The Truth Behind Infidelity: 10 Reasons Why Even the Happiest People Cheat
We like to think that infidelity only happens in broken, unhappy relationships. But the truth is that infidelity can occur in even the happiest couple. We aren’t trying to make excuses for anyone who cheats, at the end of the day it was their decision and blame should not be put on their partner, but it is important to understand some of the reasons people feel compelled to cheat, so that you can address the problems within your relationship and avoid infidelity.
Infidelity is more often than not traced back to feelings of loneliness. Loneliness often arises out of neglect, and can lead someone to feel overlooked and undervalued. When this happens, it is common for that person to seek external validation so that they feel less taken for granted. Having someone outside of their relationship pay attention and want them can make them feel less alone. If you are feeling neglected in your relationship, it is important to air these feelings to your partner. Being honest about your needs and the attention you need from them can prevent these feelings of neglect in the first place, and can allow you to feel more supported in your relationship, so that you don’t feel the need to look for support outside of the relationship. Expressing these feelings can be difficult, but it is important to be honest with your partner and let them try and support you.
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If someone is feeling neglected in a relationship, or has underlying self-esteem issues, they might be more likely to cheat. People with low self-esteem often need more validation than other people do, and if they are not getting this validation from their partner, they may turn to someone outside of the relationship for validation, praise and attention. Understanding both you and your partners needs in a relationship can help everyone feel supported and validated, and less likely to seek these things outside of the relationship.
Different sexual desires/libidos
Passion is a crucial part of long term relationships, and even if you and your partner are happy and in love, if the passion is not there, one person may turn to infidelity as a way to satiate sexual desire. Our sexual desires change over time and over the course of a relationship and our desires might not always line up with our romantic partners. To avoid letting the inevitable differences in sexual desires or libidos lead to infidelity, you and your partner need to openly discuss your sex life on a regular basis. Are you both feeling satisfied? Are you open to trying new things? Would you consider opening up your relationship so that both of your sexual desires are met? These are all questions worth asking in order to avoid infidelity.
It is important to draw the distinction between different sexual desires and unmet needs. Because even if your desires differ from your partner's, it is possible (through a little creativity and exploration) to meet the sexual needs of your partner. Unmet needs are often a result of poor communication in the bedroom. To avoid this problem, communicate what you want and need in the bedroom. Your partner will be eager to satisfy you, especially if you are able to tell them exactly what you want.
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As upsetting as this can be to hear, certain people (no matter how happy they are in a relationship) cheat on their partners out of a need to experience variety. This is not due to any shortcoming in the relationship, and is more about the person and their desires. Adding a little variety to your sex life definitely won’t hurt, but this may not be enough. Having serious conversations about monogamy will help define your relationship in a way that supports both partners needs and desires.
Sometimes people cheat because of deep-seeded thrill seeking behavior. Knowing that something is wrong or taboo is exciting to these people, and can lead them to infidelity even if they are in a happy relationship. This behavior is some of the hardest to navigate in a relationship, because it has nothing to do with the relationship itself. To keep things exciting you and your partner can explore different ~ thrilling ~ kinds of sex, but this may not be enough. Partners could consider opening their relationships to add an element of thrill, or openly discuss other ways to add this same sensation to the relationship without infidelity.
Lack of clarity
A lot of the time, cheating can be related to misunderstandings about the status of your relationship. If you and your partner have never DTR’ed (aka defined the relationship), your partner may not be on the same page as you about the open/closed-ness of your relationship. Open and clear communications about your relationship status, and your expectations from your partner can help you avoid misunderstandings about the terms of your relationship.
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Insecurity about the future
A lack of clarity can also be related to where you see the future of your relationship going. If someone in the relationship is happy, but doesn’t see the relationship as a long term thing, they may be more likely to sleep around or break their partner’s trust, because of a lack of faith in the shared future. Addressing this problem will involve open communication about your relationship - the good and the bad - so that you are on the same page, and believe in a future together.
Sexual desire for another person
Even if you are in a happy relationship, sometimes the opportunity to cheat arises out of the blue, and sometimes people are so tempted by the opportunity that they go for it. We can’t choose who we are attracted to, and sometimes attraction precipitates out of nowhere, which can lead to infidelity, but it doesn’t have to. Let’s be clear, no one is completely powerless in situations of attraction, and being tempted to cheat often points at larger problems in a relationship. Nurturing intimacy, love and attraction in your relationship will reduce the risk of an opportunity arising as well as reducing the chance that someone will act on this opportunity.
No matter how great your relationship is, there are times when you and/or your partner experience anger. Some studies have shown that people cite anger towards their partner as the reason that they cheated, explaining that cheating acted as a way to get back at their partner. To avoid this scenario, it’s important to bring up anger you have about your partner in a mature, communicative way so that these feelings don’t fester and manifest in infidelity.
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