Unfortunately, cheating is quite common in relationships. While there may be reasons why men and women cheat, the results remain the same. Both parties get hurt.
Cheating can be quite simple or it can be complicated. Psychologists have many theories behind the reasons why men and women cheat. It may appear that the cheater is simply an idiot or a horrible person, but psychology suggests that these problems may run deeper than that. The next section dives into the psychology behind the traps.
Psychology behind the traps
Understand cheaters It can be difficult, especially if you are the one who has been misled. Victims often fall into a pattern of blaming themselves, wondering what they did wrong to make the other person cheat. The truth is, you can’t cheat a person. That is a personal choice that they make because of underlying problems they may have.
According to the clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., most people cheat for more than one reason. It is due to a collection of psychological patterns. These patterns usually have nothing to do with the person who is being cheated on.
Dr. Robin Haight, a clinical psychologist, believes that people who cheat seek their partner to make them happy. However, that doesn’t happen, so they end up cheating. It is not that they want to cheat, it is that they are looking for something. “It can get complicated,” says Dr. Haight.
Despite the tricky psychological background of cheaters, there are some superficial reasons why men and women cheat that are easier to understand. The next section covers 15 of these reasons.
Reasons why men and women cheat
1. Lack of communication in the relationship.
It can be incredibly frustrating when there is a lack of communication in a relationship. Without open and honest communication, one or both people in the relationship may feel ignored and unimportant. After dealing with this for a long period, it can lead to cheating.
Cheating due to a lack of communication is one way the cheater expresses himself. Since they feel that they cannot do this with their partner, they find alternative ways to do it. Some people choose drugs or alcohol. Others choose to cheat. Either way, it is devastating for a relationship.
2. They are punishing their partner.
Oddly enough, some people use cheating as a form of punishment for their partner. It could be revenge because your partner cheated, or it could be for some other reason. What is clear is that the cheater is angry with his partner and is showing it.
Sometimes punishing your partner in secret it can be more satisfying than doing it in person. With cheating, the idea of secret infidelity makes the cheater feel better. It’s the feeling of power and control that the cheater likes, not necessarily the infidelity itself.
3. They feel that their partner does not appreciate them.
Nobody forces anyone to cheat. That is all a personal decision. However, decisions can be influenced by the way a person feels they are being treated.
Notice that the sentence says “feels like”. A person may not be abused, but they just feel like they are for whatever reason. It can be a lack of communication, a lack of passion, or even mental instability.
The point is, they feel undervalued and probably feel invisible in the relationship. This can lead to infidelity because they simply want to feel wanted or needed.
4. They want to break up, but they don’t know how.
One of the main reasons men and women cheat is that they don’t want to be in their current relationship, but they have no idea how to tell their partner. They don’t want to hurt their partner and they don’t want to be the bad guys. They may not want to appear like a failure to others.
Not being honest about feelings can easily turn a person into a cheater. In this case, they may not even try to hide the traps very well. They want to get caught so they can get out of the relationship. Sometimes this is easier than words.
5. Passion disappears from the relationship.
One of the main reasons men and women cheat is that passion disappears from the relationship. It’s not that they don’t care about their partner. They can love their partner with everything they have. However, the relationship has become stagnant or boring and they don’t know how to fix it.
It is extremely difficult to maintain a long-term relationship without passion. Sometimes love just isn’t enough. Having a good connection and a strong sex drive is a must. Without it, the relationship will degrade because romantic needs are not being met.
6. The person has commitment problems.
Commitment issues can lead to cheating in different ways. The first is the most obvious, they are afraid or do not want to commit. Cheating is basically a way of not committing. There is a whole psychological reason behind this and that is information for another article.
Another way of looking at this is that people have different definitions of commitment. Communication problems are often to blame for the misunderstanding. One person may think that a certain stage of the relationship means monogamy, while the other does not believe that the relationship is at that point. Good communication is the best way to avoid this problem.
7. They feel lonely.
Loneliness can make people act out of place. This may be the result of a lack of communication or the person not getting enough attention from their partner. Humans they are not meant to be aloneThat is why they seek meaningful relationships. Friendships help, but interactive romantic relationships are a must.
