8. They Minimize Their Actions
When cheaters think about what they are doing, or what they’ve done, they often rationalize their actions by minimizing them.
This way, what they’ve done isn’t as big of a deal as it might be to their partner. “[Some of these thoughts include,] ‘It’s just s3x. I can do what I want. After all, it’s just s3x,’ ‘It’s not like we’re married. We’re just dating,’ [or] ‘It was only a quick hook-up. What’s the big deal?'” Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. This way, when the eventual confrontation arises, the cheater may have already been able to convince themselves they were in the right.
9. They Could Have Low Self-Esteem Or Be Narcissistic
Not all cheaters have the same way of viewing things; often, the types of people who cheat are polarized between narcissists and people with extremely low self-esteem.
Both of these types of people, however, might feel a need for an extra boost of love sometimes. “They have a need for attention and to be put on the pedestal,” Dummit says, “Some people have a constant need for attention as a way to validate themselves because they cannot validate themselves from within. They lack a sense of inherent self-worth.” Others, who already see themselves as all-that, want constant reassurance.
10. They Could Be Trying Not To Hurt Their Partner
Sometimes, cheaters think seeking intimacy outside the confines of their relationship might be the best thing to do for the sake of their partner. They may feel guilty about being unsatisfied and are afraid to cause the one they love to feel pain.
“They are not getting what they need out of the relationship, they may feel as if there is no more love or attachment but they don’t want to ‘hurt’ the other person,” Dr. Klapow says. “As absurd as that may sound, the idea of divorce or a break-up may feel too painful. So they seek to get their needs met through cheating. They may have a person who compliments them, listens to them, validates them — gives them everything.” When they find this, they may feel a sort of equilibrium that they lack in the relationship that they love, but no longer feel quite right in.
Cheating is sometimes quite complicated, and the thoughts that go along with infidelity often are too. Whether confident or self-conscious, voracious or unsatisfied, cheaters use their psychology to rationalize their actions just like anyone else. And perhaps understanding these thoughts may also help you better understand their actions.