WHY do people CHEAT?

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  • Motorsheen
    Motorsheen Posts: 20,361 Member
    Motorsheen wrote: »
    Why?

    Why?

    Because that cozy, corner room at the El Dorado Motor Lodge ain't going to rent itself, amiright?

    Do they have a free continental breakfast?

    Asking for a friend.

    Sure……

    If that’s what you want to call it.
  • honey_honey_12
    honey_honey_12 Posts: 7,241 Member
    because they can
  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 960 Member
    edited December 2021
    I think it's complicated as there can be any number of reasons.

    One that I think of is that the cheater is unhappy in their relationship,or maybe "settled" for their current partner in the first place thinking they could grow to love him/her. When one is married, esp. with kids, it takes a lot to end things because it is a HUGE change and adjustment.

    Having said that, I don't think cheating is ever excusable and one should always end things before starting the new one. Confession: I am in a position where I could cheat and the desire to do so is definitely there. Another confession: I have admitted to myself, even years ago, that I settled when I married my current partner and know deep down he is not the right person for me. I've been unhappy in my marriage for a long time, and I know he has, too. The person I could cheat with is someone from my past in which we had insane chemistry (beyond physical) where the relationship ended because he was in the Navy and was sent overseas and our relationship was new, not because we ever had a chance for it to grow and decided it wasn't right. This was over 20 years ago, but in connecting to him again (not in person) we both realized how easy it was to feel comfortable with one another again even though it had been so long and a short-lived relationship. Honestly, it's crazy. And yes, I feel guilty as hell we've reconnected.

    However, I won't cheat on my husband, but this has given me the final push to realize I need to be upfront with my husband and move on. I know he will be happier in the long run, too.

  • ythannah
    ythannah Posts: 4,225 Member
    One that I think of is that the cheater is unhappy in their relationship,or maybe "settled" for their current partner in the first place thinking they could grow to love him/her. When one is married, esp. with kids, it takes a lot to end things because it is a HUGE change and adjustment.

    Long time ago, over 30 years now, a friend of a friend was marrying a woman under those circumstances. He'd confided in my friend that he wasn't in love with his fiancee but he thought she'd make a great mother so that's why he had decided to marry her. As far as I could tell they had nothing in common.... they'd started dating in high school when you have everything in common but had grown in different directions since then. You could see the young woman was head over heels for him though.

    I wonder how long it lasted.
  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 960 Member
    edited December 2021
    ythannah wrote: »
    One that I think of is that the cheater is unhappy in their relationship,or maybe "settled" for their current partner in the first place thinking they could grow to love him/her. When one is married, esp. with kids, it takes a lot to end things because it is a HUGE change and adjustment.

    Long time ago, over 30 years now, a friend of a friend was marrying a woman under those circumstances. He'd confided in my friend that he wasn't in love with his fiancee but he thought she'd make a great mother so that's why he had decided to marry her. As far as I could tell they had nothing in common.... they'd started dating in high school when you have everything in common but had grown in different directions since then. You could see the young woman was head over heels for him though.

    I wonder how long it lasted.

    I've wondered what my best friends really thought about me marrying him, knowing that I had reservations about my husband because I didn't feel butterflies from the start. I guess I will find out in a few days when I confess that I am going to be asking for a divorce after the holidays...
  • KL1887
    KL1887 Posts: 71 Member
    In terms of long term relationships I’d say it was probably because one of the couple wasn’t having their needs met, be it emotionally or sexually and as such the other person finds that in someone else. It gives them a sense of fulfilment and of being whole again despite the need not being met inside their relationship.
  • Sharsou
    Sharsou Posts: 8,677 Member
    It’s a sensitive topic and it’s hard to say right or wrong, as it totally depends on the individual’s circumstances. There could be someone who is struggling in his/her relationship and this other person is like the opportunity to overcome that pain. Though I’m personally supportive of the fact that cheating should be avoided at all cost, how we it’s the circumstances that guides you.
  • KL1887
    KL1887 Posts: 71 Member
    ythannah wrote: »
    KL1887 wrote: »
    In terms of long term relationships I’d say it was probably because one of the couple wasn’t having their needs met, be it emotionally or sexually and as such the other person finds that in someone else. It gives them a sense of fulfilment and of being whole again despite the need not being met inside their relationship.

    That's such a vague, insubstantial rationalization though.

    First you have to separate what are truly "needs" from "wants".

    How much responsibility lies on the partner to fulfil the other person's "needs", and how much on the individual self?

