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Why Do People Cheat? (And How to Avoid the Temptation!)

Updated on September 26, 2017
SkylarWong profile image

Skylar is a freelance creative writer who currently lives in London, Ontario. She likes lemonade, cats, and nature.

Cheating? Why Cheat?

Cheating on your partner is becoming so common these days. Not that is is the right thing to do, but I am just saying it is getting very common. Back in the day when divorce was harder and people were more conservative and traditional, there may have been cheating too, but not as apparent as it is today.

So why do people cheat? What goes through their mind? Are they just evil people who have no compassion on their partner? Do they just get carried away under influence of alcohol, sadness, or pure impulsiveness?

There could be many reasons. But I will tell you some reasons that you may or may not have thought of.

5 Reasons Why People May Cheat.

1.) Some people cheat because they feel lonely in their marriage or relationship. Yes, married people can get lonely. Single people have a misconception that after you get into a long-term relationship, you will be happy forever ever after and never get lonely again. Wrong.

Even in a relationship, your partner could get busy or lose taste in doing romantic things. That's when you may experience a response called the evolutionary "fight or flight" response.

In olden days, if a caveperson were to see a bear, either they fight the bear or they flee from the scene. It's the same with problems we face nowadays. People either face their problems head on (fight) or they want to run away (flight).

Often, when people encounter big problems in a marriage, it is again one of two responses: either "fight" or "flight". And people who are contemplating cheating are wanting to escape (flight). They are not willing to "fight" for their relationship, so they take the other option: to flee to a different relationship, or at least, to get away from their current partner.

Will You "Fight" For Your Marriage? Or Leave?

Couples can get into fights, but whether they can work it out determines whether they will stay together.  If one person decides to leave, it's over.
Couples can get into fights, but whether they can work it out determines whether they will stay together. If one person decides to leave, it's over.

2) Some people cheat because they have impulsive personalities and don't think of the consequences. Impulsiveness can cause people to take great risks, often risks that hurt themselves or others, because they think in the spur of the moment, and not for the future. When an attractive person comes along, impulsive people just get carried away with the flow. They don't think twice, they just want the instantaneous gratification.

What makes people so impulsive? Maybe they grew up with impulsive parents, or maybe they have something wrong with the frontal lobe of their brain (the part of the brain responsible for planning for the future)... who knows! But certain people are more impulsive by nature. They like the smell of danger, and they prefer momentary passion over accomplishing long-term goals.

3) Some people cheat because they want to get revenge, or to relieve the pain that was inflicted by their partner. Their partner may have said some hurtful things, or was flirting with other people. Or maybe their partner cheated on them. Out of their deep hurt, they may resort to cheating as a way to relieve the pain caused by their partner.

In their minds, cheating could be a way to "get them back". It could hurt the partner who hurt them, and thus illicit some kind of response. Maybe the cheating partner wants to break away, because the original relationship was so hurtful. Revengeful cheating is common because it is the easiest way to hurt someone... by breaking their trust.

Hurt Couples Either Heal, Or Get Revenge.

Some people resort to cheating as a way to get revenge.  Is it the right way?
Some people resort to cheating as a way to get revenge. Is it the right way?

4) Mental illness could be a contributing factor to cheating. Having a mental illness is not a good excuse for cheating. Not every mentally ill person cheats. And by the way, all thereasons why people cheat are just reasons, not excuses. Cheating is always wrong and always will be, in my books. But mental illness is a very serious thing. And when someone is in major depression or in deep crisis, they lose their minds.

Without being in their right mind, mentally ill people can sometimes get attracted to whoever pays them some attention or tries to comfort them. One thing can lead to another, especially when symptoms of your mental illness includes hypersexuality and impulsiveness (as in the case of Bipolar Disorder, for example).

Again, not all people with Bipolar Disorder cheat, but the impulsive and hypersexual symptoms may give rise to more susceptibility to cheat. I can say this for a fact, because I myself have Bipolar Disorder. If I am not careful, I may get reeled into the terrible temptation to cheat on my precious husband.

