The 3 Reasons People Cheat

The 3 Reasons People Cheat

It might not surprise you to hear that 90% of Americans think that cheating is completely unacceptable and unforgivable in a relationship. That makes sense, obviously.

What doesn’t make sense is that 30-40% of people cheat anyway.

Why does this happen? How could 90% of people find something completely unacceptable and then do it in their spare time? Are we all hypocrites?

Cheating has many awful effects not just limited to relationships, including domestic violence, divorce, depression and even murder. It’s fair to say that infidelity is pretty much the most destructive thing that could possibly happen in a relationship.

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So knowing all that, why do people still cheat? And once you’ve cheated, are you a cheater forever?

The way to start talking about this issue is by looking at the reasons people cheat:

These are the 10 signs he’s cheating on you.

1. People cheat for individual reasons

If you’ve ever thought about (or said) that once someone cheats, they’re a cheater forever… and that they’ll cheat in all their relationships, what you’re really talking about are the individual reasons that person cheated.

What I mean is – the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater” means that there’s something about that person and their traits that makes them more likely to cheat in all their relationships. So what are those traits?


People who are less empathetic, less agreeable, and less conscientious about their actions are more likely to cheat – which makes sense. If you don’t hold yourself accountable for your actions, of course you’re more likely to cheat.

Religion and Politics

This one isn’t that surprising either. Those who identify as very religious or very politically conservative are actually less likely to cheat due to their extremely rigid value system.


Overall, men are more likely to cheat than women, due to the fact that men have much more testosterone, and therefore likely a higher sex drive.

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2. People cheat because of reasons stemming from their relationships

No discussion of cheating is complete without examining the risk factors in relationships themselves that can lead to cheating. A lot of the time, infidelity can be tied back to aspects of the relationship that one or both parties find dissatisfying.

Most of the time, when people are in a relationship that’s working and where both partners are happy, it greatly decreases the risk of cheating. Even people who have cheated in past relationships are much less likely to cheat in satisfying, well matched relationships.

The relationship risk factors for cheating include unsatisfying sex lives, unhappiness, and lots of fighting and conflict. Plus, the more different the two partners are in terms of what they’re like, what kind of education they have, what their politics and religious views are – the more likely they are to cheat.

Here are 8 reasons to let go of toxic people in your life.

3. People cheat because of the situation they’re in

Sometimes, infidelity doesn’t stem from personality traits, or a deficiency in the relationship. Things might be great – but if the wrong situation comes up then infidelity could occur anyway.

There are some situations that make cheating much more likely, and they’re pretty easy to guess. If you’re in a situation where you’re spending a lot of time around very attractive people, of course the risk of infidelity is going to go up.

Same with the type of work one does – jobs that involve personal discussion with other people, physical contact with other people, and a lot of isolated alone time with another person carry a higher risk of infidelity. Like working alone with someone at a store. Or a male photographer whose job is to take pictures of beautiful models.

One risk factor includes living environment – people who live in urban areas are more likely to cheat than less populated areas – due to both the more uninhibited attitudes towards sex common in cities as well as the greater concentration of population.

Another risk factor is when the gender ratio is unbalanced, and there are far more men in a workplace than women – or vice versa.

So with that said…

What’s the best way to stop cheating from destroying your relationship?

The best first step you can take to protecting your relationship from infidelity is to have a frank and honest talk with your partner about your definitions of infidelity.

Nail down exactly what both you and your partner consider cheating – you both have to agree on what kind of behavior is cheating. That way, you both know the boundaries on the relationship so you don’t inadvertently hurt your partner, or vice versa.

That, plus having open, honest lines of communication in your relationship, are the two best ways to prevent infidelity. When you can honestly talk about what you’re dissatisfied with, as well as agree on which behaviors are acceptable and which are not, you’re much less likely to experience infidelity in any way in your relationship.