    Has the partner clearly articulated what they "need" from the other person, and is that person actually refusing to make any effort to meet the requests, or have they been set an insurmountable task with shifting goalposts that they can never satisfy?

    I’m talking basic relationship needs, not own personal needs, those area different.
    In a relationship each party needs to feel that they are listened to, valued, they are wanted, desired. When aspects of that are ignored on a frequent basis, even if communicated effectively that it’s an element that’s missing is when people tend to seek it elsewhere.
    For example, a small proportion of relationships end up in sexless marriages, very rarely do these relationships survive simply because the lack of intimacy causes a whole host of additional effects. Like reduced self esteem, paranoia, being touch starved, feelings of frustration, resentment and loneliness. Those feelings put the other party at an increased risk of affair be it emotional or physical because they will seek that missing aspect elsewhere, even if they don’t intend to. Many partners of people in sexless relationships will say that every other part of their relationship is great, but that area is one they cannot get over.
    That example can be switched out for several other basics in a relationship and the result will be that if you aren’t left feeling secure in your relationship naturally it will be sought somewhere else.
  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 960 Member
    KL1887 wrote: »
    ythannah wrote: »
    KL1887 wrote: »
    In terms of long term relationships I’d say it was probably because one of the couple wasn’t having their needs met, be it emotionally or sexually and as such the other person finds that in someone else. It gives them a sense of fulfilment and of being whole again despite the need not being met inside their relationship.

    That's such a vague, insubstantial rationalization though.

    First you have to separate what are truly "needs" from "wants".

    How much responsibility lies on the partner to fulfil the other person's "needs", and how much on the individual self?

    Has the partner clearly articulated what they "need" from the other person, and is that person actually refusing to make any effort to meet the requests, or have they been set an insurmountable task with shifting goalposts that they can never satisfy?

    I’m talking basic relationship needs, not own personal needs, those area different.
    In a relationship each party needs to feel that they are listened to, valued, they are wanted, desired. When aspects of that are ignored on a frequent basis, even if communicated effectively that it’s an element that’s missing is when people tend to seek it elsewhere.
    For example, a small proportion of relationships end up in sexless marriages, very rarely do these relationships survive simply because the lack of intimacy causes a whole host of additional effects. Like reduced self esteem, paranoia, being touch starved, feelings of frustration, resentment and loneliness. Those feelings put the other party at an increased risk of affair be it emotional or physical because they will seek that missing aspect elsewhere, even if they don’t intend to. Many partners of people in sexless relationships will say that every other part of their relationship is great, but that area is one they cannot get over.
    That example can be switched out for several other basics in a relationship and the result will be that if you aren’t left feeling secure in your relationship naturally it will be sought somewhere else.

    I've been commenting on this post a lot because it's so relevant to my life right now, and honestly not a position I thought I'd be in.

    My husband and I have been in an *almost* sexless marriage for a long time now, by my choice. To me, it is more of a duty, an obligation, but he would want to do it a lot more. If anyone should be cheating, it should be him. I wouldn't blame him at all and honestly, it would be a relief. I have tried to convince myself for a long time that I could be ok with staying married to him as more as my best friend and father of my children and not a romantic partner, but that thought just made me so depressed when I thought about it at night. It's also not fair to him at all. However, I've finally accepted that I'm not physically attracted to him anymore, and don't know if I ever felt all that attracted. When I met him, though, even though he wasn't my "type" in many ways, I was looking for stability and companionship after a certain phase of my life. He fulfilled that for me, plus he is kind, hard-working, smart, funny/goofy, etc. I tried to convince myself that makes a good husband and that would be ok, but don't know if I was ever "in love" with him.

    In reconnecting with my old flame (which is all I can really call him since our relationship was so new before he had to leave), I had forgotten how many of my own needs were not being met in a relationship, and not necessarily in a way my husband could provide. This old flame and I had an intense, yet short-lived, relationship and I remember how I felt when I first met him and when I was with him, even talking to him now. We aren't having an affair now, not a physical one anyway, but it is definitely headed towards emotional, if not there already. I can honestly say I never felt that way with my husband, and it's not just about physical attraction. In fact, this old flame isn't probably a guy that I would feel head-over-heels just by physical looks alone. It's a combination of factors.

