What does cheating say about someone? Is it possible to somehow characterize all people who cheat based on their actions? Are there common traits or relationship situations that lead to cheating? How do people who cheat once differ from serial cheaters?
What’s seen as right or wrong may differ from one person to another, or one culture and region to another, but we can probably all agree that cheating on a person you love (or even just someone you date), isn’t nice. It’s a betrayal of trust, it’s a lack of respect, and it’s morally questionable.
The 7 Different Types Of Cheating all say a lot about how you feel about that person and how you feel about yourself – and it might even be impossible to regain trust after it happens.
Of course, every person is unique and so is every relationship. A lot of marriages survive after marital affairs, and a lot of people never cheat again after learning from their mistake – but the reality is that cheating is difficult to understand, handle, and recover from.
If you’re keen to understand what it all means, here are 5 things cheating says about a person.
1. They can’t say no.
Not to simplify the act of cheating, but there are so many situations in which a person who lacks decisiveness can stray – which is a scary reality.
- A colleague they’ve been working closely with has a crush on them and is quite direct about it. Next time they’re alone or on a work trip together, one thing leads to another, and they kiss.
- A man goes on a bachelor party and gets a bit too carried away with the fun. He feels peer pressured to fool around, despite knowing that it’s a bad idea.
- An ex from the past appears and rekindles old memories and emotions.
The list goes on…
If someone finds it hard to resist temptation or gets very easily persuaded after a few drinks, it isn’t hard to see how they can cheat. Sometimes it’s a one-time incident that they deeply regret, and they confess to their partner right away.
Cheating without a real reason just shows that a person isn’t mentally strong to remain committed and loyal – or doesn’t even realize what’s at stake.
One of the common excuses a cheater makes is that they felt distant from their partner. They may even blame their partner when confronted, and say things like:
- You aren’t attracted to me, and I wanted to feel wanted again.
- You never kiss me or want to have sex.
- You’re always busy!
- This isn’t working out for me anymore…
- It’s your fault I cheated!
The truth is that when you’re committed to someone, both partners have to resist the urge to be in situations where you could stray in the first place. Neither partner should allow themselves to stay late with someone they’re attracted to or flirt text behind their partner’s back.
Even that one time is enough to break a great relationship or marriage if your partner can’t forgive you – and you certainly can’t make someone forgive you; they need to be ready for that.
2. They’ve got a habit of it.
One of the toughest things you might realize after being cheated on is that your partner has done this before. They might actually be a pro at lying and not feel any regret about it at all. You’d be surprised at the extent a cheater will go to in order to cover up their lies and not get caught.
There are clues you can watch out for if you have the feeling that your partner might be cheating on you, including:
- They’re frequently late coming home from work and always have some excuse.
- Their stories don’t match up (lying is tough; it means they have to remember their lies!)
- They won’t let you anywhere near their phone.
- They become super defensive if you raise any suspicions.
- They don’t initiate sex with you or say they’re tired most of the time.
- They’re secretive.
- You catch them being on the phone a lot, not paying much attention to you.
Dealing with a lying partner is extremely difficult because you don’t know if they’re cheating or there might be something else going on, such as issues at work, a gambling problem, or something else.
You might give them the benefit of the doubt because you want to believe they’re being faithful to you, despite all the warnings signs. Until you catch them, you can only guess.
Cheaters tend to repeat their actions, which is why people say “once a cheater, always a cheater”. You need to be quite wary of giving someone a second chance after they’ve betrayed your trust.
3. They are insecure.
A lot of people who cheat do it as a cry for attention. They seek validation outside their current relationship, no matter how well they’ve got it – simply because they have low self-esteem, and don’t know how to make themselves feel better.
It’s sad to see an otherwise great relationship or marriage fall apart because one partner can’t commit, but it happens a lot. When you’ve got low self-esteem, it can be particularly hard to stay with the same person for a long period of time.
Insecure people have to battle a lot of emotions – feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety, mood swings. They feel like there’s always something better waiting for them around the corner and that in the future they’ll be happier.
They struggle to live in the present – so for them, cheating is a normal thing, since they’re trying to fill in a void that’s otherwise always there. The novelty might provide a temporary thrill but won’t fix their insecurity issues.
