Why do people cheat?

Why do people cheat?

While there shouldn’t be any EXCUSES for why people cheat, there are certainly REASONS for why they do!




As a therapist who works with many couples experiencing infidelity I believe emotional cravings and lack of emotional connection to be the most common reason and a leading cause of affairs. As one disconnects emotionally from their partner, they start making a connection with someone else. The disconnection might be a result of feeling unappreciated, lonely, angry, and not well-understood by their partner. Emotional affairs are most commonly justified as “looking for a friend”, or “looking for someone to talk to”. Emotional affairs are very common and often difficult to recover from due to the level of intimacy, ties, secrets, and conversations one has shared with their lover.


Sexual dissatisfaction and disconnection is another reason. Sex may not be as often as one wishes, it may not be as exciting and pleasing as one likes it to be, or climax is not being reached. Individuals who cheat due to the “dullness” of their current sex life tend to compare their present-day sex to their just-starting-out sex, when it was exciting and as some call it the “honeymoon” phase. Because they miss the high of sex with their partner, they look for it elsewhere. Seeking sex outside of the relationship is a “quick fix” and makes one feel powerful, intoxicated, and satisfied.  Different sex fantasies and scenarios that one desires can also lead to infidelity; one may not feel open and accepted enough to speak about the “dirty” and playful ideas that they have because of their fear of being judged, mocked, or turned down.



One might be in a happy relationship but still cheat. The environment  puts individuals at risk for infidelity. Some situations are more tempting than others; spending time in settings with many attractive people can make cheating more likely to happen. Also the nature of a person’s employment is related to infidelity, individuals whose work involves touching other people, having personal discussions, or a great deal of one-on-one time are more likely to have an affair.


Dissimilarities and lack of understanding of them such as personality, education level, and finances can lead to infidelity. Research has found those who have less conscientious and less agreeable personalities are more likely than people high on these traits to commit infidelity. Very religious people and those with a conservative political orientation are less likely than others to commit infidelity because they have more rigid values.


** Please check out my previous article called “An affair not to remember” to read about ways to recover from infidelity.



Omarzu, J., Miller, A. N., Schultz, C., & Timmerman, A. (2012). Motivations and emotional consequences related to engaging in extramarital relationships. International Journal Of Sexual Health24(2), 154-162. doi:10.1080/19317611.2012.662207

Tulane, S., Skogrand, L., & DeFrain, J. (2011). Couples in great marriages who considered divorcing. Marriage & Family Review47(5), 289-310. doi:10.1080/01494929.2011.594215

Tannaz Moein  M.S, LPC-I

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About author

Tannaz Psychology
Tannaz Psychology 10 posts

I, Tannaz Moein M.S., am a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern (LPC-I) supervised by Dr. Dean Aslinia. I received myBachelor’s degree in Arts of Psychology from University of Texas at Dallas, Master’s degree in Science of Counseling at Southern Methodist University, and am currrently working toward my Doctor of Psychology degree from Southern California University. I work with children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, and the elderly population. I have also gained advanced training in substance dependency, adolescence counseling, and crisis intervention. As an Adlerian counselor, I believe people are holistic, phenomenological, creative, teleological, and social. In counseling, I pay close attention to the importance of the complete system of individuals. I believe in experiences, consciousness, and that people are creative and can shape their own personality and have the freedom to affect their destiny.

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1 Comment

  1. Thom Slade
    July 20, 20:16 Reply
    Blimey... Im staying home and locking the door... Great article and a real challenge to look back to what went wrong and forward to protecting future relationships. Now I still believe there are some "damaged" people out there that will cheat no matter what but without the finger point, this article is a real help for self reflection. Thom

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