Unfortunately, cheating isn’t uncommon. Everyone knows someone who has cheated on their partner for one reason or another. For the most part, it’s very difficult to understand why people do it, but now, we have a little insight. It’s time to put yourselves in the shoes of the people who have cheated on their partners and discover their motivations.
Three researchers, Dylan Selterman, Justin Garcia and Irene Tsapelas, interviewed a set of 495 adults, asking if they’d ever cheated, and if so, why. Their answers were varied, but they did form a sort of pattern. The results of the study are now published in the Journal of Sex Research.
According to the results, over three-quarters of the participants had cheated at one point in their lives. While we think of cheating as a reasonably rare occurrence, it seems that it’s not as uncommon as we may have thought.
In total, 77% of the participants said that their reason for cheating was due to a lack of love in their relationship. A further 70% of people said that the reason they cheated was emotional neglect.
It’s heart-breaking to think that people have to go out looking for validation when a partner is meant to give you everything you need in one place. While this doesn’t excuse cheating, it does make it much easier to understand from someone else’s point of view.
Of course, though, there are plenty of other reasons why people choose to stray to someone else. Often, it’s about sex, and 74% of the participants in this study said they wanted to experience more sexual partners. It’s possible that while their emotional connection to their partner was strong, they wanted to know what it would be like to be with other people in a sexual scenario.
Another reason people in the study opted to cheat was that they’d had too much to drink. 70% of them said they were drunk and unable to control themselves, a scenario that’s unfortunately very common to hear of.
While these were the most common answers, there were plenty of reasons why people felt they needed to look elsewhere. Some did it for the sake of their confidence, hoping to feel validated by a meaningless experience. Some did it to spite their partners. Others craved a physicality missing in their relationship, or due to a lack of interest in their partner.
According to further probing by WomensHealth.com, men were more likely to commit infidelity for sexual variety in their lives. Women’s approaches came from a deeper place. They often opted to cheat if they felt neglected by their partner, even if they didn’t have sexual desires for another person.
While it is easy to relate to some of these scenarios, cheating is never the answer to a problem. If you’re feeling neglected in your relationship, or you feel the need to look somewhere else for sexual contact, it could be best just to end the relationship. That way, you save both you and your partner unnecessary pain.
The thing is you can never come back from cheating on someone. The guilt remains, and you’ll always recall how you hurt someone who is or was once important to you. If the need to cheat arises, have a clean break and then follow your desires as far as you want to take them.
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About the Author: Hayley Anderton is a Creative Writing graduate from Liverpool. She’s a freelance writer and the self-published novelist of the LGBT YA book, Double Bluff. She doesn’t go anywhere without a notepad and has been writing ever since she can remember. Her other interests include baking, talking about politics and feminism, and snuggling up with her cat. She has dreams of traveling the world with her best friends, and of being a well-known author someday.