Why do people cheat?

posted 2 years ago in Emotional
Member
1 posts
Wannabee

I’ll bite. I never cheated, but I was once involved with a guy who was cheating on his girlfriend of 5-6 years. We were part of the same grad school program (which his SO was not a part of). I had a huge crush on him. We were friends and were part of the same circle of friends, but I swear to God I never made a move on him. He made the first move. It was very difficult for me to resist – I can’t really explain how strong I was attracted to this guy. We had the craziest chemistry.

He was the kind of guy that girls think would NEVER cheat. Intelligent, principled, widely liked (although my best friend always hated him lol) not a lot of female friends.

Why did he cheat? Well, he was very attracted to me (and again, I swear, I never did anything to try and seduce him – if he hadn’t made the first move I would never have done anything, but it was so hard to resist once I knew he had feelings for me), and I think his relationship at the time had gotten too . . . comfortable? I was the complete opposite of his SO, both in terms of looks and personality. I was also much more sexually adventerous than she was. Of course, he couldn’t have known that when he initially made his move, but that is certainly why our affair continued for as long as it did (2 years).

He did feel guilty about the whole thing. We broke it off once and he made the decision to move in with his SO in the hopes that would fix whatever was broken about their relationship. It didn’t work.

Eventually he asked me to marry him – while he was still living with his SO. Then he promised me he would break up with her. He lied that he did when he hadn’t (I found out through a mutual friend that he had lied to me). I cut things off with him completely. He wrote me a letter begging me to give him a second chance, saying he had made the worst mistake of his life and that he was a coward. When he wrote this letter, he was still with his SO. I wrote him a reply saying that I could never be with him again, that I didn’t believe his cowardice could ever change.

He did eventually confess the affair to his SO, although I don’t know exactly how much he told her. I don’t think he told her all of it.

They got married last year.

I think our affair was like a drug to him. He knew it was wrong but he just could not keep himself away (and it was difficult for us to not see each other because we had so many mutual friends). The only way I could end it was by moving very far away. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t had to move and/or if he had been less of a coward.

Member
4698 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I think most people cheat out of a lack of appreciation — it’s a pain that impacts men and women equally. When you feel like your partner is ungrateful, uninterested, and not giving you the attention and romance you want or need, it’s easy to sparkle under the flirtations of someone else who might be nicer, or more attentive/appreciative, and get carried away. 

There’s a LOT of reasons for cheating but I’d put money down that that’s the most common one. You start to feel invisible in your own home, taken for granted, and when someone else then starts to give you sweet attention and appreciation, you feel good. 

I think saying thank you and paying compliments and being flirty is something you should strive for in a relationship for your whole life, not just to snag someone. It’s not your fault if someone cheats on you, it’s them being awful, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce the odds of someone else catching your SO’s eye or tempting them, even if they’d never act on it. 

Member
7577 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I think cheating is situational.

If you’re dating a guy and he cheats on you after 2 months, it’s probably safe to assume that he’s just a whore. Some men are like that. Even some ladies are like that, it’s usually because they aren’t interested in settling down with just 1 person.

For a couple that’s been together years, or married years, cheating can be from a number of things. The stress from a recent hardship on the relationship, feeling unappreciated or unloved, or even worse, if you start feeling ugly/dirty. Alot of times, they don’t want their marriage to end, they just want to feel love.

Somewhat horrible cheating story about my fi’s parents. His mom had breast cancer, and it was quite a battle. It was about a 4 year struggle, but they made it through. Apparently, fi’s father was a real trooper – doing all the house work, taking care of the kids, taking care of his sick wife, while maintaining a job. After she got better, he was EXTREMELY depressed. [I'm just going to assume that it was because of his absent love life for those 4 years]. He did end up cheating on her, but he didn’t want the marriage to end. And when she found out, he couldn’t remember why he did it.

They are still together, and they are working through it. I honestly don’t think his father would have cheated on his mother if it wasn’t for the hardship they went through. It wasn’t her fault, of course.

To answer your questions :

Have you cheated? Yes, but not on my fi. I’ve only ever cheated once.

Why did you cheat? I was living with my ex, and he got hurt and was on some heavy meds, he just wasn’t himself anymore. We used to go out for dinner every saturday, and bowling every tuesday. Thursday was movie night. He never wanted to do anything, ever. He would go to work and then sit on the couch until bedtime. After 6 months or so of this, I just gave up.

Have you done it more than once? I cheated on him once, then immediately came home, packed my things & left.

Did you feel guilty? If so when, was it during the act of cheating or after? I felt bad that I didn’t break up with him before hand.

Did you tell your SO (did you tell them the whole truth or part of it?) or did they find out another way? Like I said, it wasn’t my fi, it was my ex. I came home and told him.

 

That being said, I’ve been with fi for 4 years, and cheating has never crossed my mind. Sure, I might flirt a little here and there [im the flirty type], but I don’t ever do anything behind his back, or anything he doesn’t know about.

 

Member
178 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I am very curious myself,  I have never cheated, but I was the one cheated on (my ex cheated on me in any way possible), so I am very intrigued by this post

 

Member
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Have you cheated?

