The Truth About How Cheaters Think

Here's what they tell themselves to justify what they do.

woman thinking in bed with cheating boyfriend next to her Oleksandr Nagaiets / Shutterstock

Cheating is one of those things that’s hard to understand unless it happens to you. Words can never fully describe how painful it is to find out that your partner has been cheating on you, even if they may be able to come somewhat close at times.

On a similar note, it’s really, really hard to explain how cheaters think unless you’ve been a cheater. I know this because I’ve been a cheater when I was younger, and also have been cheated on.


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Ever wonder what’s going through a cheater’s head when they do the deed? Well, here are a couple of things they tend to think when they’re betraying the person they promised to be monogamous with.

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Here is the truth about how cheaters think, and why you should never give them a second chance:

1. “I’m a good person.”

Here’s something that most betrayed spouses will never see coming: a lot of cheaters don’t see themselves as scumbags. They believe that they are overall good people, and that might actually be true in many situations.

However, the cognitive dissonance is absolutely real, and you’d be shocked at how many of them consider themselves to be great spouses.

2. “I’m going to convince myself this is not my fault”

Cheaters really have a hard time accepting the fact that they’ve cheated, and that, yes, it is their fault. No one likes to be seen as the bad guy, and when you have to look in the mirror and face yourself, it’s virtually impossible to do so without feeling horrible.

So, in most cases, cheaters will come up with a reason or two to justify their betrayal.


3. “I feel like crap. How could I do this?”

Yes, a lot of them do feel guilty about it. However, from experience, this isn’t necessarily the majority. Some might only think this way after they see the devastation their actions have caused.

4. “Well, my needs aren’t being properly met at home, so I might as well look elsewhere”

This is the most common way cheaters rationalize cheating, and at times, they may actually have a point. A lack of affection, perhaps feeling too bored, possibly just not having wild sex — whatever it is, they feel like cheating is an acceptable way to get their needs met.

Still, though, they could just dump their primary partner and try to find someone better, so don’t take this as an excuse.

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5. “No one’s loyal anyway, so I might as well have a little fun on the side. My main squeeze has my commitment, so this won’t hurt her”

This is the second most common way that cheaters justify their actions. They usually will assume that everyone else also cheats and that they’re really not doing something that messed up. Most of the time, people who think this way realize that it’s not “harmless” only when they get caught.

6. “I work so hard providing for her, I deserve fun”

Yes, this is legit how cheaters think and something they believe. Basically, it’s entitlement. They feel that they are entitled to extra sex while their partner stays loyal because... who knows why?

7. “She’ll stay with me, even if she catches me”

You’d be shocked at how many cheaters, particularly repeat cheaters, will think this way when they’re out and about. I’ve actually heard them say this, too. Incidentally, this is the exact reason why you should never give a cheater a second chance.

8. “I really want out of my current relationship, so I might as well cheat. I’ll leave her for the other woman”

This is a very common way cheaters think about their affairs: a stopgap. They dislike the idea of being single, so as a way to ensure they have a safety net with them, they’ll go out and find an affair partner. More often than not, cheaters end up rethinking this plan once they actually do get caught.


9. “I love having my cake... and eating it too”

This is really what cheating boils down to for most cheaters. They love having things both ways — the freedom of singledom, with a reliable partner in a committed relationship.

Why they don’t just choose to have an open relationship is beyond me, but let’s just face it: some people aren’t strong enough to handle a taste of their own medicine.

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10. “In a lot of ways, it really has nothing to do with my main partner”

Believe it or not, most cheating isn’t really about satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a significant other. Rather, it’s more about someone just being selfish and choosing to have “variety” behind the loyal partner’s back.


11. “Cheating is a habit that’s really hard to break. Why can’t I stop?”

There’s a good reason why so many people seem to be serial cheaters. There’s a lot of validation and control that comes with having an affair. It’s thrilling, and unfortunately, it’s a huge ego-feeder. So, this is why so many cheaters can’t stop cheating once they start.

12. “Cheating is a thrill”

It is. It’s an ego trip and an exciting one at that. People can and do get addicted to the thrill of random sex, as well as the thrill of falling in love. So, as much as I hate to say it, this thought does come across most cheaters’ minds pretty often.

13. “I probably won’t get caught”

Most cheaters really do think they won’t get caught. In reality, a good amount of cheaters do end up being caught, even if they are incredibly careful about covering their tracks.


14. “I really didn’t mean to do this”

This may shock a lot of betrayed spouses, but most cheaters don’t actually set out to have an affair. Cheating can be a slippery slope. A lot of times, it’s just being at the wrong place, around the wrong person, and not knowing how to say no until you’re already too deep in.

Once again, it’s really hard to explain unless you’re in a cheater’s shoes.

15. “Fear of missing out is a real issue”

You’d be surprised at how much cheating is sparked by a FOMO moment. It’s that possibility that maybe the affair partner is really your soulmate or that, maybe you’ll always regret not taking up that offer. Because of that, for many cheaters, the two most dangerous words in the world are “What if?” 

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, New Theory Magazine, and others.