Is Mental Illness a Factor in Cheating?

Although not a good excuse for cheating, mental illness can play a part because these people have literally lost their minds and cannot think logically.
Although not a good excuse for cheating, mental illness can play a part because these people have literally lost their minds and cannot think logically.

5) Some people cheat because they feel that something is missing in their relationship. Habits kick in and their partner doesn't seem so fun anymore. They stop going on dates now that they live together. They get too comfortable with their partner and see them acting like a slob instead of being Prince Charming.

Even just being around their partner doing constant, non-romantic, monotone chores (like laundry) could really dampen the relationship and extinguish sexual sparks. The relationship becomes stale and not so special when all you do is watch TV together and do chores.

This is why many people start to seek that spark elsewhere. And they may go to great lengths to regain that passionate lustful feeling. However, it is just so much easier to find it in someone else, rather than to rediscover it in one's current partner.

Another possibility is that one partner had dreams that they wished to accomplish, but because their significant other chose a different life path, they compromised their dreams to follow their partner's life path instead. This could create an inner longing that gnaws away at their soul, because of dreams lost.

A secret longing may seem buried on the wedding day, but the dream is literally being buried alive. Like the zombie apocalypse, the dream may come screaming out of the ground later on.

Temptations start as the partner can't stand to let those dreams lie dormant any longer. If a charming individual comes along, and they seem to have similar dreams as you do, you may be tempted to fall for them.

The gnawing inside their soul has been way too long, and they really want to fulfill those desires. That is why some people throw away the relationship of a lifetime, because they prefer their dream over reality.

Would You Pursue Your Dream, or Stay With Your Partner?

Staying with your partner may get difficult when it seems like your dreams are compromised.  But is there still a way to accomplish your dream with your partner?
Staying with your partner may get difficult when it seems like your dreams are compromised. But is there still a way to accomplish your dream with your partner?

What Personality Type is More Prone to Cheat?

If you love your spouse or partner, naturally you shouldn't want to cheat, right?


We are human, we can sometimes go by the desires of the moment instead of thinking with a logical mind. Sometimes, people even think with their genitals (no kidding). Or maybe the influence of alcohol, lack of sleep, loss of connection to friends, among other factors, could be affecting their common sense.

Now just because we are all human doesn't necessarily mean all humans have the potential to cheat. Some humans, in my opinion, are born with a very loyal personality. Most people who have loyal personalities rank high in compassion and they also constantly think about consequences logically.

My theory is that people who rank high in compassion, but do not think for the future, are more prone to cheat.

Why did I not say, conversely, that someone with low compassion is more prone to cheat? Well, I do grant that certain people who rank low in compassion may be players. But people who rank low in compassion are often just terrible people and aren't as attractive as an empathetic person.

My personal opinion is that people who are empathetic as well as spontaneous are more prone to cheat than non-empathetic people.

If an individual ranks high in compassion, but they don't think of future consequences, it is a dangerous combination. That's because their hearts are easily moved in the spur of the moment. These people think with their emotions rather than with their brain. They don't consider the future, they go along with their feelings.

"Work Friends" Can Become a "Work Affair".

Spot a cute person at work?  Be very careful.  You may become a prime example of a workplace affair!
Spot a cute person at work? Be very careful. You may become a prime example of a workplace affair!

Case Study: Maude and Norman... Become Cheaters.

Let's give a case in point (this did not happen to anyone I know, it is just for case study). Let's say a person, we will call her Maude, ranks high in compassion but low on logical thinking and planning for the future.

Let's say one day Maude becomes frustrated with how things are going in her marriage. Her husband is too busy with work and doesn't do anything romantic anymore. She is tired of always doing chores and taking care of things at home, on top of her stressful office job.

Now let's say one day Maude meets a new attractive employee at work, and let's just assume she is attracted physically to this man (let's call him Norman). Norman and Maude start conversing during lunchtime and as time passes, Maude spends more time talking with Norman than with her husband at home.

