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8 Reasons People Cheat in Relationships

These reasons why people cheat in relationships include a list of when spouses are most likely to have an affair. If you’re worried about cheating, it’s important to arm yourself with the facts.

Why People Cheat in Relationships

Why People Cheat

When Good People Have Affairs: Inside the Hearts and Minds of People in Two Relationships by Mira Kirshenbaum is a good book to read if you’re experiencing cheating and want to know why affairs happen. I like the title because it reminds me that cheating doesn’t necessarily mean people are evil or bad. It means they made a really bad choice and betrayed their marriage vows, yes. Can you be a good person and cheat on your wife? It’s a complicated question – and I like that the book tackles it.

Is Your Husband Cheating? 5 Signs He’s Having an Affair has been one of my most popular articles since the dawn of time. But today I realized that there are certain times in the cycle of a marriage that spouses are more likely to cheat. So, here I want to answer the question “why do people cheat in relationships” with a list of reasons for having affairs. Then I’ll describe when people are more likely to stray.

Why People Cheat in Relationships

An affair is seldom the result of one single cause. Why people cheat depends on their personality, background, family history, and lifestyle. Here are the most common reasons for cheating in a relationship…

An affair can be:

  • The result of anger towards the partner
  • An attempt to find intimacy, excitement, or passion that’s lacking in the marriage
  • The result of a fear of intimacy in marriage
  • An attempt to find a way out of an unhappy relationship
  • The result of a fear of getting older
  • The consequence of growing up in a family in which cheating was “normal”
  • A result of addiction issues
  • An effort to fix the marriage

If you have experienced cheating in your relationship and you don’t know if you should try to save it, read When to End a Relationship. It might help you see your marriage or partner more clearly, which can help you decide if the affair is the end of your relationship.

The Most Common Times People Cheat

Knowing when people – both husbands and wives, men and women – are most likely to cheat can help you understand why affairs happen. This is good for both prevention and understanding why people cheat in relationships…

Husbands and wives often cheat shortly after getting married

In Making Marriage Work for Dummies, the couple marriage counseling team Simrings say, “We know of spouses who started cheating months – even weeks after the wedding ceremony (as well as some who cheat during the engagement). People in this category often experience a kind of buyer’s remorse, a feeling that sometimes kicks in before they even walk down the aisle.” During the early stages of marriage, spouses may wonder if they made the right choice. This is a reason why people cheat in relationships: they are scared they married the wrong person.

Two reasons why husbands or boyfriends cheat after a baby is born

It’s never easy to forgive your husband for having an affair, but it may be easier to understand cheating when you are aware of the stress a new family brings. There are financial, psychological, and emotional pressures after a baby is born. Sometimes this is a reason why people cheat in relationships.

“Some men are upset because their wives seem to be giving them less emotional attention,” writes the Simrings. “They end up feeling as if they’re in competition with the new baby. Under the circumstances, it can be far easier for a man to find a lover than to try to deal with all the problems at home.” Of course, a baby is never an acceptable reason for having an affair! This is just a more common time and reason why people cheat in relationships.

The seven year itch – a common reason men and women cheat

I didn’t experience this cheating danger zone in my marriage, but I’ve heard it’s quite common.

reasons why people cheat in relationships

8 Reasons Why People Cheat in Relationships

The term “seven year itch” was used as a title for a hit movie in 1957, and has become the reason many marriages falter and even fail. This itch is the result of a deeper examination of one’s self, relationships, family, career, and life. If people feel stuck, they often look at their marriage as the scapegoat.

“It’s hard to leave your job and nearly impossible to overhaul your life in the short run,” writes the marriage counselors in Making Marriage Work for Dummies. “However, it’s relatively easy to find sex outside the marriage – and that’s the course many dissatisfied spouses take.”

Husbands and wives use “midlife crisis” as a reason why cheating happens

This is the most common answer to the “why do people cheat?” question – and it may be because the more mature married partners get, the more likely they are to cheat. Almost 25% of married partners in their 40s have affairs, which is higher than any other age group (except for 18-24 year olds). Middle-aged husbands and wives go through all sorts of emotions, as well as changing sexual appetites, aging, and mortality that can cause emotional angst. This turmoil can set the stage for an affair.

Read Making Marriage Work For Dummies to learn more about creating a healthy marriage. I never like the “for dummies” titles, but the books are often full of very good tips and information. This book in particular is a great resource for building a better relationship and even saving your marriage – as you can probably tell from the quotes, it was the source of these reasons why people cheat in relationships.

If your partner cheated and you want to forgive him, read Can Trust Your Boyfriend After He Cheated? 5 Ways to Tell.

What do you think of these reasons why husbands and wives cheat in relationships? I welcome your thoughts below, but I can’t give advice or counseling about marital infidelity or affairs in relationships.

