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6 Key Reasons Men and Women Cheat on Each Other

Cheating in relationships has been around as long as romantic relationships have existed (give or take seven years.) If you have never cheated yourself, chances are you have at least considered it ... or at the very least you are close to someone who has cheated in some relationship.

As we are all aware, at least one of our ex-presidents has cheated (historians tell us many of them have), along with countless other celebrities and politicians. There's even a program called "Cheaters" on TV that allows suspicious partners to spy on their potentially cheating mates.

Just how widespread is cheating?

According to Susan Sheppard, life and relationship coach and author of How to Get What You Want From Your Man Anytime, "Infidelity affects eight out of 10 marriages in this country." That's a startling 80 percent!

Why is it, though, that men and women cheat on each other, rather than simply staying single in the first place or being upfront with their partners?

Interestingly, where men and women once cheated for different reasons (men for the physical aspect and the excitement, women because they were unhappy in their relationship), nowadays those differences are disappearing.

"In the past, there were significant gender differences," says Dr. Glass, PhD, author of Not "Just Friends": Protect Your Relationship From Infidelity and Heal the Trauma of Betrayal. "The traditional male affair that was primarily sexual is changing because more men are having more emotional affairs (meaning their feelings for the "other woman" go beyond just sexual) with coworkers. Meanwhile, women are having more sexual affairs."

The reasons we cheat are more complex than you may think, and the motivations are vastly different for each person.

Emotional Needs Not Met

When one partner feels lonely, misunderstood, ignored or emotionally "uncared" for by their mate, the stage is set for infidelity. It's cases like these where the person will seek to have their emotional needs met by talking with friends and coworkers, perhaps even confiding in them about their relationship problems.

If a physical attraction exists between the person and the new confidante, it could lead to first flirting and then all-out cheating.

Physical Needs Not Met

Similar to emotional needs, if a person isn't satisfied by their partner physically, they may seek this out from another person. This could be done consciously or unconsciously, but a person who feels isolated physically will often be drawn to someone who shows them affection and physical attention, which could lead to infidelity.

Constant Conflict Within the Relationship

If the relationship is plagued with problems - -these could be related to finances, different values, in-laws, career, location, etc. -- a person may seek refuge in the arms of someone else. This may be done as a way to escape from the conflicts at hand, or a person may cheat to

make themselves feel better about the conflict (for instance, a man who loses his job and feels unable to provide for his family who has an affair with a younger woman, which makes him feel a sense of accomplishment and self-worth).

One Person Just Wants Excitement and Attention

Sometimes couples get stuck in the routine of everyday life so severely that it leads one partner to stray. It may be a mid-life crisis of sorts, a way to recapture youth or just a strong feeling of wanting some excitement (for some, an affair can add excitement just for the very fact that it is "forbidden).

Along these lines, a person may cheat to feel they're desirable to another person (not just to their mate). When a person cheats for this reason, it's often to enhance their own self-esteem -- and, "There is nothing like a flirtation to restore a sense of self-esteem," says Sheppard, "But sometimes that flirtation gets taken to far."


There are those out there who simply believe they are entitled to more than one intimate partner. Perhaps they are following "traditions" set up by their family, in which one parent was overly flirtatious or cheated, or they may just do it because they feel they can.

To End a Relationship

A person who is unhappy in a relationship may cheat as a way out. They may do so hoping to get caught, and therefore thrown out of the relationship, or they may be seeking to find a new mate and start a new relationship before letting go of the former, unhappy one. Says Lonnie Barbach, PhD, co-author of Going the Distance: Finding and Keeping Lifelong Love, of this type of cheating, "[It's] different from the person who cheats while maintaining the dating relationship--this person is much more likely to cheat during marriage."

Relationships After Cheating

After one partner has cheated, does the relationship have hope? According to most experts, yes. In fact, some relationships may even grow stronger. "I've seen many relationships that were much better after the affair, because up until then the couple wasn't dealing with their real issues. Dealing with the affair helped them communicate on a much deeper level," says Barbach.


The Top Seven Signs that Someone is Lying to You

The Top Six Signs that Someone is Physically Attracted to You
About the Author

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Written by: B.

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