The Truest, Most Heart-Breaking Reason People Cheat

Psychotherapist Esther Perel explains what's at the heart of the matter when it comes to affairs.

LightField Studios / Shutterstock

Being cheated on can feel like a sharp blow to the heart. And the betrayal of being blinded by cheating can be overwhelming and infuriating for anyone who's been through it.

Then there's the even bigger question that needs to be addressed: why did they cheat in the first place? Was it something you did, or is there more to it?

Psychotherapist Esther Perel dives into the main reasons people cheat on their partners.




The Most Heart-Breaking Reason People Cheat

People cheat for a lot of reasons, but the main one often boils down to something more internal. Perel puts it like this, "Either there's something missing in our relationship or there's something missing in you."


Cheaters don't cheat for the fun of it or because of sexual reasons. Most people cheat because they feel like something is missing.

When cheaters get into a relationship they often feel tied down. Cheaters often feel like they're losing a part of themselves, so they cheat to try to regain their sense of identity.

They don't want to leave their spouse behind or find someone better. No, they want to regain their identity and get in touch with another part of themselves. The part of themselves that they don't experience when they're with you.

RELATED: The Most Surprising Reason People Cheat, According To Research

So, cheaters often go after people who reflect different sides of themselves. That might explain why some people cheat with multiple people. They're cheating with the different versions of themselves.


As interesting as this may be, there's never an excuse for cheating on someone you love. Cheating leaves lasting scars that can make it difficult to open up and trust again.

So, how can we heal from betrayal and move forward? Well, licensed therapist Ashley Hudson has some tips to help you get started.

How To Get Over Being Cheated On

1. Allow yourself to feel.

We were taught as children to cover up our negative emotions. That to cry or scream was an inconvenience to the people around us.

But if you want to heal you have to allow yourself to feel.

Don't distract yourself with chores or work. Schedule time throughout your day to let your emotions out suggests Hudson.


She continues, "Having an allotted time to be authentic and real is fundamental in moving on."

2. Don't seek revenge.

When we are cheated on, our first reaction might be to get even. You want to make this person hurt the same way you do.

However, let's save the theatrics for another time. Hudson explains that seeking revenge will only make things worse for you.

She continues, "The painful emotions and aftermath do not go away because you sought revenge."

Put down your torch and find other ways to let out your anger. Cry into a pillow or go exercise for an hour.

Try journaling about your feelings or talk to a trusted friend or family member about your feelings.




RELATED: The 2 Main Reasons People Cheat (Over And Over Again)

3. Take a break.

If you still have your ex on social media, do yourself a favor and block them right now.

Blocking your ex will give you the space to process your emotions without any more pain or trauma resurfacing.

Hudson explains, "Looking through photos, posts, or updates can remind you of the past and keep you stuck in the pain and self-doubt."


Stepping back from social media altogether will also give you the space to focus on other important aspects of your life.



Going through a breakup is tough enough, but when cheating is involved, it adds a whole new layer of complexity to the equation.

However, once you understand why it happened and how to move on, you can work through it and find happiness elsewhere.


RELATED: 6 Honest Reasons Why People Cheat, As Told By A Woman Who Did — A Lot

Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.