Cheating in relationships is more common than most people believe it to be. When a person gets cheated on it causes disappointment, anger and resentment. But why do people cheat? What causes infidelity, adultery and unfaithfulness resulting in the violation of another person, who is in an assumed stated agreement regarding emotional or sexual exclusivity with the other? These are the conversations couples need to have so they know what constitutes as cheating because the expectations within the relationship may differ.
Studies have found that men are more likely to engage in acts of cheating if they are unsatisfied sexually, while women are more likely to engage in cheating if they are unsatisfied emotionally. In most situations sexual satisfaction may be more important to men while women are more concerned with compatibility with their partner’s. The reasons people cheat are varied but below are the key reasons we have found:
One reason for infidelity is the feeling that you and your partner have drifted apart. In this case, cheating can feel like a way of finding something new and exciting when your relationship has become predictable and familiar. A sense of disconnection from one’s partner can happen for a variety of reasons the most common reason is lack of communication in the relationship.
Each individual in a relationship has a love language some may communicate verbally by saying nice things, whereas others might prefer to express affection physically by cuddling or kissing. If your love language is different to your partners, that can leave you feeling unloved – and potentially more open to the affections of someone who seems to understand you better.
If there’s a lack of balance in a relationship or marriage one partner can begin to feel a bit like a parent and the other like a child. For example, one partner may feel like they have to be the responsible one, making all the decisions, organising the home, managing the finances and so on, while their partner doesn’t pull their weight. An affair might then be tempting in order to feel appreciated and equal. Equally, the partner in the ‘child’ position may feel criticised and as if nothing they do seems to be enough, meaning an affair might feel like a way of reclaiming some sense of independence and authority.
Fear of commitment
Sometimes, affairs occur at times when you might assume people would be the most secure in their relationship, such as after getting engaged or when someone is pregnant. But worries over commitment can be very destabilising. Sometimes, people can sabotage what they have, consciously or unconsciously, as a way of rejecting feelings of responsibility.
Issues related to self-esteem
Affairs can also arise from personal insecurities. Low self-esteem can cause people to be very dependent on the attention of others and in some cases, the attention of just one person isn’t enough. It may also cause someone to feel insecure in their own relationship, so much so that they might cheat as a way of rejecting rather than being rejected.
Sexually addictive behaviour
Affairs can commonly be linked to problems with sexually addictive behaviours. This is where someone habitually engages in sexual activity as a way of satisfying desires and relieving negative feelings they find hard to control. These desires can be compulsive in the way that a drug or alcohol addiction might be. For some people, this can mean they end up engaging in affairs repeatedly or in multiple relationships.
The truth is, most people don’t know that relationships can bounce back from infidelity and be stronger than ever, not all relationships but there can still be some hope that relationships can overcome cheating. Despite the feeling of betrayal there are steps to rebuilding a new relationship. But there's a catch to making it work:
In order for the relationship to be able to heal, the couple has to be able to process what happened, why it happened and how to avoid it in the future. A well-trained couples therapist can be very helpful here.
The mental effects of a cheating spouse kill faster than catching a partner in the act of cheating.
From the primary effects of having to deal with anxiety and depression, will all affect one’s mental health in diverse forms. When trust has been broken you may become pessimistic about relationships and about life, do not struggle along speak to someone.
If you would like to speak to anyone about infidelity in your relationship or have questions on how to handle a cheating spouse please check the links below:
Affair Recovery Counselling https://www.therelationshipcentre.org.uk/affair-recovery-counselling
Listen to Podcast Ep:16 Cheating in Relationships