They say 'once a cheater, always a cheater,' but the truth is there are a lot of reasons people cheat on their significant other. Some people cheat once, and never do it again, while others are serial cheaters. One thing is for sure though-- cheating damages relationships, a lot of the time beyond repair. So, why do people do it, even when they know the consequences? Some people have to learn the hard way.
Some argue that human beings aren't built for monogamy, while others think that's just an excuse to rationalize bad behavior. But unconventional arrangements like open relationships are on the rise, so maybe one day cheating won't be the guaranteed relationship killer it has been in the past. For now, here are 15 things you might not have known about infidelity.
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According to science, there are three different kinds of love. Sex drive refers to how often a person wants sex, romantic love is what makes us direct all our attention towards one person, and attachment is about the level of security we feels towards someone that motivates us to stay with them long term. That means it's possible for someone to feel romantic love for one person and still be sexually attracted to someone else. Just because someone cheats on their long term partner doesn't mean they don't still love them. Which makes motivations for cheating and the consequences of an affair a lot more complicated than you think it is.
14 Rock n' roll fans are most likely to cheat
Not to make generalizations, but researchers in the UK found that 41% of people who have cheated list rock music as their favorite genre. Coming in next was pop music at 16%, country music at 11%, classical music at 7%, and hip hop at 2%. Of course, that's only one tiny aspect of someone's personality, and it should be taken with a grain of salt. Unless they are the groupie type, music preference probably isn't a solid indication of a cheater.
13 When a woman cheats, it's more likely to end the relationship
The stereotype that men are more likely to cheat persists even though cheating is definitely not reserved for one gender over the other. But surveys have found that 57% of women who cheat report feeling love for their side piece, while only 27% of men say they have feelings for their mistress. Women cheat because they're looking for an emotional connection that they aren't getting in their relationship, which means if they find it, they're more likely to leave their current partner for someone else. More often, men are just looking for no strings attached sex, and to them, an affair doesn't have to be anything more than that.
12 Cheaters aren't necessarily unhappy in their relationships
Male or female, most people don't cheat because they're looking for an exit strategy from their current relationship. They might be perfectly happy with their significant other, but an opportunity to cheat comes up, they think they'll never get caught, and they take it. A Rutger's University study found that 56% of men who have affairs claim to be happily married. Once a relationship starts to settle into a routine and get comfortable, people crave the excitement of having sex with someone new, which is what motivates them to stray.
11 Cheating makes people friskier in general
If someone has gotten used to not getting any, their sex drive might go into hibernation. But as soon as they start getting sex outside of their relationship, their libido will wake up, making them want sex even more. That means they'll get friskier with their significant other as well as with the person they're cheating with. A sudden change in sex drive could be a red flag because getting more sex has a way of making people want it more too.
10 Women are more likely to cheat when they're ovulating
On a purely biological level, women have a higher sex drive when they're ovulating because their body is in prime condition for pregnancy. That means, if she isn't getting sex from her significant other, she's more likely to be interested in looking elsewhere, even if she's never really thought about cheating before. That doesn't necessarily means she follows through with the urge, but it might still cross her mind for a couple days every month.
9 People usually cheat with someone they know
Despite the supposed popularity of affair-finding websites like Ashley Madison, research shows that people are more likely to cheat with someone they already know. 85% of people cheat with someone they work with, which isn't surprising since we all spend eight hours a day at work, plus extra time for work-related events. The opportunity to get to know someone in an innocent way is there every day, and sexual tension can grow until it becomes unbearable. There is also plenty of opportunity to see a co-worker without your significant other suspecting a thing.
8 Cheaters want to get caught
Research suggests that some affairs could be a cry for help. Constantly sneaking around and lying to your significant other might be exciting at first, but after awhile it can get exhausting and the guilt catches up to some people. They want to stop, but they don't know how. According to one theory, some cheaters might actually hope their affair will help rejuvenate their relationship. Many cheaters aren't overly concerned with being found out, and that leads to leaving obvious clues, like text messages or emails, for their significant other to find.
7 Cheating has many definitions
There are different levels of cheating and everyone considers different things a betrayal. To some, just a kiss is unforgivable. To others, emotional cheating is worse than anything physical. A lot of people are a lot more upset about their partner lying to them and sneaking around than they are about the actual sex. The point is betrayal isn't a one size fits all thing, and the only way to know if you've gone too far is to communicate with your partner and care about each other enough not to cross their lines.
6 Social media is an affair breeding ground
Reconnecting with old flames and keeping in touch with people is a lot easier these days thanks to social media. It's also easier to meet friends of friends and find yourself attracted to people you've never even met, which can lead to feeling like there's a lot of fish in the sea you're missing out on if you're in a relationship. One study found that using Facebook too much makes it easy to start down a path towards emotional and then physical cheating. People don't think they're doing anything wrong by chatting with an old flame, but then they take things too far before they realize the damage they could be doing to their relationship.
5 People who fake it are more likely to be cheaters
Most women have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives, usually because they want to spare their partner's feelings or because they just want to be done having sex sooner rather than later. One study found that women fake an orgasm 1 in 5 times, while men fake it 1 in 20 times. Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a psychologist from Harvard University, said ‘The more orgasms a woman had faked, the more likely she was to have cheated previously and the greater her likelihood of cheating again. The study also found that men are more likely to remain faithful to a woman who orgasms regularly, which could be an ego thing.
4 Blonde women cheat the most
Another statistic to take with a grain of salt is the findings of one survey conducted by CheaterVille.com. The website found that 42% of cheating women had blonde hair. That was followed by redheads at 23%, brunettes at 20% and black haired women at 11%. The same data didn't hold true for men though since 40% of brunette men admitted to cheating. But the study didn't take into account whether participants hair color was natural or dyed.
3 Many couples stay together despite cheating
To many, an affair means a relationship is over, no questions asked. But in reality, things are usually a lot more complicated than that. A lot of people are willing to work on their relationship even after their affair is found out. It depends on the reasons for cheating and how willing each partner is to work on the relationship. Forgiveness is never easy after a betrayal, but if both partners are willing to try, an affair can make a relationship even stronger than it was before.
2 Revenge affairs don't work
If you think evening the score by cheating on a partner who cheated on you first will reset your relationship and get it back to normal, you're very mistaken. Just like two wrongs don't make a right, two affairs will only make creating trust and and mutual respect in your relationship even harder. More cheating will only distract you from working on the problems in your relationship. If you can't forgive your partner without getting even first, your relationship isn't a healthy one and it's better to break up and go your separate ways.
1 Emotional cheating can be just as damaging
Some people think that as long as they don't cross any lines physically, they're being faithful. But if you're spending a lot of time with someone, telling them intimate things about your life, you think about them often, and maybe even feel like you need to hide how close you are with that person, you're probably crossing the line into an emotional affair. It's harder to identify when that happens because you consider them just a friend, but the truth is, your connection with that person is taking away from your connection with your significant other. One study even found that two-thirds of women would be more hurt by an emotional affair than a physical one.