Why Do People Cheat On Those They Love? Understanding Infidelity In Relationships

Updated November 2, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

It can be painful if your partner cheats, and you may find yourself wondering why they engaged in infidelity. There are many potential explanations for cheating. Perhaps they could be unhappy in their current relationship, or they find infidelity exciting. It could be possible that their sexual needs were not being fulfilled, or that they could have a sex addiction or trouble with commitment. Maybe the cheating was simply an unfortunate mistake.

Regardless of the reason for cheating, you may benefit from the help of a licensed mental health professional in working through the resulting emotions. Online therapy could be an effective way to begin your healing journey.

Six Reasons Why Someone Might Cheat

Being Cheated On Can Be A Painful Experience.

  1. They May Not Be Happy In Their Current Relationship

People in relationships sometimes cheat because they aren't happy with their current situation. Sometimes, people can use infidelity to exit a relationship when they do not wish to initiate a breakup.

Relationships often take quite a bit of energy, effort, and even financial resources. Couples’ lives can change drastically with the addition of children or changes in jobs and routines, and these changes can sometimes get in the way of connection and communication. Regardless of the reason for unhappiness, it’s possible for people to engage in infidelity as a result.

  1. They May Find Infidelity Exciting

Some people who engage in infidelity can find it exciting.There can be individuals who are excited by the thrill of potentially being caught. Doing something wrong can make their behavior more enticing, and it can even become something they can't seem to get enough of. Chronic cheaters may fall into this category.

Conversely, there may also be people who can't seem to stop cheating, even if they feel terrible about their own actions after the excitement is over. This type of behavior may stem from emotional issues, traumatic childhood experiences, poor self-esteem, or mental health struggles that lead them to seek satisfaction in this way. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should forgive the act of cheating, but it is something you may wish to keep in mind.

  1. Their Sexual Needs May Not Be Fulfilled

Many people in relationships have varying levels of sexual desire. If those needs are not being met within their relationship, then it could be possible for them to seek sexual satisfaction elsewhere. This does not mean that the person who has been cheated on is in the wrong, however. Rather than engaging in infidelity, a better solution could have been for their partner to start up a conversation around the topic and attempt to work out a solution together.

  1. They May Have ASex Addiction

Another possibility could be that your partner hasa sex addiction. Like other forms of addiction, sex addiction can lead to many negative consequences, not just for the person experiencing it, but also for others in their lives. Sex addiction may presentwith behaviors including compulsive masturbation or excessive pornography viewing in addition to infidelity.

This type of addiction can make it difficult for people to stop seeking sex, even if it means cheating on their partner. They may even feel a deep sense of shame because of this behavior, butmay still feel compelled to seek out sex wherever they can find it.

This can be a challengingaddiction for someone to have, and it can potentially harmyour relationship and self-esteem. Overcoming sex addiction can be difficult and often requires the help of a licensed mental health professional.

  1. They May Have Trouble With Commitment 

Many peoplecan get scared when it comes to commitment or marriage. Committing to others is not always easy, and some people may see it as losing a part of themselves or giving up their freedom and individuality. You may have heard of people getting "cold feet" before a wedding, and this type of infidelitycould be related to those types of feelings.

It's possible for many people to find staying faithful in monogamous relationships challenging. This may be part of the reason that polyamory or having multiple partners is growing in popularity.However, even if someone is interested in transitioning to this type of lifestyle, it doesn't necessarily excuse cheating when it takes place in a relationship that was meant to be monogamous.

  1. They May Have Made A Mistake

Finally, it could be the case that your significant other’s cheating was simply a huge mistake. It’s likely you’ve heard of situations in which someone got too drunk and did something that they later regretted. While this type of infidelity may not have been premeditated or purposeful, it can still be very hurtful. If the infidelity that occurred was a mistake that your partner deeply regrets and is sorry about, then it may be an isolated incident, rather than an ongoing issue.

Consider Online Couples Therapy To Heal From Infidelity

Being Cheated On Can Be A Painful Experience.

If you wish to move forward in your relationship after infidelity, then couples counseling may be a goodoption for you. Perhaps you and your significant other have busy schedules. In that case, online therapy may be beneficial because it often allows you to schedule sessions at times that may not be available at a traditional therapist’s office.

A growing body of research suggests that online therapy platforms can provide effective couples therapyfor people copingwith a variety of relationship issues, including infidelity. Inthis study, the effectiveness of several different forms of online couples therapyin helping distressed couples was examined. The report concluded that online couples therapycould successfully treat symptoms of individual mental health challenges and increase overall relationship functioning and communication.


There are many potential reasons why a person may cheat, including the following.

  1. They may not be happy in their current relationship.
  2. They may find infidelity exciting.
  3. Their sexual needs may not be fulfilled.
  4. They may have a sex addiction.
  5. They may have trouble with commitment.
  6. They may have made a mistake.

If you’d like to heal after being cheated on or work through infidelity as a pair, online therapy can be a valuable resource that may help you through individual or couples sessions.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

Speak with a Licensed Therapist
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