Why Do People Cheat On People They Love? Trying to Understand Infidelity in Marriage

By Robert Porter|Updated July 25, 2022

Having someone cheat on you in a relationship or marriage is one of the worst possible things that you can experience in a relationship or marriage. Cheating or affairs can make you feel like there is a weight on your chest when a person you love may cheat and betrays your trust. It may leave you thinking, why do people cheat on people they love, which is a question with no straightforward answer. The worst part of cheating is the fact that it often doesn't make any sense. Many people also wind up asking questions such as "Why did they cheat if they love me?" or "I cheated on my boyfriend, why?" Discovering the answer to that question isn't always going to be simple.

The truth is that people cheat for many different reasons. Figuring out exactly why one’s partner cheated on you isn't going to be something that can be determined without more information. Regardless, it is possible to go over some common reasons for cheating in relationships. Take a look at some of the following reasons why people cheat on their partners below in order to come to a better understanding of what might be going on.

Reasons Why Someone Might Cheat

reasons why someone might be unfaithful in a marriage

Being Cheated On Is A Painful Experience

- They Aren't Really Happy If They Are Cheating

Cheaters sometimes cheat on people due to the fact that they aren't truly happy in the relationship. This can sometimes mean that they aren't satisfied and are looking for a way out. Whether or not this is the case in your situation is impossible to determine without knowing the facts. It will be necessary to ask your partner why they cheat on people or why they have cheated on you, especially if you are wondering, "is he cheating?"

It's important to recognize that not everyone who says they're in love is truly in love. Sometimes people use infidelity as a way to exit a relationship when they can't initiate a breakup on their own. Hopefully, this isn't the case in your situation. Relationships take a lot of energy, effort, and even money at times. Especially if there are kids, various activities, and finances, couples lives can change drastically and routines may get in the way of connection or communication with each other. Woman, men, guys, girl, people all feel the strain in different ways- an excuse of a demanding job, stories about being too busy or too wrapped up in the news, technology, and the world can make it so individuals place blame on somewhere or something other than themselves. Regardless of the reasons, if there is doubt, evidence through texts, gut instincts, lots of excuses, a new scent of other partners, or just the explanation doesn't line up-- there is a possibility your partner might be cheating. You will need to explore the facts.

- Some People Find Cheating, Affairs, Or Infidelity To Be Exciting

You'll actually find that many cheaters find infidelity to be exciting, and it could make them feel young. As awful as it is to cheat on someone that you love, there are individuals who are excited by the thrill of potentially being caught. Doing something wrong makes what they're doing more enticing, and it seems to be something that they can't get enough of. Chronic cheaters seem to fall into this camp more often than not. These are the type of cheaters that many people consider to be “always a cheater”.

There are even people who can't seem to stop cheating even when they feel terrible about their own actions. It's a very odd situation, and you would think that they wouldn't do this if they truly cared. Sometimes people who cheat like this might even have emotional problems, traumatic childhood experiences, poor self esteem, or mental health struggles that are forcing them to seek cheap thrills or satisfaction from strange sources. This doesn't forgive the act of cheating, but it is something to keep in mind.

Cheaters may find the act of keeping their actions a secret exciting. If they do love you, then they certainly aren't showing it by doing the things that they're doing. Coming to terms with infidelity isn't always easy. Most relationships where the cheating is motivated by some type of excitement or arousal will end up failing.

- Their Sexual Needs Aren't Being Met

cheating and infidelity can have damaging consequences, infidelity

People generally have their own sexual desires and needs. If those needs are not being met inside of their normal relationship, then it's possible that they may seek sexual satisfaction elsewhere. You have to be careful when approaching cheating from this standpoint, though. It should never feel like the person who has been cheated on is in the wrong, because their partner should have discussed their desire and needs before doing something so hurtful.

If you're in a relationship where communication is failing, then it's possible that certain things may have slipped through the cracks. Your partner may have certain desires or unrealistic expectations that they haven't been able to properly communicate to you. In this case, it might explain why they chose to cheat on someone. They found it easier to seek sex elsewhere, instead of discussing their desires or needs with you. Even if your partner cheats on you through an emotional affair, they still should have respected you enough to talk to you before acting on their emotional infidelity.