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8 thoughts on “8 Reasons People Cheat in Relationships”

  1. Inck,

    I totally agree that TV shows, movies, and lots of blogs and websites make cheating in relationships seem okay! And, to make things even worse, they don’t reveal how destructive, painful, and heartbreaking affairs are. Cheating doesn’t just ruin relationships, it literally ruins people’s lives.

    I suppose we have such a cavalier attitude towards affairs because people like reading about them and watching that kind of stuff. Maybe it’s the same reason we keep glorifying top models and movie stars, power and fame. Were focusing on the wrong things in life and it’s destroying us.

    I also think affairs and cheating in relationships are used as entertainment because it’s kind of like when you pass an accident scene… You just can’t seem to tear your eyes away. You know it’s wrong, but you can’t stop looking at it because it’s so horrible.

    I don’t know, but I have found that for me it really helps to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. I’m really careful about the movies that I watch and the books that I read, because I don’t want to be reminded about how bad things can get in the world or in relationships. And I write about painful subjects, but not to encourage people to cheat! Rather my hope is to help women stop glorifying men and relationships, and start glorifying God instead.

    Thanks again for your comments about cheating and relationships… I’d love to hear from you again, so feel free to come back anytime let me know how you are!



  2. I feel tv shows movies even websites make it seem ok to cheat i have found sites such as red hot pie and bad adults where men and women set up profiles happy stating they are married and look for an affair its heart breaking why are we making it ok to cheat
    Why are such sites allowed?

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    No matter how much we know about the reasons why people cheat in relationships, we’re still hurt and devastated when we find out we’ve been betrayed.

    It really hurts, and it does feel like your life is over.

    But is it possible that you’re better off now that you know the truth?

  4. Hi,

    I’ve Been with my boyfriend over 2 years now he was the love my life I gave everything was his personal shopper and secretary as he couldn’t read write English very well he was from Kurdistan so use ask me to do very thing For him ordering online shopping for him & his girls & for his family back home.
    He was the love on my life he had ex wife & 2 girls. He used fix my car he was my mechanic his name was Himdad sewkany based longton stoke on Trent. He told me he ex wife treated like crap & he hated her he only talks to her because if girls… Little I knew at time I find out he was sleeping with his ex wife whilst he was with after she got suspicious she Facebook me asked, I told him about the message he told me she crazy just to ignore her so I did …. After 6 months went by she message me again this time I said to to him if messages me again I will tell the truth & did… This was beginning of was about unfolded.
    She told me he’s does this all time makes out he’s got female friends but he’ll have a relationship at point I couldn’t believe what hearing so I went on his Google account started looking at his pictures realize that he had been going clubbing & having one night stands as saw pictures and location of different hotels in west super mere. My world fell apart I was devastated my life ended at moment in time however I told ex wife that even been with him. What didn’t know at time he was already one step ahead of me. He was telling his ex wife that I was his gym partner & I fell in love with him & I was abscess with him that I was crazy so he playing both of us at same time
    I started to digging into his past by talking to ppl guess What …he’s done this fair few times his targets generally asian woman Muslim mostly because their will no repercussion if he walks away because of family honour most Muslim asian girl won’t say anything or cause a scene.
    Same old story… It’s your fault

  5. i married to an alcoholic ..so alibe and tired i stay away from him as much as possible .. he has alot of anger problems Im done …

  6. I’ve been married 3 yrs goin on 4 have 2 year old goin on 3 and my husband has been staying out late for mre than 4 mnths drinking wen he gets home I tell him to slp in the other room cos I cnt stnd the smell and he normally wnts sex so I refuse and then he starts arguments with me over stupid thngs hits me wen he cums from the road his distant akways avoidng me I knw his cheating I jus haven’t proved it yet and wn I cnfrnt him about it he does laugh nervously evrytime and says I’m not cheatin on u woman I feel like I’m goin insane worst part is his sister got him this woman thru a friend of hers cos she wnts to benefit from his money again I feel like I’m stuck btwn a rock and a hard place and whts mre is he tls me alrdy about a woman she tried stting him up with and nw his saying if he tld me about tht y won’t he tell me this time so I said thts the oldest trick in the book. I feel lost and confused.some woman out their jus dnt giv a danm anymre who they slp with.

  7. It’s heartbreaking to know that we can know why people cheat in relationships, and still not be able to stop it. At some point, we have to realize that some people have reasons of their own for cheating – and they won’t change. We can’t do anything, say anything, or be somehow better so they stop cheating. Why they cheat stops becoming an issue. The fact is that they are cheating…and that means we need to end the relationship.

    My prayer for you is for strength, courage, and wisdom. May you have peace as you decide what to do in your relationship, and may you have clarity as you move forward in your life. And may you know that you are worth more than being in a relationship with someone who cheats.


  8. Every month he is looking for a woman. Yet he is married to a great woman. heis now transporting a female coworker to worn and did not discuss it with his wife and was caught. He did not even apologized. He claims it is innocent, when she calls he deletes her calls and texts, immediately

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