Reasons why your lover is cheating on you

A sad reality that many must face in relationships is that we can’t control what our mates do.  Even though you might do your best to fulfill their needs, ultimately it’s up to them to be faithful or not.  But is fidelity is simple as it seems?  Is it merely just a choice, or are some people more prone to infidelity?  Is there a science behind it?

Well, thanks to the study of many scientists, psychologists, and sociologists, here are 14 studies that have dissected fidelity and the myths that come with it. Remember that all these things are theories, and it’s not indicative of every person that you date/marry.  But, the more you know…

  1. I didn’t see it like that: With the constant knowledge of things that are bad for us, do you ever wonder why some people still smoke, obsessively drink, or binge, knowing what the consequences are?  People are able to do these things due to something called ‘cognitive dissonance.’  This is the act of separating the wrong that you do, and either trivializing it, or justifying it so it doesn’t seem as bad.  This behavior is very prominent in cheaters.

An experiment was published in January 2013 that proved that when people were made to feel bad about their past cheating, they saw it as a bad thing.  But if their behavior was rationalized, they were able to separate themselves from their own bad behavior, leading them with thoughts like:  cheating is bad, but I’m not, because I’m a good person… even though I cheated.

  1. They have an addiction: Within the last decade, people have been using the fact that they have a sex addiction to justify their infidelity.  While some have been skeptical, it actually is an issue for some.  Some people who have sex addictions allow themselves to do very unhealthy things to themselves and their relationships, and there are recovery facilities for those who suffer.

  2. People find them desirable (depending on gender):An experiment was recently conducted by entitled ‘To catch a cheater.’  They set up a number of fake profiles on dating sites and created them with a certain level of fidelity.  Through that, they saw that the profiles of women interested in cheating were hit up more by men, while the male profiles of cheaters were more chastised.

This pointed to the fact that some men merely want just sex, rather than a relationship, which is why the men in the study sought out these ‘taken’ women.

  1. Disappointment: ‘Dating’ site, a site that helps married people find people to cheat on their spouses with, found that their busiest days for signup were the day before Valentine’s Day (for men) and the day after for women.  According to the site: ‘While February 13th – also known as Mistress Day – saw a 271 percent increase in signups, there was actually a 314 percent decrease in signups on Valentine’s Day itself. The most prolific traffic came the day after Valentine’s, as 439% more people signed up to find what’s missing in their marriage.

The huge spike in signups on the 15th was mostly driven by married women: their membership increased by a whopping 977 percent. CEO and founder Noel Biderman says expectations around the holiday drive membership: ‘Mistress Day is all about avoidance. People sign up to avoid the stress they know they will have to face with their spouse the following day.’ He continues, ‘the day after Valentine’s Day is one of our biggest days of the year. People are disappointed by their spouses’ lack of effort, and they feel especially undervalued when there is a societal expectation of romance. Certain days of the year act as litmus tests for many people in relationships.’

  1. Avoidance: According to the same study on the controversial site, the increase of men signing up to find a mistress the day before Valentine’s day was due to the stress that they feel society puts on men to deliver on Valentine’s day.  These men get mistresses to help them cope with the stress that they know they will face the very next day.
  2. It’s in your genes: The good people at Scientific American tried to find a correlation between genetics and infidelity. They found that men who had a variant of the chemical vasopressin have a tendency to have problems of fidelity and in relationships in general.

Further research from Binghamton University, New York also did a study and found that people who had a variation of the chemical DRD4 had a tendency to be unfaithful.  These people also tended to be more open to social situations and taking risks.

  1. You got it from your Mama/Dad: Does anyone else remember that PSA about a man who confronts his son about finding drugs in his closet, and when the father asks him:  ‘Where did you learn this stuff?’  The boy yells:  ‘I learned it from watching you, okay?!’

Good memories! 

That might be true for women. Men cheating have been largely attributed to their evolutionary need to want to spread their seed. This has led scientists to want to understand the rationale of infidelity in women.  A 17-year study was conducted to examine the reason women cheat, and while the conclusion was that women also wanted to ensure a good genetic match for their children, some scientists aren’t convinced.

Some believe that women who are descendants of a cheating father might have inherited that behavior from said parent.

  1. Need for Control: When powerful people are caught cheating, the rationale that usually comes is the fact that the person’s ego was so big that they felt that they were untouchable.  While that’s probably true, another study brought in the idea of control.

If a person is powerful, that person has a tendency to be in control of certain aspects of their lives, namely the talent that got them their power.  Though the person might not actively sit down and plan to cheat, they might go through with it because they believe that they can control the situation.

  1. Performance Anxiety: A study conducted by researchers at Indiana University, Bloomington and the University of Guelph in Ontario found that one reason some people cheat is due to the stress of dealing with the anticipation of having to perform for their mate sexually.  With a person with whom they’re not in a relationship, they tended to not care as much about meeting that person’s needs, allowing them to be more open sexually:

‘It may be that individuals with arousal difficulties feel less pressure to perform sexually with a partner to whom they are not emotionally committed or in a relationship context which is not long- term. In addition, it may be that some individuals want to evaluate if, or believe that, their arousal difficulty is specific to their primary relationship and engage in infidelity for that reason.’

  1. To Fix their Marriage (?): The site decided to ask its users (who are married, by the way) what attempts they made to try to save their marriage, and apparently cheating on their mate was one of them.  I guess, in some way it’s a cry for help/attention?

‘People don’t pursue an affair at the drop of a hat.  We always knew anecdotally that people used to stay in their marriage,’ said Noel Biderman, CEO,  ‘Married people know that sex isn’t the most important thing in a marriage, and they aren’t going to simply or quickly leave. They also aren’t willing to settle for abstinence for the rest of their lives, so that’s when they look for an external solution.’

  1. If the man is financially dependent on the woman: From 2001 to 2007, Christin Munsch, a sociology PhD candidate at Cornell University studied behaviors in heterosexual relationships and the factors that affect fidelity.  She found that men who tended to depend on their female counterpart financially were prone to stepping out on their mates.

Not all under-earning men tended to cheat.  Only those who weren’t on the same education, religious, and social level as their mates.

The correlation seemed to be that the men who were unhappy in a relationship where the women held the reins, money-wise, sought to find happiness outside. Their earning potential was directly correlated to their masculinity.

  1. More money, more opportunity: The exact same study proved proved that men who made more money, regardless of whether or not they had the same level of education, religious beliefs and social status would cheat if the opportunity presented itself.

The more a man tended to make, coupled with increased  opportunity, and lastly, an inflated sense of self, the more likely he would cheat.  But don’t feel defeated, ladies!  Stephanie Coontz, who also participated in the study, had these words of encouragement:

‘The take-home message for me out of this is more encouraging for women: Yes, there are guys who still take advantage. But if you are married to a guy who does work, shares your values and background, is close to the same age, and is a good partner, you should not worry at all if you make more than he does!’

  1. Blinded by beauty:When a person has a risk-taker personality, it seems to be heightened when they are around someone they find attractive.

‘As it turns out, men may become blind to risk when an attractive woman enters the picture. One 2008 study found that men who played blackjack after seeing beautiful female faces took more risk than men who played the game after seeing unattractive faces.’



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