This is a huge sign that your relationship is not where it needs to be. It also means that there were problems in your relationship before the infidelity occurred. Some people will not be able to forgive infidelity no matter what. It's up to you whether you want to try to meet your partner in the middle to work on things. If you really do love them, then you might be able to finally have a discussion about your sex life and what is holding things back. This may help you rebuilt trust and reaffirm your commitment to each other. Therapy can also help you keep these events in the past and move forward.

It's important not to feel like you're to blame for the cheating. If you didn't know something was wrong, then you couldn't have worked on fixing it. Even if there were issues, your partner should have ended the relationship if they knew that they weren't happy. It's now up to you to decide whether to work with them on building a stronger bond, or move on. You are allowed to take the time you need to consider how you feel about being cheated on and whether your current relationship ends or not. Again, this is a topic you can talk to a therapist about if you feel comfortable doing so. 

- They Have Some Type of Sex Addiction

Another possibility is that your partner might have some type of sex addiction. Sex addictions are a real thing that can actually ruin people's lives. These types of addictions make it difficult for people to quit seeking sex from another person or persons. They might even feel a deep sense of shame, but will still be compelled to seek out sex wherever they can find it.

This is a terrible addiction for someone to have and it can potentially destroy your relationship and harm your self esteem as well. Getting over a sex addiction is not going to be simple. This is a very complex case that isn't unlike a drug addiction or an eating disorder. There are certain types of therapists that know how to help people cope with a sex addiction problem. They should also be able to help them address why they cheat in relationships.

Therapists will need to work with a person extensively to find out what is going on in their life, in order to help them overcome sex addiction. This can involve many different techniques, and people will often need to abstain from sexual contact for a long period of time in an attempt to "get it out of their system." If you suspect that your significant other may have a sex addiction, then you should encourage them to seek help. This could wind up making their life more difficult, and some people even lose their careers due to problems like this.

Sex addiction might even present itself as a problem with compulsive masturbation or excessive pornography viewing. Issues like this can progress to people seeking out sex from other sources. It can also wind up just being a fixable issue that won't have anything to do with sex with other people. It's a complex topic, and people suffering from any type of sex addiction need to seek professional help, especially when it is affecting their primary relationship.

- Your Partner Has Trouble With Commitment 

There are many people who get scared when it comes to commitment or marriage. Committing to others is not always easy, and some people see it as losing a part of themselves and develop commitment issues. It isn't uncommon to hear of people getting "cold feet" before a wedding. Your partner's cheating could be related to those feelings.

Many people simply aren't good at maintaining monogamous relationships or a primary relationship either. Monogamy is the most common type of relationship that you'll come across. There are people who are entering into polyamorous relationships or open relationships due to not wanting to be tied down to having only one lover. For instance, an individual may want to date numerous women at once. Even if someone is more interested in this type of lifestyle, it doesn't excuse cheating on someone that you're supposed to love. There should always be clear rules and expectations laid out in all relationships.

- They Made A Huge Mistake

Finally, it might also be the case that your significant other cheated and simply made a huge mistake. Everyone has probably heard of situations where someone got too drunk and did something that they regret. This is not uncommon, but that doesn't mean that it isn't hurtful. Anytime people cheat, even if it isn’t something that was planned, someone can end up getting hurt. When something like this happens, it's usually going to be an isolated incident that they're going to feel very sorry about.

People do make mistakes, and it's up to you whether or not you want to forgive this type of transgression. Cheating is very problematic for a primary relationship or marriage. Even if someone wasn't in their right mind when they did it, you're still likely going to be very hurt by it. You might need to consider couples counseling to try to get through this type of issue. It also might be good to think about whether or not someone needs to get help with a drinking problem or a substance abuse issue. This may be the proper course of action.

Consider Online Couples Or Marriage Counseling For Infidelity, Cheating, Or Affairs

people who choose infidelity when together can cause great harm

Being Cheated On Is A Painful Experience

If you want to try to move forward in your relationship, then couples counseling may be a solid option. This is going to be a good way to work on rebuilding your relationship after someone has cheated. It is definitely tough to work through cheating issues, but some couples are able to come out stronger than ever before and strengthen their relationships.

A growing body of research suggests that online therapy platforms can provide effective couples counseling for people dealing with a variety of relationship issues, including infidelity. In a wide-ranging study performed by the University of Miami, the effectiveness of several different forms of online couples counseling in helping distressed couples were examined. In the report, researchers state that online therapy is an efficient and accessible form of treatment, particularly due to the lack of geographical constraints, lower overall costs, and fewer logistical concerns. The report concludes that online couples counseling can successfully treat symptoms of individual mental health challenges and increase overall relationship functioning and communication between women and men. These findings are in line with the majority of research, which shows that online therapy is a useful option for those who may not feel comfortable seeking treatment in a face-to-face setting.

