Why Do People Cheat? Let Me Tell You

Getting Answers Via Social Media

cheatThis is one of Life’s Big Questions – why do people cheat? It is a quest that we have been on all month. Answering some of the perplexing, trying and even trivial questions many of us have. Years ago, this particular question on infidelity is one that I gave my best shot. As we share our thoughts on some of these big ones, it seemed as good a time as any to edit and republish my response from 2009 to the cheating question.

“Betrayal can only happen if you love.” — John Le Carre

Much of my spare time on Facebook – yes, I admit, I am a Facebook addict. The social network offers me lots of free entertainment. Through Facebook I have reconnected with high schoolmates and friends. I appreciate discussing various topics – some serious and others not so serious with friends around the world.

Take a running commentary a high school mate and I had about Beyonce’s agile waistline and her bare-chested male back-up dancers. Then there was the heart-to-heart another friend and I had about the challenges we both faced with fibroids and whether to have an hysterectomy. I postponed my own surgery as I was not mentally or emotionally ready to be without such an important part of my anatomy. We laughed – virtually – about the ‘getting pregnant’ option. My friend however could not see herself having a child at this stage of the game.

So, Why Do People Cheat?


No surprise then that another friend posted a question about infidelity and it prompted several and varied responses. This Jamaican woman who resides in the United States asked, “Why do people cheat?”

This is an age-old question but a recurring one that is clearly not yet answered in such a way to stem cheating. Preachers have spent many Sundays quoting copiously from the Bible and anything else they can get their hands on to remind congregants the perils of adultery and infidelity. Psychologists have made millions writing books and seeing clients who suffer in the aftermath of affairs. Medical professionals have stitched wounds and pumped stomachs of people who thought they could not go on after the love of their lives said it was over.

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“Why do people cheat?”

My Facebook friend would later thank all of us who gave our two cents worth in response to her question. Yet, it was clear that she was not buying wholesale any of the explanations. And I do not blame her. There is no simple answer.

Failure To Be Honest

Looking back on my journey, I have done my fair share of cheating in relationships and was cheated on many times. However, called upon to answer the question why this happens, I could only draw for some philosophical reasoning. It hardly described the devastation my behaviour and that of others caused others who wanted and deserved something more.

I combed through various articles, books and web sites to see if I could come up with a better and a concise understanding of this human flaw and yes I do believe it is a flaw. That is the one thing that I am clear on – that it is a serious character flaw. The excitement of sex – because it is all about sex in the first instance – is so strong that the cheater is dishonest with his/her mate instead of ending the relationship. I found one resourceful and free web site that might offer some help to those grappling with this issue. Whether you suspect your partner is cheating or you are in the throes of an affair would like to confess Truth About Deception could help you.

In my brief search for resources on this topic, I came across some interesting quotes on cheating. I also learned that Oscar Wilde did not seem too big on this love business! One of his more meaningful quotes that I could at least relate to on the topic is:

“Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love; it is the faithless who know love’s tragedies.”

Men and Women Cheat

cheatA smile came to my face when I read Helen Rowland’s about the cheat. It reminded me so much of being unceremoniously dumped. After confirming the affair, the person who cheated on me said, “You want too much of me in the vision that hold of me and I am not that big a person!” Rowland said:

Every man wants a woman to appeal to his better side, his nobler instincts and his higher nature — and another woman to help him forget them.”

Hopefully you read that quote and interchanged man and woman to fit your context. Heterosexual or same-sex relationship as women do cheat and so too those in same-sex relationships!

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After my act of cowardice and then digging up the courage to confess, I promised never to bring myself to that level again. That was almost seventeen years ago and to this day I have never looked at anyone but my partner in that moment. Scott Alexander explains it best:

“All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity [are] easy. Stay away from easy.”

Have you ever cheated or was cheated on?

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Eating A Rotting Carcass

The quote that I found most perplexing and interesting and that will stay with me for a long time comes from the Sikh’s Holy Scripture.

“Cheating is eating a rotting carcass.”

How often have people said to their lovers “I would die before I cheat on you,” and then go ahead and have a hot and torrid affair? Well is that not what this passage refers to?

For a relationship to come to the point that your interest lies with another that you would cheat, why not end it? To do otherwise means dying to one’s sense of decency and integrity to indulge in an affair with an equally dead soul! If you’re in Denver, you could consider getting legal advice from a family law attorney in Denver CO, who would be able to best guide you through the legalities and other proceedings.

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Think about it and share your thoughts with me in the comments below. As well, take part in our poll on cheating. It is anonymous so your identity is safe.

