3 Psychology-Based Reasons People Cheat

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woman holding man's phone accusing him of cheating

Being cheated on is one of the worst feelings in the world. Not only is it emotionally draining, but it makes it tougher to love and trust anyone else ever again.

If you've ever been cheated on, you've probably wondered why it happened in the first place — and you're not alone.

Luckily, dating coach Sabrina Zohar recently explained the psychology behind three of the most common reasons people cheat.



RELATED: Why Do People Cheat On People They Love?

3 Common Reasons People Cheat, Based On Psychology

1. Low self-esteem or insecurity

The sad reality is that many people cheat to boost their own fragile egos. According to social psychologist Theresa E. DiDonato, a study conducted showed that 57% of people use higher self-esteem as a motivator to cheat on their partners.

Sedona Sky Academy also suggests that cheating helps insecure people feel validated, worthy, desired, and appreciated.



2. Escapism

Escaping reality is another reason cheaters cheat. According to clinical sexologist and psychotherapist, Robert Weiss, cheaters are deep down unhappy with their lives.

This unhappiness leads cheaters to reflect on how their lives could've been. Through this, they explore the repressed sides of themselves and that's when cheating begins.

3. Power, control and the thrill of dominance

It might sound twisted, but some people cheat because they have issues with power and control. Being in a committed relationship can mean compromising with your partner.

And whether it's giving into their needs, thoughts, or ideas, you're essentially handing over control to another person. In the eyes of cheaters, this feels like a tightrope that's restricting their access to freedom. So, what do they do?

Not wanting to relinquish control they go back to acting single. And for cheaters, "Cheating is a rebellious way of telling others they still have power and control," says the International Psychology Clinic.

RELATED: 8 Harsh Realities All Cheaters Eventually Have To Face

The Effects Of Cheating and Overcoming Infidelity

No matter the reason, cheating can mess with us both mentally and physically. According to social psychologist Madeleine A Fugère, just suspecting your partner of cheating can have strong psychological, physical, and behavioral effects.

People experience higher levels of distress, depression, and physical health symptoms, reports Fugère. Moreover, women report having headaches and disturbed sleep, while men report riskier behaviors like excessive drinking or taking drugs.

According to Fugère, in dating relationships, 75% of the time there are sexual or emotional affairs taking place. In marriage, this number drops to 20%.

So, if you've had the misfortune of being cheated on and are looking for ways to cope, here are a few suggestions to consider.

According to psychologist Dr. Kathy Nickerson, one of the best things you can do after being cheated on is to practice self-care. Engage in activities that bring you joy and help you relax. For me, that's reading a book and exercising.

Next, spend time with your loved ones. Go out with your friends and have a movie night with your family. Spending time with people who bring you joy will better help you heal, says Nickerson.

Always challenge negative thoughts you have and journal your feelings. Working through your emotions and getting rid of negative thoughts is crucial for boosting your self-esteem.

Being cheated on is tough, but by understanding why it happened and finding ways to heal, you can gradually overcome your headache and find closure.

RELATED: I've Been Cheating On My Wife For 10 Years And It's Made Me A Better Husband

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