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The participants admitted to cheating in their relationship and answered the question at the root of the mystery.
did you do it? An analysis revealed eight key reasons: anger, self-esteem, lack of love, low commitment, need
for variety, neglect, sexual desire, and situation or circumstance.
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When someone’s cheated on by their partner, they’re often left asking: why?
How could someone they trusted and loved – and who they thought loved them back – betray them in such a shocking, Why does my partner cheat on me?.
and hurtful way? There’s usually not only a sense of anger and upset, but also total disbelief.
The reasons people cheat are varied, but there are a number that crop up time and again in the counselling room. If
you’re currently struggling to understand why this has happened to you, you may find it useful to think about some of the following.
One of the most common reasons for infidelity is the feeling that you and your partner have drifted apart. In this case,
cheating can feel like a way of finding something new and exciting when your relationship has become predictable
and familiar. A sense of disconnection from one’s partner can happen for a variety of reasons. There may be a lack of
proper communication in the relationship (talking about specific issues or just generally keeping in touch about how
you feel). Or life may have become dominated by work or looking after kids, so time together has become
more functional than loving.
In counselling, we often use the term ‘love languages’ to describe how people express affection to one
another. Some partners communicate more verbally by saying nice things, whereas others might prefer to
express affection physically by cuddling or kissing. If your love language is different to your partners, that can
leave you feeling unloved – and potentially more open to the affections of someone who seems to understand you better.
If there’s a lack of balance in a relationship, one partner can begin to feel a bit like a parent and the other like a
child. For example, one partner may feel like they have to be the responsible one, making all the decisions,
organizing the home, managing the finances and so on, while their partner doesn’t pull their weight. An affair
might then be tempting in order to feel appreciated and equal. Equally, the partner in the ‘child’ position may
feel criticized and as if nothing they do seems to be enough, meaning an affair might feel like a way of
reclaiming some sense of independence and authority.
Fear of commitment
Sometimes, affairs occur at times when you might assume people would be the most secure in their
relationship, such as after getting engaged or when someone is pregnant. But worries over commitment can
be very destabilizing. Sometimes, people can sabotage what they have, consciously or unconsciously, as a way
of rejecting feelings of responsibility.
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Affairs can also arise from personal insecurities. Low self-esteem can cause people to be very dependent on
the attentions of others—and in some cases, the attention of just one person isn’t enough. It may also cause
someone to feel insecure in their own relationship, so much so that they might cheat as a way of rejecting
rather than being rejected.
Sexually addictive behavior
Affairs can commonly be linked to problems with sexually addictive behaviors. This is where someone
habitually engages in sexual activity as a way of satisfying desires and relieving negative feelings they find hard
to control. These desires can be compulsive in the way that a drug or alcohol addiction might be. For some
people, this can mean they end up engaging in affairs repeatedly or in multiple relationships. For more information on sex addiction.
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