Grace Ehimare

The Psychology Behind Cheating


When two people come together in a love relationship, they usually do not imagine that someone will come in between the love they feel for each other. No one walks into marriage thinking that they will cheat, yet it is a reality in many relationships in our world today.

The effects of infidelity on a relationship cannot be completely quantified – the heartache, the breach in trust, the pain, the frustration. It injures a vibrant love relationship and rids it of its colors.

One question that the betrayed spouse usually cannot get out of their head is, ‘why?’ What went wrong? Where did they fail? Were they not enough?

Let me start by saying that if you have ever been cheated on, it’s not your fault. No matter what excuse your partner may have to give, you aren’t the problem.

I repeat, no one partner is to blame for a cheating spouse. It was a choice they made, and a selfish one at that. And cheating is selfish because the cheating spouse did not consider how the other person would feel. They knew their actions would have consequences, but they disregarded the sanctity and value of their marriage and did it anyway.

Infidelity is usually a pointer to underlying unhealthy conditions in the relationship or in the lives of individual couples.

Something was going on that wasn’t properly addressed, and so it escalated into one or both partners leaving their matrimonial home to seek respite in the arms of a lover.

It’s most likely that there may have been some subconscious patterns, unhealthy behaviors, and practices that were ignored while these couples were dating or courting.

Some of the signs that a person could cheat are usually glaring but must have been ignored or explained away because they were in love, and their love was blind, as they say.

This is one reason why premarital counseling is an excellent program that couples should opt for before getting married. It will help you sort out things that could be problematic in marriage.

Signs Your Partner Might Cheat On You In Marriage

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Here are a few things to pay attention to if you are unmarried to avoid walking into a relationship with a cheater. If you are married, this will highlight some of the indicators you missed.

  • A spouse who doesn’t respect your boundaries has the possibility to ignore the marital boundaries and stick to just you. If you decide that you’ll hold off on sex until marriage, they are going to try to put you in compromising positions, tempting and pushing you to give up on your decision.
  • They are checking other people out. They are with you, but they still flirt with others, that’s a red flag right there.
  • Their social life can tell you if they’ll cheat or not. People who go to the clubs and are partying every other night are positioning themselves for the opportunity to cheat. If this goes on into marriage, they’ll have an enabling environment for infidelity.
  • They are unfaithful. Some people are outright unfaithful during dating/courtship. Chances are, they’ll most likely cheat when they get married.
  • They have a weird definition of commitment. They don’t go all out to be loyal to you and your relationship. Their values about maintaining the sexual matrix of your relationship don’t match yours.
  • They are hurrying the relationship along, and their only reason is to get intimate with you.

If you find these signs before getting married, I would suggest that you quit the relationship and move on to someone you deserve, who has the same values as you do, to avoid premium tears and heartache in the future. Protect yourself.

Why do people cheat?

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It’s a known fact that both men and women cheat in relationships these days, so it’s not a gender-based problem. Since both men and women have almost equal tendencies to cheat in a relationship, what then is the reason for infidelity?

1. Childhood or Past Experiences

It goes without saying that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior. A close look at the environment, habits, and patterns in a person’s childhood could be indicative of why they cheated.

For instance, a person who grew up in a dysfunctional home where one of the parents cheated or was a sidekick may grow up thinking that infidelity is normal. Also, if a person has a record of being unfaithful in past relationships or has been divorced, they could cultivate a pessimistic view that relationships don’t work.

And when there’s no proper education to counter that negative mindset around relationships, they’ll repeat the same unfaithful patterns in their marriages.

2. Values

Commitment means different things to different people. Some people believe in being loyal to one partner and maintaining exclusivity in their marriage. Others see absolutely nothing wrong with having multiple partners, even when they are married.

This could be because of religious or societal influences. In some parts of Africa, a sect of society also feels like it’s limiting to be with one partner all their lives, and they push that propaganda. A lot of people are into it.

Either way, when people with conflicting values around the exclusiveness of marriage come together in a relationship, there’ll be an issue of infidelity, and one person wouldn’t see a problem with it while the other would bear the brunt.