Yes

Why did you cheat?

As a previous poster said, because I was feeling unappreciated and unwanted, and the sex had either stopped/was selfish.  Mainly because I wanted affection and to feel loved.   @Bebealways has hit it totally on the head:  I spent years trying to improve things with my ex H – he wouldn’t even admit there as a problem, let alone try to change things.  When a friend showed interest in me, it was like waking up after being asleep for years. 

Have you done it more than once?

Yes

Did you feel guilty? If so when, was it during the act of cheating or after?

Only the first time, afterwards.  

Did you tell your SO (did you tell them the whole truth or part of it?) or did they find out another way?

The last time, I told my ex H that it was going to happen if our relationship didn’t improve.  He did nothing, so I cheated.  I was pretty open about it. 

Would you do it again?

I would hope that I would end the existing relationship first. 

Did your SO forgive you?

I’ve always been the one to leave a relationship where I cheated, so I have no idea.  

Member
1734 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 1998

There are so many variables here. Have I cheated? No. 

For many women, I think it comes down to emotional factors – feeling attractive, appreciated, beautiful, sexy, even jealousy. Revenge affairs are much more common with women, and they’re used as a way to rebuild self-esteem after a partner’s perceived affair/inappropriate contact withsomeone else.

My FI and I have created accounts on cheater’s sites and taken a look around at the people there. Surprisingly…most of the men are looking for someone to provide for and looking for someone to love them. Most of them are looking  for sex and excitement, too, but at least in my area, many were looking for someone to talk to, to hold, go on picnics together, go to the beach…classic dating stuff. 

I would say men tend to be more interested in the sex, the thrill, doing something new – and for women, that tends to be the currency to have the emotional side of things met.

I think we do a disservice to people in general when we villify those who have cheated as careless, wanton, sex-hungry demons. I don’t think that many of them are careless. I do think many of them care about their partners still, love them, but want an ‘addition’ on the side to get some comfort during emotional times. Is it the -best- or the -right- solution? No. But can I see why people go for it? Of course.

Too many people say, I think, “If he truly  loved his wife, he wouldn’t cheat. ” The No True Scotsman fallacy may work in other areas, but it doesn’t work here. Love is complicated. I could just as easily argue that if my FI loved me, he wouldn’t raise his voice at me (ever). The fact is…people can still love someone and make mistakes. They can still love someone, but crave sexual excitement, crave more emotional fulfillment, and find it in somebody else’s arms.

I don’t think anyone should necessarily stay with a cheater. For some, it really is once – and it’s a painful lesson learned. For others, it will be a repeated process, and while going through recovery, people need to remember that it’s not a guarantee that chapter of their lives are over.

But I do believe marriages can continue, and continue happily, given that the couple immediately enters counseling and get to the bottom of why someone cheated in the first place. 

 

Member
1016 posts
Bumble bee

My situation is a bit different…

 

I was married for almost 15 years….

Have you cheated? Yes and honestly, I don’t regret doing so.

Why did you cheat?  Because my xDH was lacking in every department. He didn’t pay attention to me, he didn’t talk to me, he didn’t touch me, he didn’t have sex with me. After years and countless talks and fights about everything and swearing to change, he never changed. His priorities weren’t with his family that he built under his roof, but they were with his “blood” family (mom, dad, brother…)  Refused to go to counseling to work on our marriage. I put in the effort to work things out.  Marriage is 50/50 – i was putting in 100%, he was giving 0. 

Have you done it more than once?   No, just once.

Did you feel guilty? If so when, was it during the act of cheating or after? I felt guilty at first, because i have children…but I realized how unhappy I was in my marriage, things were never going to change no matter how much I tried over the years.  It wasn’t meant to be.  

Did you tell your SO (did you tell them the whole truth or part of it?) or did they find out another way?  xDH found out on his own by getting into my email and reading my emails.  He still doesn’t know the truth.  He never came to me about any of it, asked about counseling, yeah–he wanted to work on the  marriage THEN, but quickly cancelled the appointment, then I found out he was on Matchdotcom a week after he found out.  

Would you do it again?  If I could go back, yes..I would have done it sooner.  If I could go back even before that ….I would have never married him..but I would never give back my kids or regret them. They are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Did your SO forgive you?  Doubtful…but we had a very extremely civil divorce.  We are friends. We don’t fight and we get along good as can be when we are together, all for the kids sake of course. Our kids come first before anything.  

 
ETA: I’m with the person I cheated on my xDH with. We are extremely happy together. Been together for a little over 3 years, and xDH is very happy for us and they talk when they are together.  Hatchet was burried.  Everyone moved on. xDH and I both know that we weren’t meant to be together and some things just don’t work out.  But, we both got absolutely 2 beautiful and wonderful children out of it.

Member
1206 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’ve basically cheated on every BF except my DH. I can never imagine myself cheating on DH, ever. I’ve come to understand the two reasons why I’ve cheated in the past. Both are pretty immature reasons, but I was young (18-25) and immature at the time.

