Why Men and Women Cheat?

Reasons related to the spouse of the cheater

Unhappy relationship

I have heard many times of people who are leaving their spouse because they have not been feeling happy in their relationship. Wife or husband may not have been at all aware that their spouse has been unhappy and separation may come to them as shock. This is very sad situation.

If there are problems in a relationship, the least one can do is to let the husband or wife know about the problem, so that the spouse could at list try to do something to improve relationship. If husband or wife is not even aware that there is a problem, there is no way ever to fix it. Honesty is always the best, even if it sometimes is unpleasant to tell the truth. If relationship is unhappy, the threshold for cheating is greatly decreased. Therefore, the best way to prevent cheating from happening in a first place is to take good care of relationship, show love and appreciation towards one’s wife or husband and keep relationship fresh.

If cheating occurred because of unsolved problems in relationship, good news is that there is something that can be done to rescue relationship. Often the cheater is also feeling bad due to cheating. If cheating happened under this kind of circumstances, it can perhaps be better understood by the cheated spouse than if cheating took place when everything was ok in relationship. If cheating spouse wants to continue relationship, relationship has better chances to heal, when cheated spouse is aware of the reasons behind cheating. When those things which made relationship unhappy are resolved, there is a good possibility that cheating will not occur again.

Relationship which has become a routine

If cheating occurs due to the fact that relationship has become a routine, cheating is often more difficult to forget and forgive than if cheating occurs because relationship is unhappy or has some serious problems. If there are clearly recognizable problems in relationship which led to cheating, it is easier for cheated spouse to understand why cheating took place. Understanding is required for forgiveness. If cheating took place because of mere boredom in relationship, cheated spouse may feel that cheater did not even bother to put effort into making relationship “fresh” again, but chose instead to cheat. In this case cheating is much more difficult to forget and forgive.

Relationship in which there was no love to begin with

Sometimes people end up marrying or into a relationship with someone who they do not truly love from all their heart. Often these people let spouse to believe there is love even if there is not, in order to keep wife or husband happy. There are many different reasons why people can end up in a relationship without love. Sometimes financial factors play a role, sometimes people simply do not want to be alone and want companionship even if they do not feel they are “head over heels” in love.

If there is no love in relationship, the threshold for cheating can be very low. The exact threshold depends on personality of spouse, who is not in love. There are people who have such a high moral values that even if they are not in love with their husband or wife, they do not cheat no matter what happens. Then there are people who would not cheat only for the sake of sex, but if they get emotionally involved with someone, then cheating can occur. In a relationship without love there is always a danger that the spouse who is not feeling love towards wife or husband suddenly falls in love with someone else and simply cannot resist the feeling but ends up cheating and eventually leaving his or her spouse.

Reasons not related to the spouse of the cheater

Personality which makes cheating possible

Sad fact is that some people simply are of cheating type. This has nothing to do with their wife or husband. Even if they have incredibly beautiful wife or handsome husband, they still end up cheating. These people need excitement and adrenaline which cheating provides. When things start to become a routine, they get bored. When this happens, the threshold for cheating has significantly decreased and if these people meet a person who pleases them and who is willing to get into relationship with them, they might end up cheating.

The difference between people who belong to this category and those who belong to narcissistic category (see below) is that people who are merely looking for excitement without being narcissistic are capable of realizing that they have done wrong. They are capable of feeling quilt and compassion towards their husband or wife. This does not necessarily prevent them from cheating. But since they can feel compassion and quilt, they are often suffering themselves as a consequence of cheating, unlike narcissistic person. If cheating spouse realizes he or she has done wrong, there is a chance that relationship can be healed, if cheating spouse apologizes and takes all necessary actions to prevent cheating from occurring again and helps in every possible way the cheated spouse to regain trust again. It is rocky and long road for both cheating husband or wife and cheated spouse, but recovery is possible, unlike in case of narcissistic spouse (below).

Narcissistic personality

Narcissists are often cheaters. This is not surprising since narcissists are only thinking of themselves and have no sense of quilt, even if narcissists know they are doing wrong. Narcissists have amazing ability to turn things around in their mind in such a way that whatever a narcissist does, is seems (to a narcissist) to be the right thing to do under those circumstances.

I have known a narcissist, who had a secret relationship with another woman for several years while a narcissist was still married. The lover asked a narcissist to get a divorce several times, but a narcissist delayed the divorce because he was reluctant to let go of his wife. Then the wife of a narcissist found out about this other woman accidentally. This finally led to divorce between a narcissist and his wife, and a narcissist started an open relationship with his lover.

Later on a narcissist has twisted things in his mind in such a way that the story is almost unrecognizable. Nowadays when a narcissist is telling this story to someone, a narcissist presents things in such a way that he actually did honorable and respectable thing when he left his wife. According to a narcissist, he left his wife because it was right thing to do towards the wife, since a narcissist was in a relationship with another woman. According to a narcissist, it “would not have been right towards my wife to continue the marriage, because I was with this other woman”. A narcissist seems to have completely forgotten the fact that he stayed with his wife for several years while he was in a relationship with another woman and only left her when she found out about the other woman. It is amazing how narcissists can twist reality to fit to their needs. They need to see themselves in good light, respectable and honorable people, as they want others to see them.


Often cheating occurs as a result of a combination of several different reasons. In the end the personality is critical factor. We have pretty good ability to recognize those who are not trustworthy. Many times wife or husband is suspecting cheating, but if there is no proof, one starts to doubt one’s instincts. However, normally suspicions of cheating do not arise without reason. If you have a feeling that something is not right in your relationship, do not ignore that feeling. Always trust your instincts.

I have written down the results of my literature search and some of my personal experiences of how to recover and heal after cheating. The human brain is an amazing device. It is possible to teach the brain to work in new ways, in same fashion as it is possible to train the body to move in new way while learning to ride a bicycle, to dance etc. Proper training can help you to control your negative emotions related to cheating instead of letting your emotions control you. You can read more about this topic from page Healing after Cheating.

If you wish, you can read more about the content of this website and about my background from page Site Overview or go to other sections by clicking Main Menu links (left bar).

Related Articles