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In summary…

Here Are The Reasons Why People Cheat

  • Less empathetic, agreeable, and conscientious people cheat because of their personality
  • People who have a less rigid personal value system are more likely to cheat
  • Men are slightly more likely to cheat than women
  • People cheat when their needs are not being met in the relationship
  • People cheat because a situation arises in their life that they are unable to resist

why do people cheat

If you loved this article, then check out these other must-see related posts:

Why People Cheat In Relationships

Why Women Cheat

Why Do Good People Cheat?

70 comments… add one
  • Kakai August 7, 2018, 5:13 am

    All men cheat and no one can tell me that there is a honesty man even though u get him ready handed, he will deny it

    • Brigitte Tofaily April 30, 2020, 9:13 am

      Not all men cheat
      Im marry. Since 9 years
      . and my husband never cheat on me

  • Nemo April 12, 2017, 3:30 pm

    Cheating is natural marriage is not.

  • Danelle January 25, 2017, 1:31 pm

    U know what is the sad part. being with someone for 4 years, he has cheated in the first month. A year in the relationship he askes a other girl if the can be together and u are the one reading the messages and when u confronted him, he just said that he wanted to see if you would fight for him. he looks at other girls. he says other girls are pretty in front of he. he says how he imagine how the girls would be like in bed. and the you are aiming for 4 years and u find out that he did it again. he asked a other girl if they could be together. that just sucks. and he’s saying im the one thats cheating, his saying im the one thats hiding something, his the one that goes out alot. luke alot !!! at night he comes late, his phone is off.. and guess what, when he comes back home and i ask where has he been. he just says with friends and his phone wasn’t with him.

  • Dorothy Horan January 6, 2016, 2:57 pm

    There are way more reasons that I have heard in my life than just these three, but they are the most commong!

  • Karen Moses January 5, 2016, 10:03 pm

    There are some real bad stories about how cheating turned into a worse situation when revenge was brought into the picture.

  • Melissa Scott January 4, 2016, 9:34 pm

    I don’t buy it. NO reason is good enough.

    • Shannon Cox January 6, 2016, 3:25 pm

      You got that right, any man that thinks he CAN cheat on a woman is just a piece of crap.

  • Linda Kuntz January 1, 2016, 10:16 am

    It is not really fair to think that men will cheat more just because they have more testosterone. That does not make any sense to me.

  • Cheryl Snead December 31, 2015, 9:01 am

    They cheat because they want something better. They go out and get it and then when they realize it is not better, they come crawling back to you and that is when you kick them in the balls.

  • Amelia Sims December 31, 2015, 8:52 am

    I have never been cheated on, but my friends that have go through so much crap that I would not want that to ever happen to me :)

    • Juanita Rivera January 5, 2016, 10:12 pm

      Keep on wishing, it happens to all of us at some point.

  • Pauline Valles December 29, 2015, 8:41 am

    I always felt that the person that is doing the cheating, guys or girls, was feeling they were not hurting anyone and they most likely wouldn’t care if it happened to them.

  • Amy Nantz December 28, 2015, 1:26 pm

    There are a lot of good comments here, but for me it comes down to trust and respect.

    • Betty Mueller January 1, 2016, 10:31 am

      I agree. IF you cannot trust and respect the person that you are with and end up cheating on them, you need to end the relationship quickly.

      • Karin May 3, 2017, 12:10 pm

        Agree Betty. I have packed my belongings. I’m out! Once a cheater always a cheater. Not even shy to tell me he cheated on his wife secretely for 20 years.

  • Ilene Seymore December 28, 2015, 1:12 pm

    Sometimes you are in a situation where you think that is the only way out. I have seen it before with a friend of mine and it was not a pretty site to see.

    • Cassandra Styer January 4, 2016, 9:43 pm

      No it isn’t. There too many people that can get hurt in that situation.

  • Lisa Morelli December 27, 2015, 9:32 am

    Like most of the comments here, I do not buy any reason given. It is disrepectful.

    • Kenneth Goldberg December 29, 2015, 8:49 am

      It goes both ways, right? I mean, not ONLY men cheat!