    As I said in my previous posts, I was unhappy and thinking of divorce long before I reconnected with this other guy, but remembering all these old feelings and realizing what's important to me has given me the courage to ask for one. It's what's fair to not only me, but definitely my husband and my kids. He doesn't deserve a wife that is only lukewarm and deserves to be loved the way he should be loved. This other guy has had no direct involvement in that decision at all and never crossed lines that I didn't first, either. However, I'd be lying if I said that knowing that I can talk to him without guilt and do the things I really want to do isn't a motivating factor...and he lives 6 hours away, so it won't be easy, either.
  • Hiawassee88
    Hiawassee88 Posts: 24,282 Member
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  • ythannah
    ythannah Posts: 4,225 Member
    KL1887 wrote: »
    ythannah wrote: »
    KL1887 wrote: »
    In terms of long term relationships I’d say it was probably because one of the couple wasn’t having their needs met, be it emotionally or sexually and as such the other person finds that in someone else. It gives them a sense of fulfilment and of being whole again despite the need not being met inside their relationship.

    That's such a vague, insubstantial rationalization though.

    First you have to separate what are truly "needs" from "wants".

    How much responsibility lies on the partner to fulfil the other person's "needs", and how much on the individual self?

    Has the partner clearly articulated what they "need" from the other person, and is that person actually refusing to make any effort to meet the requests, or have they been set an insurmountable task with shifting goalposts that they can never satisfy?

    I’m talking basic relationship needs, not own personal needs, those area different.
    In a relationship each party needs to feel that they are listened to, valued, they are wanted, desired. When aspects of that are ignored on a frequent basis, even if communicated effectively that it’s an element that’s missing is when people tend to seek it elsewhere.
    For example, a small proportion of relationships end up in sexless marriages, very rarely do these relationships survive simply because the lack of intimacy causes a whole host of additional effects. Like reduced self esteem, paranoia, being touch starved, feelings of frustration, resentment and loneliness. Those feelings put the other party at an increased risk of affair be it emotional or physical because they will seek that missing aspect elsewhere, even if they don’t intend to. Many partners of people in sexless relationships will say that every other part of their relationship is great, but that area is one they cannot get over.
    That example can be switched out for several other basics in a relationship and the result will be that if you aren’t left feeling secure in your relationship naturally it will be sought somewhere else.

    But why doesn't that individual end the unsatisfactory relationship before running off to find their dream need-filling person? That's what I don't understand here. If the original relationship is soooo lacking, why hang onto it until the better opportunity comes along?
  • KL1887
    KL1887 Posts: 71 Member
    I don’t think they always do it intentionally, as I said many characteristics of the relationship will still be deemed as viable or desirable, like having children in an otherwise stable and happy home. It could be that they don’t even realise that’s what they’ve been missing from their relationship until there’s a shift or a change, like one person in the relationship going back to work and finding that people engage with them and they feel listened to and respected and they continue to seek that source because it’s not being given in their relationship because they’ve fallen into a routine of having conversations while looking at their phones. All too often it’s an emotional affair that develops first and those can be harder to spot

  • makinlifehappen
    makinlifehappen Posts: 111 Member
    People have a hard time with long term commitment. This extends into cheating.
    There are other reasons one could use. Bored relationship, physical attraction is gone, money, abuse and so on.
    It all came from somewhere. Recognizing that it key.
    Personally I don't get it. Just leave rather than cheat.
  • ythannah
    ythannah Posts: 4,225 Member
    KL1887 wrote: »
    I don’t think they always do it intentionally, as I said many characteristics of the relationship will still be deemed as viable or desirable, like having children in an otherwise stable and happy home. It could be that they don’t even realise that’s what they’ve been missing from their relationship until there’s a shift or a change, like one person in the relationship going back to work and finding that people engage with them and they feel listened to and respected and they continue to seek that source because it’s not being given in their relationship because they’ve fallen into a routine of having conversations while looking at their phones. All too often it’s an emotional affair that develops first and those can be harder to spot

    I suspect far more of them hang onto relationship #1 because it's either better than nothing, or they like/need the security and social approval aspects of being in a relationship, however unsatisfying it is personally. Once they've developed the new one to a point where it's looking like a sure thing (replacement relationship) they can cut the old one loose.

    After all, it's just as easy to "engage with" and feel "listened to and respected by" people of the same sex as the opposite sex, yet those won't grow into an affair (assuming heterosexuality, switch genders in that sentence if otherwise).
  • honey_honey_12
    honey_honey_12 Posts: 7,241 Member
    I don’t understand why people get married if they aren’t madly,
    truly in love.
    There are different kinds of love.
    If the sexual attraction isn’t part of it,
    I don’t think that’s the marrying kind of love.

