Cheating in a relationship can be devastating. Some couples manage to work through it, while others just can’t continue. What the offended partner is always left wondering, regardless of whether the relationship survives, is why? Why does anyone cheat in a relationship? Sometimes even the cheater isn’t sure. In some cases it may be a genuine case of sex addiction — a compulsive urge to engage in inappropriate sexual relationships — but in others the causes are not so clinical.
Reasons People Cheat
Here are several reasons why people in relationships cheat on their partners:
- To seek closeness – A healthy relationship should include a certain level of intimacy. This doesn’t just mean physical intimacy, but emotional closeness as well. If a relationship has become strained and two people become distant, one may stray in order to get that intimacy, both sexual and emotional, elsewhere.
- To seek independence – A healthy relationship needs a balance between intimacy and independence. While intimacy and closeness are needed to keep both partners satisfied, a balance should be struck. When closeness becomes too intense, one partner may seek independence or autonomy by striking out and forming a new relationship. This creates distance, which one partner may be craving.
- To get away from herself – In some cases, infidelity has absolutely nothing to do with the relationship or the other partner. The cheater cheats because she wants to change herself. Some experts agree that this is the main underlying factor in infidelity. Someone is bored or unhappy with whom she has become and seeks action, excitement or just plain change in a new partner. She is not necessarily unhappy with her current partner and relationship, but she wants a diversion.
- To meet sexual needs – In some cases, a partner may cheat because her needs are not being met. She may feel dissatisfied with her sexual relationship and stray to meet those needs elsewhere. Statistics regarding infidelity show that when partners are different from each other, such as in their sexual needs, cheating is much more likely.
- To fill a void – People often feel an emptiness inside, which is difficult to characterize. This void can lead to any number of unhealthy activities with the hope that it will be filled: alcohol and drug abuse, compulsive eating, buying expensive things and going into debt as a result. Sometimes a person gets into a relationship because she thinks the love of another person will fill that void. When it fails to do so, she may seek out another relationship, an affair, in the constant search to feel less empty. All of these things fail to fill the void because they are external.
Always Examine The Relationship And Yourselves After Infidelity – Professional Help Is A Must
Why anyone cheats is largely personal, but one or more of these five generalizations can be applied to nearly any situation. To overcome infidelity and to save a relationship, both partners must examine the motives behind the affair. Is the relationship unhealthy? Are the two partners too close or too distant? Is one partner unsatisfied with herself? Does she feel an internal void that she constantly tries to fill with external validation? Are the two partners too different with different needs?
Only by examining the relationship and the individual partners can anyone heal from infidelity, and only with the help of a professional can this be done safely and effectively. Experts on relationships and infidelity can help any couple find the motives underlying their affairs and guide them back to a healthy relationship.