3. A void to fill

A huge number of people who have cheated claim that they had a need that their relationship wasn’t meeting, and they had to seek it elsewhere.

For some people, this need could be that they wanted to feel wanted and respected, but unfortunately, their spouses were probably independent with high self esteem. They therefore cheat with people who are needy and who look up to them for everything.

Some other people may have felt emotionally empty, like their love tanks were not being filled by their spouses. And so they got attracted to their colleague at work or the guy/lady at the gym who seemed to be doing everything right. One thing led to another, and they got physically intimate. The rest, they say, is history.

For others, they felt their financial needs weren’t being met, and so their affair was a means to cash out for the exorbitant life they wanted. People have needs, and when they ignore those needs or do not have open conversations with their spouses about them, they are only opening the door to other options in their relationships.

4. Sexual Needs

Sex is supposed to be the highest form of intimacy in marriage, but when there’s a lack of sexual satisfaction for whatever reason, it could become an excuse that cheaters give for cheating. Some of the problems begin when there has been premarital sex between the couple, and then when they get married, the realities of life begin to hit. There are bills to pay, multiple jobs to juggle, children to take care of, stress, and aging. In such situations, one of the spouses may not be able to meet the sexual needs of their partners.

Apart from not getting enough, it’s possible that there may have been expectations that the cheating spouse may have come into marriage with. In comparison to the other people that they have been with, their spouses may not meet their expectations. And this is one of the banes of premarital sex. So rather than look for solutions, they make the choice to cheat.

5. Addictions

I believe pornography and masturbation are not just pathways to infidelity; they are in themselves forms of adultery. It’s like you are cheating on your spouse, only the side chick this time around is you. They create an appetite for unrealistic sexual pleasures and expectations, ones that your spouse may not be able to meet or may not be comfortable with. In the long run, the definitions of intimacy and sex become twisted and perverted.

You begin to desire your spouse less and feel more desire for the acrobatic woman/man in the videos and pictures. And because those unrealistic, scripted videos and pictures have created a real desire in you that you must satisfy, you go out there to get some for yourself.

6. Unresolved Conflicts

Since two different humans with different perspectives, upbringings, opinions, and ideas are coming together to form the relationship, conflicts are inevitable. When these conflicts occur and the people in a relationship haven’t mastered how to resolve them amicably, it could escalate to resentment and anger. Then the couples begin to drift apart and notice that they are not feeling as close to each other as they would like.

If nothing is done to resolve the conflict, they may seek solace elsewhere. Sometimes, as a way to get back at their partners, they could cheat.

7. Fell out of love

Love isn’t a feeling; it’s a decision. A choice to honor and serve your spouse no matter what. But some people did not get the memo before venturing into marriage. They only knew the mushy side of love that stirred butterflies in their tummies—the date nights and romantic tours.

Well, when reality sets in and they are faced with the part of love that requires commitment, selfless service, and hard work, they chicken out; they simply fall out of love. They take their eyes off their spouse. Suddenly, they don’t know why they married them in the first place. They begin to compare their spouses with other people, and then they no longer value them. Once they find the opportunity, they go ahead and have an affair.

8. Friends and Mentors

Humans are communal beings and are influenced by the people in their lives. It’s easy to tell a person’s values when you look at their circle of friends. If they have friends who do not see anything wrong with having multiple partners, they’ll have that mindset as well. Plus, they know they have a community of like-minded people to turn to should things go south. It’s the same trend for someone who doesn’t have a mentor to look up to who did things right with their relationship.

Reading through the reasons why people cheat, you’ll find that no excuse is enough to deal one’s spouse with the hurt of being betrayed.

You’ll find immaturity, a lack of emotional intelligence, and an inability to appropriately resolve conflicts as common factors across board. Rather than cheating on your partner, how about considering ways that you can have open conversations and create an atmosphere of mutual love and respect so that your relationship is fortified.

Having tried all you can on your own to see that your needs are met within the confines of marriage, why not seek help from appropriate and well-trained relationship counselors.

If you have cheated on your spouse, I hope this article helps you understand why you did what you did. I hope it also helps you own up to your actions and take responsibility for them.

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