At first, the cheater may feel revitalized. However, after those initial feelings of revitalization wear off, they often feel confused and more alone than ever. After all, they didn’t get the attention from their partner that they really wanted. This can lead to more cheating in an effort to fill the void.
8. Someone’s needs are not being met.
Some people just don’t fit in well with each other due to different needs. Sure, they can love each other, but one person may be unable to meet the needs of the other. Sometimes both people cannot meet each other’s needs.
This can manifest itself in many ways. Two people may have different sexual urges, different emotional needs, different definitions of the relationship, different religious beliefs, or different desires for the amount of quality time they spend with their partner. When a person’s needs are not being met, it can lead to cheating.
In cases like this, people cheat because they just want to have sex, a lot. It doesn’t mean that there are problems in the relationship, that your needs are not being met, that they are unsafe, or anything else on this list. They simply cannot control their sexual desires.
This compulsive sexual desire is known as hypersexuality. This behavior is a mental disorder in which the person should seek professional help. Often times, the person will feel ashamed of his behavior, so he can hide it for as long as possible. Hopefully, they can get the help they need before their relationship is ruined.
10. They have low emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to control and express your emotions correctly, as well as the ability to properly handle interpersonal relationships. Some people just don’t have this ability, or they may not be good at it. In other words, they don’t know themselves well enough to be in a relationship.
Low emotional intelligence could also result in a person not knowing how to communicate what they really want. This means that your partner will not know either, so the person ends up cheating due to not communicating well.
11. Cheat in an effort to save the relationship.
This may seem the other way around, but some people cheat to save their relationship. This almost never works, but for whatever reason some people believe it does. This usually happens because there is a need or needs that are not being met, but the cheater still wants to keep the relationship.
Their reasoning is that if they can meet that need in some other way, they can live without getting that need from their partner. It almost makes sense, except that the cheater must live a double life and when his partner finds out he can ruin the relationship they fought so hard to maintain.
12. They may not think cheating is a big deal.
Just like people have a different definition of compromise, they can have a different definition of cheating. One person may think that flirting is cheating while the other thinks it is harmless. One person may believe that sex without love is not cheating, while the other sees it as a major violation.
This is another communication problem. Most people don’t want to discuss the idea of cheating, but it is important that couples discuss it early in the relationship, just as they should discuss commitment or any other aspect of the relationship. Making sure you are on the same page as your partner can help avoid cheating (or signaling that your partner has no plans to be faithful).
13. The cheater has low self-esteem.
It may seem strange that low self-esteem can cause a person to cheat, but it is not as strange as you think. People with low self-esteem can seek validation by being with as many partners as possible. It’s not that they’re trying to add notches to their belts, it’s that they eventually feel like the person they’re in a relationship with doesn’t really love them.
As insecurities begin to surface and they feel less and less loved, they begin to seek attention elsewhere. The same thing will happen in the next relationship. This leads to a vicious cycle of cheating because they never fix their insecurities.
14. Opportunity presents itself.
Some people have exceptionally low willpower. If the opportunity to cheat presents itself without being caught, they are more likely to seize the opportunity. There may not even be serious problems in your relationship. They simply cannot help themselves.
People like this will almost always feel extremely guilty afterward. They may even end up telling their partner guilt. However, this does not mean that there is no motivating factor. Any of the reasons men and women cheat listed above could be combined with opportunity and be enough to push the person to the limit.
15. The cheater is a narcissist.
If the cheater is a narcissist, he probably doesn’t care how his cheating makes his partner feel. In fact, they can rationalize deception. Worse still, the narcissist may convince his partner that it is the partner’s fault.
Narcissists are so bad that they may not even try to hide their infidelities very well. They are unable to consider the feelings of their partner. If the cheater is a narcissist, cheating is probably the least of your relationship concerns.
There are many reasons why men and women cheat, even more than the reason on this list. Cheating almost always has some psychological factor behind it. Sometimes it can be a mental or emotional problem (as in the case of hypersexuality or the case of a narcissist).
No matter what the reason is, it’s still wrong. No one deserves to be in a relationship with someone who will constantly be unfaithful. It may be possible to fix the problems that cause a person to cheat, but they must be willing to work at it and trust in the relationship must be restored. All psychologists agree that while it may be difficult to repair the damage, it is not impossible.