  • Donna Gordon December 26, 2015, 12:19 pm

    Talk it out. If there is something not right about your relationship, it should come out in discussion before it is too late.

    • Zaida Cintron January 4, 2016, 9:43 pm

      One would hope that talking it out would certainly help.

  • Heather See December 24, 2015, 12:24 pm

    This comes down to being true to yourself.

    • Jana Glover December 26, 2015, 12:35 pm

      You hit the nail right on the head!

  • Tina Logan December 23, 2015, 9:54 am

    I think people sometimes use cheating as a way to end a relationship instead of just being honest with the other person.

  • Mildred Washington December 22, 2015, 12:59 pm

    There should be no reason to cheat, if you are not happy with your relationship, just get out of it, right?

    • Shannon Wilson December 30, 2015, 9:37 am

      You are right. Any reason would be an excuse in my book.

  • Mable Doyle December 22, 2015, 12:48 pm

    CHeating is never good and for those that do it regularly, shame on you!

  • Marian Stepp December 19, 2015, 8:41 am

    I have yet to hear ANY good reason why a person is going to cheat on their spouse.

    • Stacy Kim December 27, 2015, 9:42 am

      I feel the same way!

  • Sheri Diebold December 19, 2015, 8:32 am

    I hate cheaters. They are the worst. Even if it is not happening to me, but a friend, I just do not even want to hear it.

    • Scott Stelly December 24, 2015, 12:34 pm

      Yeah they are and the men that are doing it all the time are the ones that give guys like me a bad name. I never cheated on anyone, but have been cheated on and it hurts.

  • Gwen Berman December 18, 2015, 5:28 pm

    People that cheat are really only thinking about one thing and that happens to be themselves.

  • Nancy Setliff December 17, 2015, 4:37 pm

    I was with a man that cheated on my all the time. By the time that I figured it out, it was almost a year later and that was painful.

  • Nancy McFarland December 16, 2015, 1:06 pm

    I am on the same exact page Edith. Good point!

  • Katherine Jones December 16, 2015, 12:58 pm

    When it comes to cheating, I have no problem sending a man on his way. that is just disrespectful

    • Betty Pridgen December 18, 2015, 5:40 pm


  • Terry McGarry December 15, 2015, 9:51 am

    Do you think that religion really makes a difference when someone is cheating? I do not see how that plays into things.

    • Ann Beckley December 17, 2015, 4:52 pm

      I was also stumped by this one. However, could it refer to some religions that allow for more than one wife?

  • Roosevelt Foore September 5, 2015, 3:11 am

    Yes, more people than ever before are cheating. With the internet it’s easier than ever to find an outside partner, to explore erotic interests, or to find sexual stimulation with someone other than your spouse or committed partner.

  • Jean Price August 13, 2015, 5:51 pm

    Thank you for this post. I have been going around and around with my girlfriends about this exact topic. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jestine   August 12, 2015, 9:56 am

    Cheating is not good regardless of the reason or the person or whatever. It comes with another, deeper seeded problem that needs to be discussed between the two in the relationship.

  • Virginia Clark August 12, 2015, 9:43 am

    I have cheated on a guy out of spite for sure! Then I leave the guy and am all like “whatever, dude”. He got what he deserved.

    • Gail Orr December 15, 2015, 10:02 am

      Well, I think that we have all been there done that, or at least thought about doing it.

  • Betty Gonzalez August 11, 2015, 9:24 am

    People have their own reasons alright. I just hate it when they are trying to justify them with me. You messed up and it is NOT right, or OK!

  • Michelle King August 7, 2015, 9:41 pm

    I hate cheaters. I do not care if you ever cheated on me or someone else in your life, you can go away if you think cheating is remotely acceptable.

    • Diane Lunn December 30, 2015, 9:44 am

      me too. They ruin the names of people that will never cheat in their lives.

  • Nikita   August 7, 2015, 9:30 pm

    Are these the only reasons? I need to know quickly because I am not sure if my b/f is cheating or not, it is very hard to tell.

