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Why do some men and women cheat? It's not always because the relationship is bad.

Why do some men and women cheat? Well I’ve been told that they love their partner, they find their partner attractive, value their relationship, and do not want to end or damage the life that they and their significant other have built together.

So why do some decide to step out? According to Robert Weiss PH.D., MSW with Psychology Today, there are lots of key reasons why it happens, but it’s not always because of a bad relationship.

“Admittedly, sometimes people choose to cheat because they’re in a bad relationship and want out. Sometimes they feel stuck because of kids, finances, social mores, or whatever,” Dr. Weiss said in the piece. “So they sneak around to get their needs for connection, intimacy, and validation met by someone other than their spouse. But just as often, cheaters are in reasonably emotionally healthy relationships with people they love, care about, and have no desire to hurt.”

Here’s a look at the eight primary reasons why people cheat, according to Dr. Weiss:

  • 1. Self-Exploration

    “For some, cheating is a way to explore repressed parts of the self. These cheaters don’t actually want to change the core of who they are; they just want to escape the constraints of that for a little while. They’re not looking for another person; they’re looking for hidden versions of themselves.”

  • 2. Insecurity

    “Sometimes cheaters struggle with self-esteem. They don’t feel attractive, powerful, smart, young, or whatever. So they seek validation through cheating. They use that spark of interest to feel wanted, desired, and worthy.”

  • 3. The Appeal of Transgression

    “These cheaters are like children stealing a cookie their mom says they can’t have. The forbidden nature of the cookie makes it extra-desirable. Infidelity is the same. Because cheaters are not supposed to cheat, cheating seems extra special and extra desirable.”

  • 4. Unresolved Early-Life Trauma

    “Sometimes cheaters are reenacting or latently responding to unresolved childhood traumas—neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, etc. Basically, their childhood wounds have created attachment deficits that manifest through infidelity.”

  • 5. The Life Not Lived

    Here, it’s the life that could have been, the lover that got away, or the lover that never was that drives the infidelity. The cheater is not unhappy with their current life, but they’re curious about what their life might have been if they chose a different path.”

  • 6. Unrealistic Expectations

    “Some people cheat because they have unrealistic expectations about what their partner and primary relationship can (and should) provide. They may think their partner should meet every need and desire they have, which is an impossible standard. And if they don’t have close friends and family who can step into the occasional void, they might chase an affair partner.”

  • 7. Wanting to Feel Intense Emotions

    When primary relationships settle into the comfort zone of long-term love, cheaters may want to feel the intensity of a newly formed relationship (even though there is absolutely nothing wrong in the current relationship).”

  • 8. Inherent Selfishness/Entitlement

    Some cheaters, despite loving their partner and enjoying their relationship, feel they deserve more. Rather than seeing their vow of fidelity as a sacrifice made to and for their relationship, they view it as something to be worked around.

  • Read More

    Why People Cheat on Partners They Really Love

    Infidelity is not always the result of a bad primary relationship. For some, cheating on one's partner is a way to explore repressed parts of their self. Sometimes cheaters struggle with self-esteem. After nearly three decades of treating individuals who've cheated on a loving partner, I can tell you with absolute certainty that infidelity is not always the result of a bad primary relationship.