Why Married People Cheat and Common Causes of Infidelity in a Marriage
Infidelity is one of the most distressing things you can experience in a romantic relationship. Here’s why lovers are motivated to be unfaithful, There are many causes of infidelity in a marriage, but among our modern society of instant gratification, these are the most common.
Is infidelity the chicken or the egg? Is it caused by a loveless marriage or rather by a marriage partner who is unwilling to commit and work through problems?
Infidelity is costly it can lead to tears, break-ups, divorces, and even violence. So why do people do it?
The question haunts lovers and fascinates researchers, with a recent study offering some sobering findings: You could be doing everything right and your partner could still be tempted to cheat for reasons that have nothing to do with you or the quality of feelings you share.
The following are some of my thoughts on the causes of infidelity in marriage:
1. Lack of love
Feeling that your partner is not “The One” for you. No longer feeling passionate love or even falling out of love. Perceiving the relationship to be boring, dull, or stagnant. “Lack of love is a powerful motivation it’s definitely one of the stronger ones,” Selterman noted.
2. Sexual desire
Feeling unsatisfied with the sex life you have in your relationship, perhaps because your partner has lost interest or you want to try something new that your partner can’t give you. “We also found people might be motivated to test the waters with regards to their own orientation or identity,” he said.
Feeling that your partner is not paying enough attention to you or not spending enough time with you. Not feeling appreciated.
When you’re in a different setting or not quite yourself perhaps when you’re on vacation, drunk, or under a lot of stress you may have a momentary urge to sexually explore that would not necessarily be part of your stable, everyday behavior. “Landmark events,” such as an upcoming 40th birthday, may also lead you to cheat. One study showed “9-enders“ people who are 29, 39, 49, and so on may seek an affair as they approach a new decade to try to find meaning in their life.
You live by the motto “You only live once,” so you want to try lots of sexual experiences with as many partners as possible.
6. The Internet
The Internet is a major facilitator of infidelity. It is much easier to find forbidden fruit online than it is in person. There are so many websites where people can meet with no questions asked. Think of the tag line of Ashley Madison – “Life is Short. Have an Affair.”
7. Running Away from Problems
Running away from problems is a major contributor to infidelity. Making excuses rather than facing the music with your spouse opens the door to infidelity, especially emotional affairs. I have heard many examples where a spouse would tell me that he or she has found a coworker with a shoulder to lean on. It should be no surprise that sympathetic coworkers regularly become participants in illicit affairs.
Pornography is rampant on the Internet – but does this lead to affairs? Does it lead to emotional affairs and the death of love and trust? Absolutely! Internet and “porn addiction” are significant factors causing the breakdown of marriages today. And you might be surprised to know that this problem is not discriminatory toward men. More and more women suffer from the Internet and porn addiction today just as much as men.
9. Escort Services
Escort services and the like, including “online massages,” etc., are much more attainable in our age of social media than it ever was before. Scrutinizing credit card charges is but one of the contributing factors as to why divorces are expensive.
Facebook is now a contributing factor to about a third of all divorces. A couple of years ago, that number was 25%. You can meet anyone online. I have had cases where someone reconnected with a high school sweetheart and ran off during the divorce even though the sweetheart lived over 3,000 miles away. An online fantasy that the “grass is greener on the other side” is a significant cause in the breakdown of marriages today.
Boredom can lead to an affair. Many people fall into routines, including tired routines in the bedroom. What do you do to keep your marriage fresh? Many divorces could be possibly avoided if people took the time and commitment to communicate verbally and physically and keep things exciting. Some people look for excitement to escape boredom. It can be by experimenting with other relationships, trying drugs, fast cars, or hanging out with different people. I once had a case where a husband wanted a ménage à trois for his milestone birthday. His wife agreed to the gift. Over time, the couple experimented with wife-swapping and ultimately his wife ran off with someone else.
12. Growing Apart with Your Partner
People grow apart. Do you and your spouse have the same goals anymore? Do you want to ride off into the sunset together after the children are grown? Is your spouse your best friend?
Alcohol and drugs often go hand in hand with affairs. I have seen many cases where a spouse will trade one addiction for another. A person’s addiction to drugs or alcohol is chemically no different than an addiction to the Internet, porn, food, or any other unhealthy excess.
