10 things no one tells you about the way cheaters think, according to psychologists:
1. They Might Fear Conflict
A cheater might turn to unfaithfulness since they are terrified of getting into a quarrel over something that has been troubling them. Cheating, then, is an outlet for these frustrations without having to address them in a way that might be intense.
“People cheat often out of fear of facing conflict,” Dr. Klapow says. “They know there are problems in the relationship. They have dabbled with addressing them. They don’t see a change, but they don’t know how to dive in deep with their partner to address conflicts in the relationship. Cheating allows them to escape.” This aspect can help explain why they would do something seemingly outside of the best interest of the relationship.
2. They Might Fear Confrontation
When someone cheats, there’s a pretty good chance they’ve got issues they’re dealing with, but are using cheating as an outlet instead of confronting a more serious issue in the relationship.
“People also cheat out of [anger and] avoidance,” Dr. Klapow says. “They are frustrated in their relationship. They feel like their partner doesn’t care, doesn’t listen, doesn’t support them […] In an act of defiance but also avoidance of the problem at hand — the person cheats. So instead of directly confronting the problem they avoid it and act out by cheating.” This does not excuse cheating, but can provide insight into the kind of personalities most inclined towards cheating.
3. They Feel Hopeless
Sometimes, cheating is not the behavior of someone who is angry, but somebody who is feeling out-of-control, or in despair.
“People cheat out of hopelessness,” Dr. Klapow says. “In some cases, the person feels there is nothing left. They have given up, but they don’t want to put an end to the relationship often for logistic reasons (money, kids, lifestyle).” In these cases, the person they’re cheating with can feel like a point of comfort and security when everything else feels out of control.
4. They See Cheating As A Last-Ditch Effort
Sometimes, a person who cheats sees their behavior as a piece of a puzzle to save their relationship. They may think that cheating will be what keeps things together.
“People cheat to keep the relationship together,” Dr. Klapow says, ” They like things about the relationship; they love things about their partner (e.g. they are responsible, trustworthy, good providers, nurturing) but there are other aspects that are not there. The person doesn’t want to leave but doesn’t know how to pull these other qualities out.” It’s not
5. S3x May Just Be Part Of The Equation
Another way a cheater might see infidelity as a means to fix a relationship is if they begin looking for s3xual gratification outside their relationship.
“For some, cheating is about getting s3x that is not in the relationship,” Dr. Klapow says. “It may be the type of s3x, the style of s3x, the frequency of s3x or the feeling of s3x. It may be to address arousal that is not being met in the relationship. It can be physical and purely physical.” This kind of single-reason cheating is rare, however, and most people are also dealing with relationship conflict of some sort. Moreover, for non-monogamous relationships, this sort of exploration makes sense. Sometimes, people need more than one person can give them. But for infidelity, this behavior is going to hurt people in the long-run.