Heartbreak, Sex

Why People Cheat In Committed Relationships, According To Study

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Why People Cheat In Committed Relationships, According To New Study

Superdrug Online Doctor released a study in 2018 that surveyed over 2,000 European and American men and women to find out the dirty secrets behind cheating, and man oh man is it good.

If you’ve been cheated on or were sorry enough to get caught in the act, you know how devastating infidelity can be to a relationship. If it doesn't flat out end the relationship, tough days are still to come as major problems are sorted out over time.

But is there a reason why people cheat in the first place? If you're unhappy in a relationship or have your eye on someone a little more intriguing, why not just break up with the other person? Past cheaters are here to tell you why.

Of the more than 2,000 people questioned on the details of their cheating, the majority of people were only unfaithful once. On the European side, 65.6 percent of women and 59.8 percent of men claimed to have cheated once, leaving 34.4 percent of women and 40.2 percent of men with multiple offenses.

For Americans, more men — 68.2 percent — only cheated one time, with women at 59.9 percent. American women were more likely to cheat two or more times (40.1 percent) than men (38.1 percent).

RELATED: The BRUTAL Reality You Must Face When You Decide To Cheat

So you haven't actually cheated, but how far did you go? Depending on a person's definition of what cheating means, sometimes platonic relationships come close to crossing a boundary.

Of those who claimed to have refrained from cheating, 27.8 percent of women and 18.8 percent of men said they got very emotionally close to someone outside of their relationship. Others stated that they went out with someone "as a friend," held hands, or cuddled, and 4.4 percent of men and 3.7 percent of women admitted to having sex.

But hold up — if sex isn't cheating, then what is? For both Americans and Europeans, almost everyone surveyed believed vaginal intercourse to be considered cheating, with 99 percent of American women and 97 percent of men, and 85.6 percent of European women and 81.4 percent of men in agreement.

Doing the dirty wasn't the only indication of cheating, according to the surveyed group. Other physical deeds like oral, kissing, and spooning were also considered to be cheating by the majority of participants. 

But what about nonphysical actions? Almost 71 percent of American women say that getting emotionally close with someone is a form of cheating, along with a little over half, 52.9 percent, of American men who said the same thing. Going out as friends was on the lower end of the spectrum, but still included under the broad umbrella of cheating. But 43.5 percent of American women and 29.2 percent of men see this as cheating, whereas only 23.4 percent of European women and 18.6 percent men view it as such.

But the question remains: is there a reason why people cheat?

A few of the most popular reasons for American women were that her partner stopped paying attention to her, the other person wasn't really there for her, and she was having doubts about the relationship. European women had similar justifications, with other reasons being the fact that the other person was really hot, or she needed to feel sexy.

European and American men's answers bore a very strong resemblance. The top answer in both groups was that the other person was really hot. Following close behind at the second most popular answer among American men was that other people were hitting on them. Could this be proof to the theory that women have greater self-control than men?

RELATED: "Why I Cheated" 5 Brave People Reveal The REAL Reason They Strayed

Whatever the case, what seems to be the common thread between both nationalities and genders is a loss of connection between partners — physical or emotional.

The survey also found how cheating usually starts. Sometimes it's where you least expect it, or maybe it's hidden in plain sight.

While 40.6 percent of women and 32.9 percent of men admitted to cheating on his or her partner with a friend, the second most likely place to fall into infidelity was at work, with 33.3 percent of women and 28.6 percent men claiming to have cheated with coworkers.

Other common places include simply being out and about, at bars, on social media, or even on a website specifically designed for cheaters. Men were more likely (25.2 percent) than women (12 percent) to utilize online tools such as social media or dating apps to cheat, indicating a greater likelihood of men to seek out opportunities to cheat in convenient ways.

Do people regret cheating on their partner? The survey shows that most do, in fact, regret it. And the most likely to feel a sense of guilt after the deed is done? American men are most likely to regret cheating (71 percent) as opposed to only 57.8 percent of American women who wish they could take it back. European men and women were almost identical on the guilt scale, with 58.6 percent of women and 56.5 percent who claim to regret cheating.

So who's the stealthiest of them all? The study reveals that European women were the least likely to get caught, with only a little over 10 percent of women who were ever found out.

The most likely to get caught were American men at 21.6 percent. Maybe that's why they're so inclined to regret cheating.

Over 56 percent of European men and American men and women claimed to have never been caught. So all in all, if you're looking to cheat on your partner the odds are rather split whether you'll make it through unnoticed or not — is it worth the gamble?

RELATED: Why Women Cheat: A Married Man Goes Undercover On Ashley Madison

There you have it, a complete rundown on the reasons and consequences of cheating in a committed relationship. The truth is, it doesn't matter where you are or how you encounter a new and interesting potential partner, the temptation to cheat is always out there. It's up to you to decide whether or not to act on that and to look for warning signs that your partner is about to do it to you.

Hannah Dodd is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to YourTango.

This article was originally posted in March 2018 and was updated with the latest information.