Why So Many Men & Women Secretly Want To Be Caught Cheating

Why some people would rather cheat than end a relationship.

Last updated on Apr 25, 2024

Woman sitting on couch anxious, wanting to be caught cheating to end marriage Branislav Nenin | Shutterstock, Africa images | Canva

Most people would agree that if a romantic relationship is over, it’s over. And yet, every day cheating husbands and wives embark on adulterous affairs as a way to end their unhappy marriages. It would be reasonable for just about anyone to wonder why men and women cheat when they've already decided that their marriage or relationship is over. Why bother with the messy hassle of infidelity if you could simply ask your spouse for a divorce and be free? As odd as it may seem from the outside, in many cases, the reason people cheat is that they want to get caught having an affair. Getting caught cheating to end even the most miserable of marriages is undeniably a bad idea, yet it happens over and over again. There are 3 main reasons some people want to be caught cheating, even when they know the marriage is over.


RELATED: What Counts As Cheating, According To Experts

Here is why so many men and women secretly want to be caught cheating:

1. They’re afraid to ask for a divorce

Owning up to the fact that you’re done with your marriage or relationship is difficult, especially when you’re afraid of how your partner might respond.



2. They want their partner to be the one who ends things

Cheating so that your spouse or partner will end the relationship can be a way some people avoid owning up to the fact that they're done. It may also allow them to place the ultimate blame for the failure of their marriage on their partner rather than on themselves.


RELATED: The Least Obvious Way To Prevent Cheating From Happening

3. They believe an affair is the only "acceptable" reason to get divorced

It’s unfortunate but true that many people still believe being miserable in a marriage isn't reason enough in and of itself to ask for a divorce. The trouble for people who do this, of course, is that while it may seem as though cheating will solve their immediate issue of wanting out of the marriage, their partner, children, family, close friends, community, and especially they are more like to suffer for your actions than if you were to be open and direct with your spouse about what's going on.

If you are someone who is considering taking such action, or perhaps already has, there are some important things you should know. Once the initial thrill of having an affair wears off, it's highly likely you'll feel a rush of negative emotions — including anxiety, guilt, shame, worry regret, confusion, embarrassment, and self-loathing — as you contemplate how your actions impacted those you love. When your partner discovers your infidelity, they’ll feel the stabbing pain of your betrayal. They will begin wondering what parts of the relationship they had with you were real, if any, and which parts were a lie.

The torture they experience will be beyond words, and amid that excruciating pain, they’ll lash out at you. You’ll probably get your wish and they will end your relationship, citing your infidelity as the reason for your divorce. But, that won’t be pretty. They will want to make sure you pay for the pain you’ve caused them. They will probably also torture themselves in a variety of ways, as they struggle to come to terms with what they know believe were lies about your love for them. And your partner isn't the only one who will judge you harshly for cheating.




RELATED: 14 Scorned Women Describe The Exact Way They Caught Their Partners Cheating

Your in-laws, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, and eventually, even your children will look down on you for your behavior. The damage will be unlike any you have ever known. Instead of cheating to get out of your relationship, the best thing you can do is prepare yourself to have a courageous conversation with your spouse during which you share your truth. As uncomfortable as it is when you imagine telling them you’re ready to end the relationship, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself and everyone involved. If you're afraid to tell them you want to end your marriage, you need to examine your reasons.

Are you afraid of hurting them? Do you feel guilty? Or are you scared of what they might do? If you’re afraid of what they’ll do when you tell them it’s over, prepare for the worst reaction and hope for the best. You might even need help with telling them you’re leaving and that’s okay. If you’re afraid of hurting them, realize that there’s no way around that if they still want the relationship. However, you can minimize the hurt they feel by being honest and direct about things being over. And when you do your best to minimize the pain you cause them, you won't feel as guilty.


If you’re hoping that your partner will end the relationship for you, you’re disrespecting yourself and them. When you manipulate someone else to make your decisions for you, you’re not behaving in an ethical manner, which hurts both of you. If you’re loath to break your marriage vows of "for better or worse" and "‘til death do us part" but you’re miserable in your marriage, you need to do some soul searching, because, for a marriage to work, both spouses need to work to maintain it. You can’t do it on your own and you don’t need to remain miserable. Regardless of the reasons you are considering cheating to end your relationship, if things are over for you, then they’re over. The kindest and most ethical way you can end your relationship is not by choosing to cheat, but by having an honest, direct, and respectful conversation.

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

Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce and life coach. Her writing on marriage, divorce, and co-parenting has appeared on MSN, Yahoo, Psych Central, Huffington Post, Prevention, and The Good Men Project, among others.