Norman starts to share private information about his life to Maude. He starts to share troubles regarding his marriage, how his wife has been verbally abusive lately. Because Maude has compassion on Norman, she starts dropping by Norman's desk more often at work.

The fact that a person is going through a hard time can trigger compassion, as well as stir up a desire. Compassion turns easily into passion, because those who live in the moment, like Maude, want to do something to help people right away. Throw in her own loneliness and frustration with her husband at home, and she is bound to get emotionally close to this new, attractive man.

If Norman and Maude share intimate information, such as how they are suffering due to their marriage problems, this can trigger a deeper level of connection. They will develop trust and feel emotionally drawn to each other.

Often, cheating does not start with a kiss, it starts with an emotional connection. The mind thinks, "Oh, I can really share my troubles with this person and trust them. They really understand my needs!"

One thing leasd to another, and the next thing you know, one day Maude's husband is on a business trip. Maude invites Norman have dinner at her house. Alone. Without kids around. And it's a "friendly" dinner. Can you predict what will happen?

Maude's sexual desire for Norman by this time, will have become stronger. Not only is she sex-deprived because her husband is away on vacation and never gave it to her enough to begin with, but both she and Norman have developed an emotional bond already. And tonight, she is going to wear something extra sensual to try to gain attention from Norman. The attention that she never got from her husband.

To top it off, both Norman and Maude are both exhausted from a day at work, which weakens their ability to reason. Also, she invites him to her home, the place where she usually lets her guard down. Once her guard is let down, throw in a bottle of wine... next thing you know, Maude has fallen for Norman, and Norman is tempted to reciprocate the feeling.

How far it will go will depend on how much wine they drank and how strongly Norman feels for Maude. But it is almost a guarantee that if they share their life struggles with each other, and if they find each other charming and attractive, and on top of that, they are alone together in an empty lonely house with guards let down, something is bound to happen.

Since Maude has compassion on Norman, her conscience will say to her at the end of the day, "Do something to please Norman, make him happy. He's had a hard time with his wife. You can be his cure. Make yourself happy. You like him. He can help you get the pleasure that you never experienced with your husband." And that is when things go very wrong.


6 Tips on How to Avoid Cheating!

Now I have given a very prime case study to show how cheating can easily happen. But what about preventing cheating? It is harder than you think, but well worth trying to save your relationship. Here are six ways to prevent cheating:

1. After starting to live with your romantic partner, make extra efforts to show them that you love them. Don't stop sending flowers and cards. Don't stop saying "I love you". Don't stop initiating foreplay, and have sex even if you are tired. Get yourself some sexy attire, kiss each other passionately, and go out once in a while for an actual date at a restaurant or a moonlit walk in the park.

2. Always remind yourself how great your husband or wife is. They may have lots of flaws that have become evident after you guys were together for so long. But think of what attracted you to them in the first place. Think of what they do for you on a daily basis that shows that they love you.

Talk to them about how thankful you are. Tell all your friends how lucky you are to be married to such a wonderful person. By being appreciative of your spouse, you will be less likely to seek attraction in another person. You would be already satisfied with the love that your spouse has provided you.

3. Stop bad-mouthing your spouse in front of other friends. Bad-mouthing your spouse is actually just another way to brainwash your own brain. If you bad-mouth them, you would be listing out all the bad things you experience and airing it out like dirty laundry. You would be reinforcing in your brain how bad things seem.

If you enlist your friends to bad-mouth your spouse too, it becomes a war against your own marriage. They may encourage you to leave your partner, and they won't even know the positive sides of the relationship. Fight for your marriage, not against it. Say good things about your spouse in public as well as in your own mind.

Stop Bad-Mouthing Your Spouse!

Venting can easily become a precursor to potential cheating.  Speak well of your spouse and be careful who you "vent" to.
Venting can easily become a precursor to potential cheating. Speak well of your spouse and be careful who you "vent" to.

4. Remember the consequences. Cheating hurts everyone, especially if you have kids. Remember that one split second kiss, or one hour of love-making with a stranger, will not provide you with a lifetime of happiness. It would be nice just for that moment, and then your life would fall apart afterwards. Some people try to hide the fact that they cheated but the guilt catches up to them and they will end up confessing anyways. Just don't do it.