1. I wanted to end the relationship I was currently in and didn’t have the balls to do it. Basiaclly cheating on my BF made it an easy decision for him. It was a cowardly way out.

2. The adrenaline rush and the excitement of something new. Obviously I wasn’t in love with my SO’s in these cases because now the idea of of this doesn’t seem appealing at all.

Member
837 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Have you cheated? Yes

Why did you cheat? Loneliness

Have you done it more than once? Yes, in my past two marriages

Did you feel guilty? If so when, was it during the act of cheating or after? Yes, after

Did you tell your SO (did you tell them the whole truth or part of it?) or did they find out another way? Yes, I told the whole truth

Would you do it again? I hope not!

Did your SO forgive you? No the first time, yes the 2nd

 

1st marriage- husband worked nights, I worked days, sex life never existed, was isolated and lonely (he kept me from my friends from the begining so I had no one)

2nd marriage- husband chronically ill and as I found out later, addicted to pain pills. Slept all the time and basically ignored me. I BEGGED him for attention but he withdrew further and further from me.

After the first marriage, where I cheated off and on for two years (with one person) I swore I’d not live a lie again, so I told my ex immediately. He was so into his addiction by that point it was like he just didn’t care.

Member
5247 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think people either cheat because they are not getting their needs met/it is not the right relationship or they are some sort of sex addict.

Have you cheated?  In the past, in each of my relationships I did (there was only 3 official relationships before FI, but plenty of other flings/dates/short term things).  One relationship was long, one was on and off, and one was short (think 4 months).  Never with my SO now, I couldn’t even imagine coming close to it.  He gives me all the affection and love I need, and more.  Something I never had with my other relationships.

Why did you cheat?

All in all…they weren’t the right guys for me, I liked the adrenaline rush of anything new, I was young, and I obviously wasn’t that into my SOs (though it only became obvious to me that I needed to really end it afterwards!)

Have you done it more than once? Yes

Did you feel guilty? If so when, was it during the act of cheating or after? The first time, yes I did.  Shortly after.  The second guy, no I didn’t feel guilty.  But he refused to be in an actual relationship with me, so I felt that I didn’t have to act like I was in an actual relationship.  Third guy, I did feel bad that next day but I got over it pretty quickly and felt better because I realized I should end it.

Did you tell your SO (did you tell them the whole truth or part of it?) or did they find out another way?  Nope, no one knew. 

Would you do it again?  um…no?  You mean would I do it again now with my current SO?  No, I’m with the right person for me now and I don’t even think it would be possible for me to cheat on him.  As far as the past relationships…if I could go back in time I probably would have just ended the relationships a lot sooner!  Save myself a few years of trouble!!

Did your SO forgive you?  They never knew.  I broke up with them all eventually (some immediately, some a little while later)

Member
1 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: February 2015
Member
4543 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Royalton White Sands

I’ve never cheated, but FH was a serial cheater back in the day…. in high school and right after. I don’t think he saw any harm in it. He cheated on pretty much every girlfriend he had, because he could. Somehow, he never cheated on me. 

Then, when he was 19, he caught his mom having an affair. I guess he finally saw what it caused. He got his priorities in order, and he contacted me via Facebook to beg me to consider giving him another (third) chance. 4 months later, I did, and we’ve been together ever since.

Member
6333 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - England, UK

I’ve never cheated, but plenty of my friends have. My female friends who cheated usually did it for one of two reasons:

- Their relationship was basically dead, but they refused to accept it on some level. Cheating allowed them to draw a line and made it easier for them to split up with their other half… it was something quite final which they knew they could never come back from. I’ve also met men who cheated for this reason.

- In one case, a friend was dating a guy who became obsessively jealous, and accused her of shagging everyone. It was really quite abusive, and he became very controlling. Eventually, she just reached a stage where she thought “well, **** it. If I’m such a ‘whore’ then I may as well be a good one. He thinks I’m cheating on him anyway, so I’ve got nothing to lose.”

My male friends have also done it because their relationship is over, and they want an excuse to split up/ a comfort blanket for them to move onto after the breakup. But they have also done it because:

- Some guys see nothing wrong with cheating at all. They basically buy into the idea that man is a sexual animal, and only the fear of getting caught would ever stop them. Give them the opportunity to do it and not get caught, and they’ll do it just for kicks.

This type of man will never change, in my opinion. There’s no point trying. In my opinion, some people will just never, ever cheat, no matter how much opportunity you give them. If their relationship is over, they will simply call it and move on rather than cheating. Some people, on the other hand, will always cheat. I was saying the other day how I have no problem with my FI going for drinks with female friends, or staying over at their houses, just as he has no problems with me doing the same with my male friends. But I also honestly believe that neither of us would ever, ever cheat on the other. It’s just not who we are. On the other hand, I once dated someone who was a real dog… the type who will always cheat as long as they won’t get caught. In either case, there’s no point being jealous and checking emails and text messages… it will destroy your relationship with a ‘non-cheater’, and a ‘cheater’ will always cover their tracks too well to be caught like that.

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