4. They don’t love you.
The hardest truth to swallow is that a person cheats on you because (despite what they say) they truly don’t love you. They’re keeping their options open and fooling around because they don’t really care if they lose you.
Do you wonder why this person is with you in the first place? There could be many reasons, and one of them is comfort – but don’t confuse comfort with love. When someone cheats on you, especially if they do it repeatedly, their message is loud and clear: they don’t care about you.
At least, they don’t care about you enough to care that they might lose you as a result of their actions. Love goes hand in hand with trust and respect – so a cheater is definitely not someone who truly loves you.
5. They’re bored.
You’d be surprised at how reckless a person can be when they feel the need to seek a new thrill. They might lie, cheat, and deceive you just so they can get their adrenaline up – and having an affair is one way to do that. The novelty of it can be intoxicating and a big ego boost.
It’s also an opportunity for many people to ignore other issues in their lives by detracting from them. A person who’s got career issues, for example, might use casual affairs to ignore dealing with them.
The thrill of seeing someone new, keeping it a secret, waiting to meet them, and texting them in secret is enough for some people to do it repeatedly, with very little regret.
Some cheaters would even say it’s beneficial for their marriage and happiness. They might see it as a win-win, completely incapable of realizing the harm they are causing.
A cheater might say that without having the casual one-night stand or affair, they would’ve left their marriage years ago. Some people need to take risks and choose their personal relationships for that purpose.
Why Do People Cheat on Someone They Love?
Experts say that even people in happy relationships can cheat – and that literally, no one is immune to it. A committed person who loves their partner can stray, unable to resist the temptation of something new and exciting.
Some cheaters just hope they won’t get caught. Some never do, and some get caught but manage to deny it all.
Even good, kind-hearted, stable people cheat. Here are a few common reasons for cheating:
- The cheater is bored (in their life overall or their current relationship) and feels that a new relationship or an affair will make them feel like a new person. The reality is that it usually makes them feel guilty and shameful – especially if they get caught. It’s easy to cheat, but hard to revert the damage caused by it.
- Monogamy is tough. This social construct has survived centuries but that doesn’t mean that every person or couple is made for it. There are plenty of things going on for people physically, mentally, and emotionally that can make them struggle to commit to just one partner at a time.
- The cheater could be feeling unsatisfied in their current relationship – deprived of intimacy and sex – and therefore seeks these elsewhere. It’s an escape, and usually just a temporary thrill.
- The cheater knows their partner is cheating – and decides that this is the best way to retaliate. Even if the affair means nothing to them, they feel helpless – like that’s their only option. It’s a form of revenge.
- A lot of men cheat on their pregnant wives, which is a crazy concept – but apparently quite common. A lot of men feel unworthy of becoming fathers or can’t deal with the change it brings, so they stray.
- People cheat because they are looking to reinvent themselves – to find some novelty and a new “I”.
- They’re not ready to commit to their current partner fully and feel that they have to prove to themselves that their current relationship isn’t that serious.
- They want to keep their options open, especially at the beginning of a relationship, before having defined it. They think it’s fair game to test the waters with other people.
- They want to end their current relationship and have had enough of trying to save it. In fact, they might even want to get caught so that the job is done.
- People could cheat because of unresolved personal issues they haven’t dealt with.
- They’ve fallen in love with someone else. This could often be a work affair, or when they spend a lot of time with that person.
- Sometimes cheating is just about sex, and nothing more.
For many people cheating is an absolute deal-breaker in a committed relationship. If you’ve been cheated on, you’ll be feeling a whole lot of emotions at the same time – ranging from confusion and shame to anger and depression.
A lot of couples seek counselling in order to deal with the fallout of an affair, and some choose to talk about it with friends and family. This would usually result in a lot of extra disappointment and anger, as perhaps most of them will tell you to leave the cheater right away – but it’s rarely as easy as that, especially if you’ve been with someone for a long time.
It’s hard to understand why people cheat. It’s easy to judge others – but when it happens to you, it’s a lot harder – especially if you’re the one who cheated and you’re desperate for forgiveness.
9 Ways to Build Trust in a Relationship can help you figure out whether it’s possible to salvage your relationship.