Why Do People Cheat? The 10 Most Common Reasons for Infidelity

If you’ve ever been cheated on in a relationship (or have cheated yourself) you’re all too familiar with the devastating effects that follow. While some couples are able to rebuild trust, others find it too difficult to move past such a betrayal.

So, why do people choose to cheat on their partner? While infidelity is never excusable, there are some common reasons why it happens:

1. Feeling Neglected

Unfortunately, some people tend to feel undervalued and underappreciated in their relationship. Maybe their partner has become distant, which causes feelings of loneliness – ultimately leading to infidelity. If you are feeling neglected in your relationship, it’s imperative to bring it to your partner’s attention (which can be tough to talk about, we know!). Being honest about your needs and the attention you desire can prevent allows you to feel more supported in your relationship, which eliminates the temptation of looking outside the relationship.


2. Self-Esteem Issues

A lack of self-esteem causes a severe lack in confidence. If someone has self-esteem issues, they may seek more validation than their relationship is providing, leading them to find it elsewhere. By being open and honest with each other about any insecurities you’re feeling can help build trust and confidence in the relationship, thus lowering the potential for cheating.

3. Different Sexual Desires/Libidos

It’s an all-too-common occurrence for someone to cheat due to sexual frustration. If one partner has a higher sex drive than their partner, it can lead to cheating to fulfill their needs. The solution? Talk about sex! You and your partner need to openly discuss your sex life on a regular basis. Are you both feeling satisfied? Are you open to trying new things? Would you consider opening up your relationship so that both of your sexual desires are met? These are just a few of the questions to bring up frequently to avoid infidelity.

4. Unmet Needs

Having sex on a daily basis doesn’t mean much if bedroom needs aren’t being met. After all, sex is something you need to enjoy! Different desires are normal, and the key to ensuring they’re met is to have an open discussion about them. Talking about what you want might feel uncomfortable, but it’s super important! (And if you’re truly with the right person, they will support whatever it is you need.)

5. Needing Variety

As upsetting as this can be to hear, certain people (no matter how happy they are in a relationship) cheat on their partners out of a need to experience variety. There may not be anything wrong with your relationship – they just need more. In this case, they might not be the right fit for a monogamy – and that’s okay! What’s not okay is cheating because of it. If you’re feeling like you need to explore an open or polyamorous relationship, be honest about it! It’ll save both of you from any hurt feelings.

6. Thrill Seeking

Sometimes people cheat because of deep-seeded thrill seeking behavior. Knowing that something is wrong or taboo is exciting to these people, and can lead them to infidelity even if they are in a happy relationship. You could try different, more exciting things in the bedroom, but even that might not be enough for someone eager to defy normalcy. Partners could consider opening their relationships to add an element of thrill, or openly discuss other ways to add this same sensation to the relationship without infidelity.

7. Lack of Clarity

Have you defined the relationship yet? Are you in a committed, monogamous relationship, or is it more of a casual thing? If you’re unsure of where you stand as a couple, cheating is more likely to occur. This is why it’s so important to be direct with each other! Talk about what you’re looking for in the relationship and what each of your expectations are.

8. Insecurity About the Future

If you’re not on the same page about the status of your relationship, infidelity is more likely to occur. This typically happens in one-sided relationships, when one person is less invested than the other. The less-interested person might cheat, or their partner might if they notice the lack of commitment. Addressing this problem will involve open communication about your relationship – the good and the bad – so that you are on the same page, and believe in a future together.

9. Sexual Desire for Another Person

This is a biggie! There are so many instances of cheating that occur after meeting someone outside of the relationship that you’re attracted to. Maybe you had one too many drinks at the bar with someone new, or you meet them out of the blue at the grocery store – either way, your sexual attraction to someone else can lead to infidelity. Of course, no one is powerless in these types of situations, and they typically point to underlying problems in the relationship. If you’re tempted to act on your attraction to someone else, it’s time to have a conversation with your partner about the future of your relationship.

10. Anger

No reason for cheating is ever justified, and this one is probably the worst. Some partners cheat on their significant others when they’re angry  as a way to “get back” at them. To avoid this scenario, it’s important to bring up anger you have about your partner in a mature, communicative way so that these feelings don’t fester and manifest in infidelity.

We like to think that infidelity only happens in broken, unhappy relationship – but the truth is that infidelity can occur in even the happiest couple. While cheating is never excusable, it’s still important to understand some of the reasons people feel compelled to do so. Addressing these types of issues early on can help prevent infidelity and heartbreak.

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