Cheating is a controversial topic and, though it's looked upon as a thou-shalt-not, we all know someone who has done it; heck, you might have even done it yourself.
We explore why people two-time their partners and the underlying issues that drive them to unfaithfulness. And don't think that we're trying to justify or make excuses for cheaters; their behavior is hurtful, but the motives behind it aren't always so cut and dried. So, ethics and morality aside, if you're wondering why people wind up philandering and how they justify it, read on...
1. It's only a one-time thing
Maybe you want to live out an experience that you've missed out on during your single days. Or, you come across a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you just can’t pass up; you're in a different zip code, you meet a hottie who's only in town for a night, or an old flame pops up out of the woodwork. One time won't hurt, as long as no one else finds out – right?
2. Cheating is a temporary escape
Perhaps constant domestic squabbles are getting you down. You and your significant other are going through a rough patch. You want excitement in your life, a challenge, change, drama … anything to remove yourself from difficulties on the home front. You want a break from the realities of life, an escape to greener pastures; and nothing spells escape like new sex with an illicit fling.
3. Your sex life is stale
After two people have been in a long term relationship, sex certainly takes on a new identity. Your partner loses their allure, the responsibilities of life keep getting in the way, or perhaps you stop doing the things for one another that keep it sizzling in the bedroom. When the 'thrill' subsides and your sexual connection becomes less and less of a priority, it's much too easy for the mind to wander.
4. Your partner no longer puts out
More to do with sexual incompatibility rather than boredom or laziness in the bedroom, many couples struggle to come to terms with this issue. One person becomes completely uninterested in sex, while the other is left to deal with their un-met sexual needs on their own. He or she loves their spouse and doesn't want to walk away from an otherwise good relationship, so unless the non-sexual spouse is interested in counseling or an open/polyamorous relationship, the other discreetly get his needs met by others rather than having to leave the homestead permanently.
5. You're comparing what you have with what could be
There will always be parts of a relationship that keep you coming back for more, such as regular sex, companionship or mutual interests. You might even feel a general sense of happiness when you're with your current partner. BUT, there's just something missing. Is that enough incentive to break it off completely? Well, not yet anyway.
Talk about having one foot out the door! You constantly scope out prospective partners, and from time to time you even take the liberty of sampling other merchandise. After all, you need to make sure they're really worth the trouble of permanently cutting ties with your partner.
You want to even the score with wrongs done unto you by your current partner, whether they've cheated or done something else to make you feel angry and vulnerable. Though revenge cheating gives some people the impetus to make a permanent, more productive change in their current situation, there's a huge risk of repeating this behavior as a means to cope with issues in the relationship, rather than dealing with them directly.
7. You're not ready to settle
You're dating someone who's a great fit, but you're just not ready to commit all of yourself to the relationship. Perhaps you haven't quite exhausted chasing your share of tail, or you haven't been single long enough to know what works and what doesn't. Maybe cheating is your way to break ties, but you just needed to know that there is at least one other human being besides your partner who would have you, even if it is just temporary.
Some people go to great lengths to satisfy their ornery egos, and messing around on a partner is a common way to do it. People cheat to boost their self-esteem, to quell a mid-life crisis, to gather 'trophies', or to validate their existence, albeit fleetingly. Another factor is the need to see if you've still 'got it', that capacity to be desired by those other than your partner.
Cheating can set you on a course for disaster, denial and despair. Having to juggle the lies and the guilt can interfere with unanticipated aspects of your life … and if your partner finds out, the impact of your betrayal can be so much more hurtful than a straight-up break-up. It is far better to first explore all avenues of communication with your existing partner in order to try and resolve any difficulties causing your inclination to look elsewhere.
On the other hand, for some people cheating has the potential to be the driving force for change within themselves and their relationships … but only if the issues underlying the behavior are examined and dealt with. If you've resolved to cheat, or have done so already, refer to our guide How to Cheat for tips on how to minimize its impact on all parties involved.