    • Mildred Martin August 13, 2015, 4:49 pm

      There is always a reason, especially when you are dealing with a liar.

  • Hattie Laforge   August 7, 2015, 8:18 am

    I always thought that if I could have a straight forward conversation with my partner that we could get the cheating thing figured out before it happened. So, I did that. I thought it was a great idea and it helped, for the first two years. Then BOOM, “I’m not into you anymore” comes a long. Now what?

  • Hattie Laforge   August 6, 2015, 9:28 pm

    You know what?!? Screw cheaters and all that jazz. They mess with everyone’s heads and just make things worse for everyone!

    • Dorothy Strong December 23, 2015, 10:03 am

      I agree. They can all burn in hell. I am not talking about just the guys either. Women that do the same give the good folks out there a bad name.

  • Melba Books   August 5, 2015, 12:15 pm

    Bad reasons. There is no good reason, but if you had to break it down, I guess these would be on the list. I have been cheated on many times and I am not sure if it is ME or the guys that I pick. What do you think?

  • Katy   August 5, 2015, 12:03 pm

    I can see why someone would cheat because of a situation they are in. Maybe broken from a past relationship or even just trying to get revenge on a person that has cheated on them.

    • Myrtle Jennings August 11, 2015, 9:33 am

      I am not sure why anyone would think this is OK. I do not want to be a part of a relationship that is full of revenge from someone else!

  • Carolina Tacey   August 3, 2015, 1:11 pm

    IF you can both be TRUE to each other with love and respect, there is no reason that cheating would even be involved in your relationship, right?

    • Lila Lasch   August 7, 2015, 8:30 am

      That is what I would hope for!

  • Cyrstal Muth   August 3, 2015, 10:18 am

    I don’t really like any of these “reasons”. My b/f of 5 years cheated on me and all he said was that he was bored with me and needed something “new”. How I am supposed to feel about that?

  • Claire Kirwan   August 1, 2015, 12:24 pm

    As said as it is, these are some of the reasons. It is too bad that a person cannot just be happy with what they have.

  • Thuy Alas   July 31, 2015, 12:33 pm

    Bad reasons, plain and simple. If you want to love, do NOT cheat.

    • Lila Lasch   August 6, 2015, 9:40 pm

      Yes. It is simple, but it does happen and I would prefer to hear a reason better than “um, I don’t know”, next time it happens to me.

  • Wanda Dickens July 31, 2015, 12:20 pm

    I guess if I was with a man and I was not sure how to break it off with him, I might cheat on him. Does that make me a bad person or partner?

    • June Reese August 10, 2015, 7:40 pm

      I think so. It does not take much to sit the person down and have a talk with them if you are not interested. It is just more mature.

  • Debbie Jackson July 30, 2015, 1:36 pm

    I would gladly say that it might be some mental thing, but I just have a hard time buying that. If respect and love are there, the cheating does NOT come along.

  • Elizabeth Bower July 30, 2015, 1:24 pm

    Cheat because of politics? Boy that would be a hard argument to win with me…just saying!

    • Eleonore Vankeuren   August 1, 2015, 12:34 pm

      LOL, yea, that is a good one!

  • Wanda Terry July 29, 2015, 2:22 pm

    People cheat for their own reasons, right? I mean, do you realize that so many people cheat because they feel they are entitled to better? What sort of crap is that about?

  • Julia Stewart July 29, 2015, 2:10 pm

    Great reasons! NOT! In my book, there is NEVER a good reason to cheat.

  • Audrey Burgess July 28, 2015, 11:25 am

    I am not sure I would like to justify ANY form of cheating or the reasons behind it, but you do make very good points. I just wish that more people would understand there is a TYPE of person that cheats and that does NOT mean ALL cheat!

  • Samantha McGrath July 28, 2015, 11:13 am

    Everyone has their own reasons of course. NONE of them make it right, however. If you are not in love with your partner, just tell them.

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