Let's talk about why people cheat. Today’s world is much different than it was even a decade ago. Social media, technology, online hook up apps and other factors have taken affairs to a whole new level.
It used to be the office affair, the neighbor or the random person you met out or at the store, but today the web has opened up an entirely new world of cheating.
This isn’t something only men do anymore as women are getting more involved in extramarital affairs. This discussion is going to dive into why people cheat so that if you are questioning your spouse in this arena, perhaps this will shed some light.
What is an affair? There we find numerous stories and reasons to answer that question on why people cheat. Many can fall into the category of filling a need that wasn’t being met, not compatible, not in love, lack of communication, etc. All in all, they are expressions of people seeking something!
There is no age or time frame to begin having an affair. Regardless of whether someone has been married for thirty days or thirty years, some people have a difficult time staying away from an extramarital relationship making it hard to understand why people cheat on each other.
We can't give a distinct number as to how many married individuals are cheating on their spouses, but many studies have demonstrated that more than 33% of men and around one-fourth of ladies confess to having had no less than one extramarital sexual act. Many of these affairs can fall under "emotional disloyalty" - where a spouse takes part in a close (yet not sexual) companionship with an individual. That’s how many affairs start.
Here’s how one story might go on why people cheat…
A person might grow tired of their spouse or missing something from their marriage, so they begin getting pulled in another direction by someone showing them attention. Perhaps this particular new person has been known for a considerable length of time, and it's so natural to talk.
This new individual just tunes in and listens and does all the things they aren’t getting from their spouse, thereby making them feel important and wanted. Quite soon the sharing of close issues begins and now the co-worker or new friend begins to share how they have been experiencing struggles in their marriage.
Eventually this new individual expresses a way out which is to simply leave their partner. This is done by continually building trust and connection via the conversations they have at work or wherever they know one another. Through these talks true feelings are uncovered for one another as now their emotional connection builds and eventually turns to a more physical connection.
Of course not all office relationships or new friendships end up in an affair and not all undertakings begin at work, but this exhibits behavior that would have anyone nervous that there is more than a simple work relationship or even friendship as signs start to appear.
Signs such as your spouse is constantly talking about this new, funny guy at work for example. In fact, this is what happened to my first marriage and the office affair is still alive and well to this day.
Attention. Marriage is hard work and it is very easy to begin taking one another for granted or losing attraction to each other. This is due to things such as daily life, raising kids, not focusing on each other, letting yourself go, etc.
When you begin to get attention from someone other than your spouse that is a huge ego boost for both men and women. What is not happening at home is now happening and even though you know it is wrong, it feels good to feel that way again. It’s very natural to gravitate toward someone who shows interest in you and before you know it, some sort of affair is taking place.
Sexual needs are not being met or things are stale in bed. Sex is one of those desires that can be animalistic in nature and causes us to use areas of our brain that are primitive.
We want it, crave it and need it so we’ll do anything at times to go after it and a source of why people cheat. This is where communication inside the marriage is critical around this area so each person understands the other’s desires and is able to reciprocate. When this area becomes less than stellar or non-existent people start to consider other options.
They are simply attracted to another person. There is that feeling of being alive and they don’t necessarily understand these feelings or connection, but people have said this is one reason they have cheated. It could be with a person helping them in some way or a person they look up to.
Sometimes the marriage has gotten so bad that cheating is a simple way to end the relationship. People may fall out of love and not want to hurt their spouse, yet know that cheating is a major deal breaker and this results in an easy ending of the marriage.
Communication or lack thereof. Not being able to open up emotionally and discuss things intimately about sex is a cause for someone to go looking to fill that need elsewhere.
Stopped being intimate. When you get rejected by someone you love that hits hard and you begin to lose confidence. If they are not showing you sexual advances or are turning down yours, then when someone else shows that desire in you, it’s easy to fall into the cheating trap. This definitely a reason why people cheat.
Culture. In this day and age relationships appear to be more open, generations have different viewpoints on sex and marriage and people are almost becoming tolerant of infidelity like it’s a normal thing. We’re also jumping into marriages quickly without truly understanding that marriage takes a lot of work and men and women are very different creatures.
Stopped dating your spouse. It’s easy to come home after a long day of work and cook dinner, spend time with the kids (if applicable), drink a beer or wine and watch some T.V. What’s not easy is continuously courting your spouse even after fifty years. It’s easy to do this when you are first starting out because the excitement is there, you justify the expenses and know that you want to be with this person.
As you get more into the marriage you stop making this a priority, but guess what someone else will easily come along and do these things to spark that excitement in your spouse. Before you know it, an affair has begun and you're left wondering why people cheat.
Grown apart. People who have been married for many years tend to fall into this trap. They don’t do things together anymore, they are very different people at the core and stop trying to make one another happy or do things they know the other likes and vice versa.
Eventually this can lead to boredom and other things inside the marriage causing one or both to look for the excitement again elsewhere in someone they may have things in common with. Nobody wants to feel dead while they are alive and this is a major reason why people cheat.
One major sign is if your relationship started as an affair then that is a red flag that it may happen again. This shows they don’t have a moral code for it like you might. Look at their history and family history and how normal cheating is to them.
Are they constantly worried about you cheating even if you have shown no reasons for it? Are they very critical of you? Both signs of potential cheating from the other side.
They are doing things out of the norm or have new interests – paying more attention to their looks, spending more money, working out, texting or on the phone a lot and paying absolutely no attention to you are all potential signs. Maybe they are more adventurous in bed whereas they were not like this prior.
They don’t seem to care about things that they cared about before – i.e. typical relationship issues disappear. Things that bothered you before, but you knew they cared, they are showing no signs of care anymore and you find yourself wondering why.
Stories they tell you start to raise red flags. They forget what stories they have told you, who they were with during a specific situation, etc.
They know your schedule very well and keep tabs on it. For example, if they know you will be in a meeting until 8pm then that gives them a time frame to make something happen. You'll be left to hold the bag figuring out why people cheat and why it happened to you.
What to Do Once You Suspect…
You can either confront your spouse to have a conversation to see if they will be honest with you or you’ll have to start to pull some detective work if you must know the truth before you decide what to do.
Your other option is to start to show up as a man and look at your relationship. Be fully honest with yourself. Write down all the things you believe to be wrong from your end (not wrong with them, but what you have/have not been doing). Then sit your spouse down and indicate that you have screwed up, but need help understanding where things went wrong. Allow them to open up.
Don’t get defensive – just listen and then put a plan together on what you can do on a daily basis to be there, do more, suck less. You may never know if they cheated or not, but if you do the work in your marriage, I can guarantee things can turn around.
Many times people cheat because something is broken in the relationship. This isn’t always the case, but we humans have needs we want to fill and if those feelings/emotions/desires are not being met we will eventually seek them somehow.
At the point of finding out you have two options; divorce or try to work it out. You can actually become stronger as individuals and a couple of you are able to listen, understand the reasons behind the affair, commit to bettering yourself and your relationship and grow together in unity. That is a tough conversation and decision both in your own internal mind and externally with your spouse.
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