Heartbreak, Sex

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

Photo: getty
Why Do People Cheat? 6 Honest Reasons Men & Women Have Affairs In Marriages & Relationships

Why do people cheat? It's one of the all-time classic questions about being in relationships, and perhaps one of the most relentlessly confounding as well. Because in our society, marriage is the ultimate signature of becoming a grown-up, and being a cheating husband or wife (or even a cheating boyfriend or girlfriend, to be honest) flies in the face of all we hold most dear.

I've cheated on boyfriends. Three of them. One of them knew I was having "an affair", and two of them never found out.

When I talk about my cheating phase with friends, I make it sound like I've learned my lesson and that I'll never do it again, and for the most part, I have. But I also know that I'm easily tempted.

RELATED: I Went Undercover On Ashley Madison To Find Out Why Women Cheat

This is something I should probably discuss with a therapist, as well as a significant other when that situation presents itself, but for right now, I can honestly say that I cannot promise I won't cheat again.

I also can't honestly tell you whether your own significant other will cheat or what their reasons were for cheating on you in the past.

What I can tell you, however, is what went through my own head when I cheated ... and why I kept doing it.

Here are 6 honest answers to the question, "Why do people cheat?" — based on my first-hand knowledge as a woman with plenty of experience having affairs.

1. It can be an easy way to end a relationship.

No one feels good about cheating, but fooling around on the side can be an easier way to end a relationship than dealing with the mess of a breakup, especially when there's no "good" reason for the breakup to occur. It might make you the villain, but it gets you out of a relationship in a hurry.

I've pulled the trigger on a dating situation this way before. We'd been dating for six months and I knew it wasn't working, so I started dating other guys while we were still supposed to be exclusive. I ended the relationship by letting him know I met someone else.

The cheating happened because, in my mind, the relationship had already ended.

2. Temptation is hard to resist.

You don't stop noticing attractive people simply because you've gotten serious with someone.

I don't cheat all the time, but I'm tempted to a greater degree than most of my girlfriends. Maybe it’s a sign of a higher libido, or maybe it’s a sign of me being terrified of commitment. Whatever it is, I can’t help being attracted to men I’m not dating.

Relationship experts would likely say it’s important to talk this out with your significant other and to try methods like role play to you can inject adrenaline into a boring bedroom routine, but that all requires insight and forethought — which are usually lacking in a cheating situation.

3. Sometimes, it really is just about the sex.

The best sex of my life was with a casual thing with a man who moved to London a few years ago.

In a way, I feel like he’s someone who was "grandfathered" into my life. I know we’ll never have a relationship because of the distance, and I’m pretty sure he’s cheated on a girlfriend to be with me, so even though I know it’s not rational, I feel like being with him doesn't count.

Besides, I barely like him as a person. And since I have no feelings for him besides the physical attraction, being with him doesn't feel like a betrayal in the same way it might if I truly had an emotional attachment to him as well.

RELATED: People With These 7 Personality Traits Are Most Likely To Cheat On You

4. There's a difference between lust and love.

I’ve never had an “emotional affair,” and even though most people wouldn't agree, I don’t think sex by itself is a big deal.

I know some couples have deals where they’re allowed to be with other people if they’re on business trips or a certain distance away from their home, and I honestly could see how that type of arrangement works.

But since most people do think it's is a pretty big deal, I tend to keep this thought on the DL from significant others ... and then end up cheating like I did in the scenarios described previously.

5. It really can "just happen."

The first time I cheated, I had an affair with a guy I met on a business trip … who was married.

We were drinking at the hotel bar, we started flirting, and I gave him a hard time when I saw his wedding ring. Then I told him I had a boyfriend. Because we were both cheating, it almost felt acceptable.

We were never going to see each other again, we used protection, and we were both lonely and hundreds of miles from home.

6. People change.

I know I said I might cheat again — and that’s true, but I also firmly believe my cheating was a defense mechanism I used because no one I was with was really the right person for me.

Before, I wanted the security of being part of a couple while still having single girl fun, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized I do want to be in a serious relationship. As my friends have gotten married, I’ve started to rethink my stance on relationships, and I want to work harder on my commitment issues.

That said, I would tell a future boyfriend about my past. I know it’s a tall order to ask for trust after revealing everything, but putting it out there can be a major sign that a man or woman wants this time to be different.

So, if you find out the person you’re seeing is like me, give them a chance … or, you know, a free pass.

RELATED: 8 Things You Didn't Know About Cheaters

This article was originally published at Modern Man. Reprinted with permission from the author.