There can be a number of reasons why married people might find it satisfying to cheat on each other or a single spouse might indulge in an extramarital affair. Studies show that over 40% of married couples cheat at some point in time.
Even though this is a high percentage, a majority of people who do cheat agree that infidelity is wrong. So, why do married people cheat if they know it wrong?
There are a variety of reasons and it will not be possible to answer this question in a few words.
Let’s get started:
The Stats in Various Age Groups
The rates of infidelity vary among different age groups. Around 10 to 13 percent of adults under the age of 40 will cheat on their partner. However, the number goes to 20% for couples over the age of 40.
A majority of people who discover their partner’s unfaithfulness will classify the experience as being life shattering and will mostly want the marriage to end.
However, some marriages do survive infidelity depending on what kind of relationship the people involved share with each other.
Why People Cheat: Risk Factors
So why do people cheat? Here are some risk factors:
According to reports, addiction of any kind can increase the risk of infidelity.
Related reading: What To Do When You’re Not Happy In Your Marriage
You’re more likely to cheat if you are addicted to alcohol or other such substances.
This is largely because the line between right and wrong tends to disappear when we are under the influence. Even if you do not want to cheat, you may end up cheating on your partner when you are under the influence.
This is why a lot of people cheat when they are out at a club.
They meet someone beautiful and forget what’s right and wrong. Hence, it is not uncommon for people to wake up the next night regretting their decision.
A Cheating Past
A study conducted in 2017 showed that people who have cheated once are likely to cheat again. However, this does not mean that ‘once a cheat, always a cheater’ holds true for one and all.
Personality and Psychological Issues
People with narcissistic personalities or antisocial personality disorders are more likely to indulge in cheating. Affairs, in this case, are driven by egos and a sense of entitlement.
A history of childhood trauma such as neglect or emotional abuse can be associated with a higher risk of cheating.
Related reading: How To Prevent Infidelity In Your Marriage
A study in 2015 found that people born into a broken family are more likely to cheat. If you see your parents cheat then you will most probably cheat as well.
Believe it or not, sex addiction is a real issue.
If you are addicted to sex then you will most probably go out looking for it, especially if your partner is not able to provide you enough sex for one reason or the other.
Why People Cheat – 7 Some Common Reasons
While risk factors can help you understand the probability, it may not be enough to understand why married people cheat.
Let’s have a look at some of the common reasons why people cheat despite being in a relationship:
1. Lack of Emotional Intimacy
A lack of love and connection between partners can force them to seek emotional intimacy elsewhere.
Some people are not always looking for physical intimacy. They only want a relationship for an emotional reason but it may eventually lead to a physical relationship.
2. Emotional Validation
A key factor in a relationship is being appreciated; married couples might grow apart if they feel that the other person does not acknowledge their existence.
This is why it is important to let your partner know how much you love and trust them.
Your partner must feel wanted, loved, and respected. Otherwise, they may end up looking for validation elsewhere.
3. Falling out of Love
It is surprisingly common for people to fall out of love.
Related reading: Can a Marriage Be Saved After An Affair?
Unfortunately, there is no solution to this problem. Once you fall out of love with someone, it is time to move on.
Also, falling out of love doesn’t mean you’re in love with someone else.
4. A Lack of Physical Relationship
A lack of physical relationship can cause people to cheat.
Sadly, many partners are scared of discussing their sexual fantasies with each other. This can often cause them to look for what they need elsewhere.
It’s interesting to note that both men and women want sex and they want good sex.
5. Personal Reasons
Some people cheat due to personal reasons.
In fact, reasons as simple as a difference of opinion and taste. This usually happens when you are not happy with your partner and want to experience something different.
6. Situational Reasons
Some people cheat due to temporary situations such as pregnancy.
Yes, believe it or not, about 10% of men cheat on their pregnant partners. Other than this, people may also cheat due to a lack of time and support from their partner.
7. Some Cheaters Are Habitual
Some cheaters are habitual. They have no reason to cheat but they’ll do it because they want to and they enjoy it.
How to Cope With the Situation
This will depend on the couple mainly; some couples might come out of an extramarital affair stronger and more resilient while others might not.
There are times when people might not have the energy to carry on; needless to say, no two couples are the same in this scenario.
Related reading: How To Fix Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken
An important step here might be to see the situation from each other’s perspective, for instance how their needs might not have been met or how they were ignored or felt incomplete in times of need.
Decide if you want to continue the relationship or walk away. Such decisions can be very hard and challenging. Plus, breakups can leave people devastated and broken.
In fact, it is not uncommon for people to battle depression after a divorce.
Hence, think about the situation with care. If you’re the one cheating, find out what you truly want to do and then make a call.
Similarly, if you find your partner red handed, then decide if you want to give the relationship another try or call it quits.