Once it's done, you can never take it back. The damage would be devastating and the trust will be completely broken. It is rare that anyone would take you back after you cheat. They may be forgiving, but they rarely take you back.

Those who get forgiven and get accepted back, after they cheated, are among the rare cases where the spouse loves them enough to be willing to rebuild that trust. But it is extremely seldom, so don't even think of banking on that.

5. Avoid sharing personal troubles with a potential. When I say "potential", I mean a man or a woman or any person in general with whom you might cheat with. Especially if you are complaining about your relationship to a third party, this gives leeway for the other person, if they are attracted to you at all, to make a move.

If you are going to have friends of the opposite sex (or if you are attracted to your same sex, then a friend of the same sex), make sure you are always hanging out with them in a public place. And don't share personal troubles with them! Share your troubles with your own spouse!

6. Talk things out and communicate your concerns to your own romantic partner! Even if you "fight", it is still better than "flight"! Find a time and space where you are both not distracted by anything and air out concerns to your own spouse. Not to someone else's spouse!

Try to find solutions together. Oftentimes, people cheat because they think in the back of their minds that their problem is unsolvable. When really, all it takes is telling your husband or wife that you miss having sex with them and you miss going out on romantic dates! Or maybe express how they are way too busy with work and need to prioritize developing the marriage more.

Communication is Always Key.

Divorce happens either when a couple stops communicating, or if they communicate in a terrible way.  Communicate well to your spouse to avoid falling into cheating.
Divorce happens either when a couple stops communicating, or if they communicate in a terrible way. Communicate well to your spouse to avoid falling into cheating.

Don't Take The Easy Way Out!

It takes two to tango. Both you and your spouse need to make extra efforts to stay together. If one spouse does not try, then the marriage can potentially still fail even if you follow all my tips.

You could even try getting counseling for yourself or for the both of you if things are still unresolved! Psychological counseling really can make a difference to relieve the hurt and provide potential solutions. But again, it takes two to tango.

Talking it out is really undermined in nowaday's culture. The quickest solution seems to be escaping the problem instead of facing it. It is so much easier to run to a new person instead of confront your spouse. But at least try to talk it out with your partner before ditching them for a new one.

Cheating has a lifetime of consequences!

Do you know what could happen after you've ran away with your new lover? They will become the next person with whom you have marital problems with, and they will become the next person who will eventually become unromantic and feel way too comfortable, acting like a slob. The cycle will persist in such a way. If you don't want the cycle to repeat, don't even start!

All of these tips I have gathered from personal experience as well as from Marriage Counselors. Please take them to heart if you want to stay with your partner. Cheating hurts everybody and it is not a light matter. Take these tips seriously and put them into practice, and you won't feel the urge to cheat!

Think back on the first day that you met your spouse or partner. Remember how attractive they seemed to you, or the way you fell in love? Remember the spark in their eyes and the way you felt when they held you close? Take yourself back to those days and remember how valuable the relationship is for you in the long run. Revive the romance in any way possible and don't ditch so fast!

Cheaters gonna cheat. The person who are cheating on your spouse with may love you at the moment, but they may not marry you after you break up with your spouse. The love could very well be short-lived.

But your spouse that you cheated on will be devastated for life. And if they really did love you and wanted to spend the rest of their life with you, you're losing out on the best thing in the world. And the aftermath will be very long-lasting.

People who cheated once are more likely to cheat again. So if your new lover is cheating on their spouse with you, you can expect that one day they will cheat on you with someone new. Just remember that.

Think hard on your choices and think hard on how you go about your daily business meeting potentials. Plan ahead, realize the consequences and make an effort to put in place the preventative measures. Talk things out with your spouse, don't quit so easily.

Your life is in your hands. And in this case, your life should also be in your heart. Good luck and play it smart.

What Would You Rather Do Than Cheat?

What is ONE Step You Can Take to Avoid Cheating?

See results

© 2017 Skylar Wong

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