    I was completely in love when I promised to be faithful and I was for 35yrs.
    Always found him physically desirable, it was his grumpy personality that finally broke us.
    Still love him, still best friends.
  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 960 Member
    edited December 2021
    I don’t understand why people get married if they aren’t madly,
    truly in love.
    There are different kinds of love.
    If the sexual attraction isn’t part of it,
    I don’t think that’s the marrying kind of love.

    I was completely in love when I promised to be faithful and I was for 35yrs.
    Always found him physically desirable, it was his grumpy personality that finally broke us.
    Still love him, still best friends.

    As someone who did marry someone she wasn't truly, madly in love with, I can tell you my underlying reasons for doing so.

    One: after a certain phase in my life, it seemed liked any guy I was truly interested just didn't feel the same about me. Two, (and this is the big one, here): Deep down I believed I would never be able to find someone who would be as crazy for me as I was for him. I was also overweight and not feeling good about myself, really, when I met my husband. It all came down to self-esteem and self-worth. I suspect many who marry when not madly in love do so for the same kinds of reasons.
  • Hiawassee88
    Hiawassee88 Posts: 24,282 Member
    Hypothetically speaking, "As someone who did marry someone she wasn't truly, madly in love with"...

    The limerence phase is temporary at best and can result in imaginary, idealistic notions of passion and love waaaay into the future. Humans are creatures of habit. Without any time spent alone, no love interest whatsoever...it's human nature to be attracted to the same type of person wrapped up in different looks. You won't realize the same situation you have on your hands until it's too late. You could end up with your life in shambles. A tee-total wreck.

    When children are involved from both parties you have no guarantees that those step-kids will ever accept you or have any dealings with you. Another total cluster. There are only choices and consequences in life. Do you know how many lives are ruined after notions of romance after a class reunion. Now is the time for thinking rationally. It may be difficult to put your emotions aside but you need to do so to avoid a real disaster that you'll be paying for the rest of your life.
  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 960 Member
    Hypothetically speaking, "As someone who did marry someone she wasn't truly, madly in love with"...

    The limerence phase is temporary at best and can result in imaginary, idealistic notions of passion and love waaaay into the future. Humans are creatures of habit. Without any time spent alone, no love interest whatsoever...it's human nature to be attracted to the same type of person wrapped up in different looks. You won't realize the same situation you have on your hands until it's too late. You could end up with your life in shambles. A tee-total wreck.

    When children are involved from both parties you have no guarantees that those step-kids will ever accept you or have any dealings with you. Another total cluster. There are only choices and consequences in life. Do you know how many lives are ruined after notions of romance after a class reunion. Now is the time for thinking rationally. It may be difficult to put your emotions aside but you need to do so to avoid a real disaster that you'll be paying for the rest of your life.

    Believe me, I know full and well that the idea of "truly, madly deeply in love" can be a conflated notion idealized in fiction. That was the reason I married who I did: basically, I used my rational, logical brain when telling myself that I should marry him, despite a nagging inner voice telling me that I wasn't sure I could be truly happy with him (my emotional brain?). I do believe there is a difference between loving someone and being in love, and I don't know that I was ever in love with him, and know I'm not now. I also know that real love takes works and is a choice everyday to love someone fully and isn't just about chemistry and connection with someone.

    Everyone has different wants and needs in relationships. Some are okay with their marriage partner simply becoming their best friend but not really a romantic partner, but I know I am not and I need more. Saying all this, however, I'm not going to have an affair with my ex flame. I had been thinking about divorce long before he and I reconnected. And I have thought about everything and am scared as kitten, which is why I never truly considered it before. I tried for years to convince myself I could live with this. What I do know for sure is that I never felt this intense of a connection (which I know is arbitrary) or as immediately comfortable with my husband as I did with this ex 22 years ago or even now. Circumstances prevented us from being together, not that we tried it out and realized it wouldn't work. We both admitted we have thought about one another over the years because of how things ended between us And trust me, if I was an outsider looking in, I would think this all sounded crazy, immature, irrational and illogical. But, I'm not leaving my husband for this other guy. I'm asking for a divorce so we BOTH can be truly happy, and am trying not to have any expectations about the other guy, anyway.
  • Hiawassee88
    Hiawassee88 Posts: 24,282 Member
    You haven't spent any time standing alone on your own two feet. You've not given yourself time to heal. You've given us a lorra lorra details. You've made your case. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. Tearing two families apart to find happiness after a divorce will be fleeting. It will slip right through your fingers. Starting any kind of a relationship on this shaky ground is folly. You're jumping from the frying pan into the fire. You may be fearful of being alone. Maintaining these backburner romantic feelings to carry you through the years can evaporate before the ink is dry.