As considered above, if you are going through hard times because of cheaters in your relationship, online therapy can be a valuable tool. If you are concerned with privacy, BetterHelp allows you to remain completely anonymous —simply select a “nickname” when registering. Licensed professionals are available when you want to begin the healing process after your partner has cheated. Read below for reviews of BetterHelp therapists, from those who have sought help in the past.

Therapist Reviews

“A year ago I was experiencing difficulties in my relationship, which highly affected my psychological state and interfered with my work. At one point, I decided to try BetterHelp.com. My counselor Dr. Brewer helped me to see some things I couldn't on my own and encouraged me to prioritize myself. It was a huge help for me at that point, which led to the decisions I am happy about.”

“Dr. Harrell was there for me and helped me get to the issues of my problems and triggers. I am a much better person and feel like a new person. I am pursuing a dream that I never thought would be possible to achieve. Me and my wife are again on speaking terms with a small glimmer of hope. I honestly wouldn't be where I am now without her support.”

Conclusion: Reasons For Cheating Or Infidelity In A Relationship Or Marriage

Infidelity can make for some extremely trying times in a relationship or marriage. If you feel as though things are fixable, therapy can help couples to develop better communication. You may even be able to remain close friends with your ex, if you end your relationship with them. It’s possible to build a stronger bond after cheating — and it’s also okay to simply move on. Either way, know that help is available every step of the way.

Can a person love you and still cheat?

It is possible that your partner can love you and still cheat on you. While this may not be the answer you were looking for, this is sometimes the case in life. In some situations, people cheat because they want to engage in another sexual relationship or have a different sex drive from their mate. In other words, cheating doesn’t always indicate that a person no longer loves you. Partners may simply have other reasons why they cheated. It is up to you to determine if you want to stay in your current relationship after your partner cheats on you, since this may cause trust issues and other feelings to put up that you must address.

Why do guys cheat even if they love you?

You may sometimes wonder why do people cheat on people they love. There is no simple answer to this question. Men and women can cheat even if they love their partner. They may do so because their emotional needs aren’t being met, they have low self-esteem, or if there are serious problems within your relationship or in their life. It may be easier for them to cheat than talk about how they are feeling. If they do love you, they may show genuine remorse after their affair ends, and they might do their best to try to build up their partner’s trust as well.

What does cheating say about a person?

If your partner has cheated on you, there are a few things this may tell you about who they are. They may have low self esteem, have commitment issues, seek validation, or been subjected to physical abuse in their past that prevents them from maintaining long term relationships. All of these issues can be addressed with individual therapy. Overall people cheat for a litany of reasons, and you won’t know for sure why your partner has until you speak with them about it. This, of course, may be easier said than done, since they may not be honest with you about their motivations.

Does cheating mean they don't love you?

Cheating, whether men cheat or women do, often doesn’t indicate that they don’t love their partners. An individual may start cheating because they are experiencing self esteem issues or are apprehensive about getting serious with you. They may struggle with emotional intimacy and are unsure how to express their feelings to you. They might want to date other people or haven’t been in a serious relationship before, or they need more privacy. On the other hand, guys cheat sometimes when there is a serious problem within a relationship. They may feel like you have unrealistic expectations of them or are holding you to an impossible standard, so they might feel like they don't have a true chance at successful love. If you decide together that you genuinely love one another and want to work it out, you may wish to work with a couples therapist for expert advice and to address your future life together. They might be able to help you and your partner when it comes to talking about the hurt you are experiencing and be vital in rebuilding trust. When you take advantage of therapy, you may learn how to be partners in life who are able to trust each other and support one another as well.

Do cheaters feel guilty?

There is a chance that a partner that cheats will feel guilty after their affair is discovered. This includes both men and women and every individual. At the same time, it is unlikely when people cheat that they will feel much guilt when they are with their affair partner. If your long term partner cheats on you, take all the time you need to determine if you want to continue dating them or if you want to move on to a new relationship. Knowing the name of the person they are cheating on you with might hurt (or even knowing their phone number, about their lives, the gifts they have been given, etc), so make sure you are taking time to heal. No one has more of a hand in your life than you do, so in order to regain control make sure you are going to the people and places that can help you decide the best path forward.

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