the exciting, oxytocin-filled rush of being newlyweds has finally died down and now one partner is feeling uninspired romantically.

  1. Dissatisfaction in the Marital Bed

Feeling dissatisfied in the bedroom can be a huge factor in why a partner may cheat on their spouse. This may be due to any of the following reasons:

  • Living in a sexless marriage
  • Spouses do not enjoy the same sexual kinks
  • Sex is vanilla or uninspired
  • One partner never has an orgasm
  • One spouse is not sensitive to the other’s needs in bed
  • There is no passion in the bedroom
  • These reasons are not surprising. Sex is a large way in which couples connect to one another.

Sex that results in orgasm between partners helps relieve stress and triggers the release of oxytocin. This promotes bonding and heightens emotional intimacy in couples.

  1. Feeling Emotionally Unfulfilled

Couples who do not make time for an emotional connection may experience emotional cheating in their marriage.

Emotional cheating means creating an emotional bond with someone other than your marriage partner. You become excited to talk to this new person and confide personal details about your life to them. Essentially, you are in a romantic relationship without the physical intimacy.

  1. Revenge Cheating

Do men and women have different reasons for cheating? The answer is yes and no. For example, if a woman has been hurt by her spouse, she is more likely to cheat on them out of spite or for revenge.

A study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that 43% of participants admitted that they cheated on their spouse out of anger.

This may be because their partner is no longer paying attention to them or because they themselves have been unfaithful.

  1. The Opportunity Presented Itself

Cheating is an inherently selfish action. It is the confirmation that a few moments of pleasure with someone new is more important than a relationship that has been carefully cultivated for years.

Flattery and ego play a large part in being unfaithful. Whether it is emotional cheating or an all-out physical affair, sometimes the biggest reasons why people cheat is because they can.

  1. Not in Love with their Partner Anymore

In a study that analyzed the cheating-behavior of 495 adults, a whopping 77% of respondents said their reason for cheating was that they no longer love their partner.

As a (now horrified) married person, you may be wondering “If they are no longer interested in their spouse, why not just leave?” The answer is that there are a lot of reasons. These include:

  • One spouse cannot afford to live on their own
  • Does not want to be alone
  • They have kids together and would feel guilty leaving
  • Wants to have the comfort of building a life with a spouse and illicit affair on the side

Whatever the reason, many people end up cheating on their spouse because they are no longer in love with them.

This lack of love makes them feel less guilty about having an affair. This is further proven by the 44% of study participants who said they cheated because they didn’t feel particularly committed to their partner any longer.

  1. Cheating Under the Influence

In the same study listed above, 70% of participants said that alcohol played a large role in their choice to cheat.

When consuming alcohol, the levels of GABA are raised. This is a neurotransmitter in the brain that makes you feel more relaxed. Alcohol also boosts the release of dopamine. These results tend to lower a person’s inhibitions and make them do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. Like cheat.

  1. A Desire for Multiple Sexual Partners

Arrogance and the need for validation can also lead someone to cheat. The study, mentioned above, cited men as more likely to list physical reasons for cheating. This may include curiosity about physical or emotional affairs, or the pure enjoyment with the idea of having multiple sexual partners.

  1. Situational Cheating

Sometimes it isn’t a desire to cheat that leads to infidelity, but a loss of sense of self. It could be that one spouse has developed a serious illness, has recently become an addict, or lost a loved one in death that has caused them to stray.

One interesting study on age found that those who are ages that end in a 9 were more likely to seek an affair. Basically, those approaching a milestone birthday such as 30 or 50 may begin an affair as a result of a mid life crisis.

  1. Falling in Love with Someone New

Cheating or being cheated on doesn’t mean you are in an unhappy relationship – but it’s a sure-fire way to create one! But sometimes a spouse does not mean to cheat. It may be that they have developed a friendship with someone new and, without meaning to, begin emotional cheating.

This emotional connect may then lead to love, which could drive the married spouse to engage in infidelity.

Why do people cheat on their partners? The reason varies. Some may enjoy the thrill of being in a new sexual relationship or got caught up with emotional cheating. Whatever the reason, cheating should not be tolerated in a marriage.

Author Bio: Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.

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