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34 thoughts on “Why Do People Cheat? Let Me Tell You

  1. The carcass thing sums it up. There’s absolutely no way to justify cheating but all in all, this post at least helps explain why people do it.
    Karlaroundtheworld | Karla recently posted…Rock Climbing with YamnuskaMy Profile

    1. Ms Claudette

      We tried Karla! 🙂

  2. A very deep topic and one that makes many feel uncomfortable. See lots of people lie to themselves that they have never cheated…I THINK Thats a huge lie and a fallacy. As long as you are married or committed to someone else and you have Sexual warm tingly feelings about another or wouldnt mind a tango in the hay with them..THATS CHEATING! So on that note I must say I have done so and yes the guilt feelings I got after the thoughts w=were harsh…! Until I learnt to stop judging me and find out why I was seeing greener grass. I knew the problem was staring me in the mirror. When I learnt self appreciation and gratitude for what I have moles and all! I find that I dont fancy anyone else other than my boo 🙂

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you for sharing your story/experience Julie. 🙂 It is always appreciated when readers do that as it show others that they are not alone and that the topic is real! Thank you. 🙂

  3. I guess everyone has their reasons. I don’t understand it, but I’ve never been in the position where I have had to.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank heavens that you have not experienced Megan – either way – it is not a nice feeling. 🙂

  4. I think people cheat cause they think the grass is greener on the other side. It looks shiny, fun and new.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Until they start digging, sadly. But you are right MomJonz!

  5. Rosey

    I think people cheat because they’re selfish. Like Elizabeth said in the comment above, get out first if you’re going to stray. Chances are high if you’re cheating you’ll get out or be out soon anyway, so I say cut the string first. For everyone’s sake.

    1. Ms Claudette

      That would be the honourable thing to do, Rosey.

  6. There are so many reasons for why people cheat. When you grow up, you have the impression that all endings are happy ones, and once married, you will live together all your life. But that’s rarely the case. I used to work in a hostel and that changed me perception on romance and cheating forever. People will cheat if they have the opportunity. And they won’t feel bad about it. It’s a fact.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I have to agree with you that people will cheat if they have the chance…it is indeed a fact. Thanks for your candid comment Martina. 🙂

  7. Interesting reading! It is thought provoking as well. My two cents about it is that we all cheat on one way or another, sometimes it’s small, others in big ways. I guess the bigger the cheating, the bigger the betrayal.

    1. Ms Claudette

      That’s so true on every count Mark and Kate, so very true!

  8. Nicole Escat

    I haven’t cheated and my partner hasn’t cheated on me too. But I know a lot of people who are, this is really alarming for me.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Don’t be alarmed Nicole, just stay honest with your partner. 🙂

  9. MJ

    Cheating is one of those things I mark as complicated, since the reasons differ from person to person and relationship to relationship. It is a test of will, strength and character to not cheat on someone whether you are casually dating, in a serious relationship or married. Hopefully as we discover ourselves through experience and age we will become better at resisting our natural urges when we know that they will cause harm/ hurt to another.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I agree with you for the most part, MJ and to add to it, if the urge is natural, then honestly and openly move on. Thanks for your contribution.

  10. Cheating is one thing I don’t know that I could ever forgive and forget. Hopefully I’ll never know.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I hope so too Jill. It is a hard pill to swallow.

  11. Elizabeth O.

    Both men and women cheat and mostly, from the way that I understand it, it’s because there’s something lacking in the relationship that they have now. To be honest, if you’re not satisfied you can just choose to leave first and then hop on another relationship if you want. That would mean that you respect the relationship that you had with the other person and you’re not willing to just throw it away.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I could not agree with you more Elizabeth.

  12. I honestly do not know why people do cheat. Not feeling loved, wanted.

    1. Ms Claudette

      So make a clean break and go where you feel you well be better loved and more wanted. That’s my take Cynthia having sat on both sides of the fence.

  13. Interesting information! Unfortunately with social media and so many new ‘ways’ to emotionally cheat it seems much easier these days.

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are right Allison nevertheless it is still dishonest and people have to take personal responsibility for their decisions.

  14. This post had so much food for thought. There are so many different reasons people cheat. Sometimes it’s to get affirmation.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…The gift of being seenMy Profile

    1. Ms Claudette

      Sometimes, yes but why not let the one you are cheating on that you need to step away from the relationship? That’s my question Carol.

  15. [ Sighs ] Most people cheat because they lack self-control and integrity!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Very true Renard, very true. 🙂

  16. I like your quote about cheating being like a rotten carcas. I can’t imagine recovering from it.

    1. Ms Claudette

      It is hard to imagine, especially in the moment but you could get over it Laura. 🙂

  17. This is a very very touchy subject but important to talk about as well as I am sure there are so many people going through this who tries to deal and figure it out by themselves. I don’t agree with cheating at all. It damages not only the victim but the doer as well.

    katrinajeancarter recently posted…Favorite 5: Healthy Breakfast You Can NEVER Go Wrong WithMy Profile

    1. Ms Claudette

      It is indeed and uncomfortable subject but one that we have to get honest about. Thanks so much for your contribution Katrina. 🙂

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