Around one in five British people admit that they’ve had an affair while being in a relationship. Infidelity can be one of the most painful experiences and can lead to intense outcomes such as depression, domestic violence, breakups, divorce or even homicide in some cases. It is a common phenomenon all across the world and may happen in the best of relationships, but what causes people to stray from their loved ones and become disloyal? Why do people cheat in the first place and what is the psychology behind such behaviour? Whether you’re making a move, have been cheated on or just curious about what makes people stray away, we’ll take a look at the psychology behind cheating.
What is the psychology behind cheating?
According to psychologists, these are the following reasons why people may cheat.
Cheating can be regarded as an outlet for frustration
Cheating is often an outlet for frustration and unsolved troubles in the relationship. When people think that they’re not getting anywhere with their partner, they try to avoid conflict and cheat as a way to escape their troubles with their existing partner.
You or your partner may feel out of control or hopeless
A partner may feel out of control or hopeless in a relationship but doesn’t want to be angry or create a scene with their partner out of logistic reasons such as children, lifestyle, financial issues etc. To seek comfort and security, they resort to another person.
Cheating can function as a revenge
Cheating could also be seen as setting the score. If their partner has cheated, a passive-aggressive person might cheat to take out their anger in a non-confrontational yet still hurtful way.
Cheating can be a sign of deep relational issues
A cheater might suffer from extremely low self-esteem and a narcissistic view of seeing things. Some people have a tendency for attention-seeking and once they are satisfied with one person they might go on to another to fulfil their needs and validate themselves. They lack a healthy sense of self-worth so they keep jumping from one person to another that keeps giving them constant reassurance.
Cheating can be a last resort for fulfilling sexual needs
It could be that their partner is not showing interest in sex or does not fulfil their sexual needs. It could be a purely physical sensation where they are not getting the desired satisfaction from their partner. So, to meet the criteria, a cheater might resort to some other person who can give them what they desire.
Cheating is a form of control
Some people have power and control issues. Being under an authoritative figure might put them off. So, to even things out and get that feeling of having power and control, they cheat. For them, cheating is a rebellious way of telling others that they still have power and control.
Cheating is a sign of distress
A person might feel disrespected or that they are being pushed around in the relationship. Aspects of their relationship are unsatisfying and they can no longer bear it. Their relationship might not have a healthy balance and to avoid conflict and seek that balance and affection, they might lose interest in the person and resort to someone else who can provide them with that.
Cheating can be due to situational factors
Cheating could also be due to situational factors. A person might be in a completely healthy relationship but it could be that they spend lots of their time with attractive people, which makes them more likely to have an affair.