The Reasons Cheaters Cheat

Dr. Frank Gunzburg
Baltimore Maryland

Unfortunately, there is not one simple answer that addresses why all people who get involved in affairs do so. People are complex and engage in infidelity for different reasons. When we talk about the “reasons” the affair happened, it might seem as though the affair were inevitable or somehow a justifiable course of action.

I don’t want to give you that impression. As such, it might be better to think of these as themes for the justification of the affair, rather than the “reason” it happened. Here are a few themes that seem to come up again

» Some people cheat because they aren’t getting their needs met inside their relationships. They are under the deluded notion that going outside their relationships is a legitimate answer. It isn’t.

» In some cases, people cheat because they have never learned to honor boundaries. They know the boundaries are there, but they have little hesitation about stepping over them.

» Some people are thrill seekers who just can’t pass up the opportunity to get a thrill. The very fact that these people are doing something that is taboo compels them to engage in the affair.

» Similarly, some men think that they are not a real man if they turn down a sexual invitation from someone attractive.

» Some people have low self-esteem, and they get a sense of self-worth through finding people who care about them.

» In some cases, people have sexual fetishes that their partners have problems with, so they go outside their relationships in order to fulfill these sexual desires.

» A very common theme is that people cheat because their partners no longer make them feel special. These people go outside their relationships thinking that another person might fill this gap.

Whatever the underlying reasons, cheaters cheat because they have the mistaken notion that going outside their relationships will solve their problems or fulfill some aspects of their characters.

Some people have a defective sense of commitment. (I most commonly see this in men.) They might expect themselves to be totally honest in other situations, but feel they don’t have to be when it comes to women. Although they usually vehemently deny it at first, these men have a denigrating view of women, putting them in a second-class position. I am assuming that the men reading this book are much less likely to be in this group because you are devoting this time and energy to repairing your relationship, which requires equitability between you and your partner. In the end, the reason why cheaters cheat is not of paramount importance. You can ask why they did what they did until you’re blue in the face, and each scenario could present a different answer.

The typical reason it is so important to the injured person to find out why the affair happened is based on the mistaken notion that if you want to stop or change a behavior, you have to know what triggered the behavior in the first place. If you don’t know why it happened, the thinking goes, you can’t stop it from happening again. Unfortunately, if you try to find out why the affair happened, the best you will probably get is some kind of justification for why it started, or perhaps a list of factors that are built to make the infidelity seem like less of a crime than it is.

More importantly, you don’t have to know why an action happened to keep it from happening again. In some cases, exploring what went into the cheater’s choice to cheat can help protect them against the possibility of cheating again, but this isn’t universally the case, and it isn’t what is going to keep your partner from cheating in the future. That will take hard work and commitment. Neither you nor your partner needs to investigate what lead to the affair to recommit to being faithful to each other.What is important is that both of you want to heal your relationship and are ready to do the work necessary to achieve that objective. The techniques this book is founded on will help you restore your relationship regardless of why the cheating partner decided to have an affair.

It is time to let this question go. Recognize that there may be reasons that this happened, but that figuring out the reasons doesn’t take you that much closer to rebuilding your relationship together. What will move you in that direction is figuring out what you need in this relationship, how those needs have been neglected, and how your needs interface with your partner’s needs.

Dr. Frank Gunzburg is a licensed counselor in Maryland and has been specializing is helping couples restore their marriage for over 30 years. He is also the author of How to Survive an Affair, a step-by-step healing system that can help a couple repair their relationship after it has been shattered from an affair.

If your relationship has been damaged by an affair and you would like a step-by-step system for repairing your relationship, then please visit Dr. Gunzburg’s site for more information:

This article was used by permission from How to Survive An Affair


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