14. Not Married for the Right Reasons
Did you marry for the right reason? Or better yet, did you become the “right” person for your spouse? Do you both have enough in common? If not, you will often look for that commonality in the arms of someone else.
15. Lack of Respect at Home
Does your spouse treat you well? Do you treat your spouse well in return? Over the years I have seen many doctors, for example, run off with their nurse or other medical support staff. It’s really not surprising that doctors, in general, are often worshipped by their staff at work, but in contrast at home, they are treated with a lack of respect. Does ego-stroking lead to affairs? Absolutely. Everyone enjoys a compliment; it would go a long way if spouses found ways to complement each other regularly.
16. Feeling Unappreciated
Some people fall into having an affair simply because they feel that they are not appreciated at home or that they are “doing all of the work” in keeping a marriage and home together. Again, questions to ask are these: Am I appreciative of my spouse? Am I being the “right person” for my spouse? If more people harbored a “servant’s” mindset for their spouse, more and more affairs and divorces could be avoided.
17. Issues Involving Body Image and Aging
Issues involving body image and weight gain as well as aging can, unfortunately, lead to an affair and or divorce. Some people will “trade-in” an aging spouse for a “younger” model. Of course, the point of this paragraph has nothing to do with unavoidable medical issues. But let’s face it. Many spouses tend to “let themselves go” over time. During the “romance” period, both spouses typically try to present themselves in the best possible light to “win” the affections and marriage commitment of the other. Once the prize (marriage) is won, many people think that “the chase is over.” Not so. Marriage is only the beginning. If people continued to consciously keep “chasing” their spouse, affairs and divorces could be avoided.
You feel sleeping with others will improve your sense of self-worth, signal your independence or increase your social status and popularity.
You suspect or know your partner has betrayed you, so you want to get even. “The motivation is revenge,” Selterman said.
At the same time, too much insecurity can be one of the causes of infidelity in a marriage. The need for constant reaffirmation can lead to an affair, especially if one spouse becomes “too needy” or “too clingy.” It’s a delicate balance to find, but marriage requires nothing less than true and dedicated commitment.
21. Living Apart for Extended Periods of Time
Travel for work and living apart for extended periods of time invariably lead to affairs. Think of the movie Up in the Air with George Clooney. There, the female character carried on an affair with George Clooney’s character. George fell in love with her only to discover later that she was married and cheating on her husband with him.
22 Low commitment
This is oriented toward people’s definitions of exclusivity, Selterman said. “Some people say they never discussed being exclusive with their partner or ‘I didn’t want to get too close,’ or ‘I don’t envision a future with this person,’” he noted. “They’re in a relationship, but they haven’t specified that the commitment level is high or the exclusivity is there.”Excitement, forbidden fruit, boredom, opportunity, enticement, retaliation as you can see, the reasons why people have affairs are endless.
Men are more likely to have affairs than women and are often seeking more sex or attention. Men express their love in a more physical way they often don’t have the perfect “feeling words” for their wives. So sex becomes an important path to connection and intimacy.
If men aren’t sexually satisfied (for instance, if their spouse declines sex often), they take that rejection to heart, and it can easily translate to feeling “unloved.” In fact, men are more likely than women to cheat due to a feeling of insecurity.
When women cheat, they’re often trying to fill an emotional void. Women frequently complain of disconnection from a spouse, and of the wish to be desired and cherished. Women are more likely to feel unappreciated or ignored, and seek the emotional intimacy of an extramarital relationship.
An affair is more often a “transitional” partner for the woman as a way to end the relationship. She is seriously looking to leave her marriage and this other person helps her do just that.
That’s not to say that sexual satisfaction isn’t a primary driver of affairs for wives as well as husbands. Similarly, boredom with the marital relationship may lead both men and women to cheat.
With or without individual or marital risk factors there are a number of possible reasons for marital infidelity. Underlying many of the reasons, however, lie a few threads. One is the role of unmet needs.
One partner may be incapable of fulfilling their partner’s needs, but far too often, those needs have not been expressed. Marital partners are not mind-readers. Another is the lack of addressing problems directly.