Almost everyone agrees that cheating on your partner is a terrible thing to do, but the unfortunate reality is that many people in committed relationships have affairs.
Discovering that someone you love has betrayed your trust can be devastating.
You may start to wonder whether your whole relationship has been built on deception.
It might feel as though you’ll never fall in love again.
If your partner has been unfaithful, you might also struggle to understand why – especially if your relationship seemed healthy and happy on the surface.
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who has an affair has fallen out of love with their partner. Infidelity is a complicated topic, and no two affairs are exactly alike.
So, why do people cheat on their partners?
Here are five reasons:
1. They want to take a break from the pressures and responsibilities of everyday life:
Falling in love with someone can be an absorbing, life-changing experience.
Some people use the feelings that accompany a passionate affair as an escape from the daily grind.
They may love their partner, home, job, and family, but long for some excitement.
Having an affair can be an unhealthy yet effective way to spice things up.
Instead of working to make their life better, they look to someone else to give them a temporary boost.
2. Having an affair makes them feel young again:
Although people of all ages can be attractive, it’s natural to lament the passing of time.
Both men and women often start to feel self-conscious about aging – this is what the famous “mid-life crisis” is all about.
In a bid to turn back the clock and reassure themselves that they are still handsome or beautiful, some people look for romantic attention from new sources.
Having an affair can also feel reckless and dangerous, which in turn may remind someone of how it felt to be young and adventurous.
3. They feel disconnected from their partner:
Someone who doesn’t feel as though they are on the same emotional wavelength as their partner is more likely to start looking for intimacy outside of their relationship.
This kind of scenario often arises following a major life change.
For instance, some couples find that they grow apart when one person takes on a high-stress job that leaves them working long hours.
Their partner may come to feel lonely, which in turn can lead them to seek solace in someone else.
4. They feel physically neglected by their partner:
For most people, a healthy sex life is an important component of their relationship.
If the quality of sex declines, or the relationship becomes sexless, they might try to get their needs met elsewhere.
According to popular stereotypes, men are more likely to cheat on their partners because they want more sex, whereas women cheat when they feel as though their partners are not showing them enough emotional support.
In reality, both sexes often look for a mix of emotional and physical satisfaction when they have an affair.
5. They simply aren’t wired to be faithful:
Some people are serial adulterers. Even when they claim to be happy in their current relationship, they still have affairs.
This pattern may be associated with sex or love addiction.
They may also have problems forming normal, healthy attachments to partners.
Alternatively, they might be narcissistic or sociopathic – willing to enter into a relationship for benefits such as financial security, yet happy to exploit their partner’s trust and have affair partners on the side.
Open relationships have become increasingly accepted and popular in recent years.
This might mean that the number of people who have affairs will drop, because they will simply have open relationships instead of trying to stay in a monogamous arrangement that does not suit their personality or needs.
Always remember that your partner did not have to cheat.
You did not make that decision – it was their choice to look for sex, love, or both with someone else.
If they were unhappy, they could have ended the relationship rather than have an affair.
Never blame yourself for your partner’s bad decisions.
They do not have the right to forgiveness.
Whatever the underlying cause, affairs cause emotional trauma and destroy relationships.
If your partner has been unfaithful, you may never be able to trust them again.
Only you can decide whether you want to attempt to rebuild the relationship.
However, understanding why they chose to stray in the first place can at least help you make sense of their actions.