Reasons for infidelity: Infidelity is a term that refers to any act of breaking the trust and loyalty in a committed relationship, whether it is sexual or emotional. Infidelity can have devastating consequences for both the cheater and the cheated, as well as for their families and friends. It can cause feelings of betrayal, anger, guilt, shame, hurt, and loss. It can also damage the self-esteem, mental health, and physical health of the involved parties. Infidelity can also lead to divorce, separation, or legal issues.
But why do people cheat on their partners? What are the factors that drive them to seek intimacy or connection outside their primary relationship? There is no simple answer to these questions, as infidelity is a complex phenomenon that can have multiple causes and motivations. However, some of the most common reasons for infidelity are:
- Anger: Some people cheat as a way of expressing their resentment or frustration towards their partner. They may feel that their partner has wronged them in some way, such as by cheating themselves, neglecting them, abusing them, or lying to them. They may also feel that their partner does not appreciate them, respect them, or love them enough. Cheating can be seen as a form of revenge or punishment for their partner’s perceived faults or failures¹. Anger-based infidelity is more likely among people who have high levels of attachment anxiety (fear of abandonment) or attachment avoidance (fear of intimacy)².
- Sexual desire: Some people cheat because they have a strong sexual appetite that is not satisfied by their partner. They may crave more variety, frequency, or intensity in their sexual experiences. They may also want to explore different sexual fantasies or preferences that their partner is not willing or able to fulfill. They may also be confused about their sexual orientation or identity and seek validation or experimentation outside their relationship². Sexual desire-based infidelity is more common among men than women², and among people who have high levels of attachment anxiety or low levels of relationship growth beliefs (confidence in overcoming conflict)².
- Lack of love: Some people cheat because they feel emotionally disconnected from their partner. They may have fallen out of love with their partner, or they may have never been in love with them in the first place. They may feel bored, unhappy, or unfulfilled in their relationship. They may also doubt whether they are with the right person or whether they have made the right choice². Lack of love-based infidelity is more likely among people who have high levels of attachment avoidance, high levels of relationship destiny beliefs (belief that relationships are either meant to be or not), or low levels of romantic beliefs (belief that true love lasts forever)².
- Low self-esteem: Some people cheat because they have a poor sense of self-worth. They may suffer from low self-confidence, insecurity, or depression. They may feel unattractive, undesirable, or inadequate in some way. They may also have a history of trauma, abuse, or neglect that has affected their self-image. Cheating can be a way of boosting their ego, seeking validation, or escaping from their negative feelings¹. Low self-esteem-based infidelity is more prevalent among people who have high levels of attachment anxiety².
- Opportunity: Some people cheat because they encounter a situation that makes it easy or tempting to do so. They may meet someone who is attractive, charming, or flattering. They may also be in a context that facilitates cheating, such as traveling, working late, socializing with friends, or using online platforms. They may also be influenced by alcohol, drugs, peer pressure, or cultural norms that support infidelity¹. Opportunity-based infidelity is more frequent among men than women², and among people who have high levels of attachment avoidance².
- Neglect: Some people cheat because they feel ignored, unappreciated, or unsupported by their partner. They may feel that their partner does not pay attention to them, listen to them, compliment them, or help them with their needs. They may also feel that their partner takes them for granted, criticizes them too much, or does not share their interests or values¹. Neglect-based infidelity is more common among people who have high levels of attachment anxiety².
- Relationship problems: Some people cheat because they are unhappy with some aspects of their relationship. They may have unresolved conflicts, poor communication, lack of intimacy, mismatched expectations, incompatible goals, or different values with their partner¹. They may also face external stressors that strain their relationship, such as financial difficulties, work demands,
family issues, health problems, or parenting challenges¹. Relationship problem-based infidelity is more likely among people who have low levels of relationship growth beliefs².
- Addiction: Some people cheat because they have an addiction to sex or romance. They may have a compulsive or impulsive behavior that makes them seek multiple or risky sexual encounters. They may also have an emotional dependency that makes them crave constant attention or affection from others. They may use cheating as a way of coping with their underlying issues, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, or personality disorders¹. Addiction-based infidelity is more prevalent among people who have high levels of attachment anxiety or attachment avoidance².
As you can see, there are many possible reasons for infidelity, and each person’s situation is unique. However, understanding the causes of infidelity can help you prevent it, cope with it, or recover from it. If you are the cheater, you may want to explore the reasons behind your behavior and seek professional help if needed. You may also want to be honest, remorseful, and accountable for your actions and work on repairing the trust and intimacy with your partner if they are willing to give you another chance. If you are the cheated, you may want to express your feelings, seek support, and take care of yourself. You may also want to decide whether you want to stay in the relationship or not, and what conditions or boundaries you need to set if you choose to stay. Infidelity is not an easy topic to deal with, but it is not impossible to overcome either. With the right attitude, resources, and guidance, you can heal from the pain and move on with your life.