What is cheating?

Seven reasons why people cheat

In this article we will talk about what infidelity is (and people understand it in very different ways), as well as what reasons can lead to cheating in the family. This article was prepared with the participation of clinical psychologist Nelly Rushintseva.

Every couple has its own scenario of the relationship: romantic or chance meeting, long-awaited or unexpected first kiss, passionate or timely first intimacy. But there is one circumstance that equally excites all couples, turns the world upside down and takes the ground from under their feet. And the name of this circumstance is adultery.

According to a VTsIOM poll, adultery ranks second in the top causes of divorce. Infidelity to a loved one is often a great shock. As a rule, this circumstance is unexpected for the spouse and brings a lot of pain. The spouse wonders why, for what, when, for how long… Let’s get to the bottom of what infidelity is and why it occurs.

Surveys show that by cheating, people mean different circumstances. Sometimes these situations are dramatically different. In 2016, Elite Daily conducted a survey of 100 women and men on “What is cheating.” So, 99% of people agreed that “liking” someone’s picture on social media is definitely not cheating. 93% of people also said that watching pornography should not be considered as cheating. 82% agreed that lunch with an attractive co-worker is also not cheating, as are friendly meetings with exes. According to other studies, 85% of women and 74% of men consider exchanging intimate messages to be cheating. 60% of men don’t consider kissing to be cheating, but only 34% of women hold the same opinion.

What can be called cheating

We conducted a survey among our female readers, and most agreed that cheating is one-time and regular intimacy. But some girls under cheating also mean kissing, dating, flirting online, correspondence online. In fact, everyone is entitled to their own perception and understanding of what treason is. The different understanding of cheating depends on many factors: family upbringing, emotional state, level of awareness, past experiences.

It is because of the perception of what treason is, there is misunderstanding in the couple. For example, for a man, treason is flirting with the barista in a cafe, but for the girl it was just a manifestation of gratitude for a delicious coffee. Or the girl dresses nicely, wants to look attractive, and her man perceives this as a high probability of cheating. That is how, because of the difference in views, couples quarrel first, and then may completely separate.

Clinical psychologist Nelly Rushintseva:

– After marriage, it seems to the young people that love will be endless, without quarrels and mutual recriminations. However, already in the first days, the couple may have questions for each other. It is important at the beginning of the relationship to discuss such a topic as infidelity. It is important to talk about what everyone understands by this word, to define the boundaries in communication with the opposite sex, because everyone has his own understanding of what infidelity is.

Unfortunately, even if you agree with your partner, it is not always possible to avoid cheating. That’s the way people are built. Polls and studies confirm this: 74% of men would cheat on their wives if they were sure that she would never find out about it. Sixty-eight percent of women would do the same. What are the reasons behind these numbers? What is going on with a spouse that makes them decide to cheat? There really are many reasons, and here are the main ones.

7 reasons why people are prone to cheating

1. Behavioral patterns.

The most common reason for cheating is following behavioral patterns in the family.

A pattern is a certain repetitive pattern of behavioral reactions or actions, so relative to any area. Humans in principle are characterized by stereotypical behavior: we develop certain ways of interacting with the world around us. This is explained by the principle of rationality: instead of coming up with new ways of reacting to this or that phenomenon every time, it is easier to use a ready-made model. This applies to all patterns: thinking, verbal, behavioral, and many others. Behavioral patterns are formed in the process of learning, upbringing, and observation of others. This process begins in childhood and is most active in childhood. (Source) Therefore, when the family father, grandfather, uncle considered it normal to have a relationship on the side, it is very difficult for the new generation to consider otherwise, as it is easier to take a ready-made behavioral pattern as a basis.

Clinical psychologist Nelly Rushintseva:

– It happens the opposite, such behavior of relatives repulses, causes rejection and contradicts the views of the person. In this case, the behavioral patterns do not repeat, but create their own. A man becomes an exemplary family man, as if out of spite, in spite of himself.


The next reason is chemical. Our body secretes substances such as dopamine and oxytocin. Dopamine is involved in the process of forming addictions, including the need for love affairs. One wants to feel pleasure all the time, and as soon as one’s spouse stops contributing to the production of dopamine, one starts looking for something on the side.

Human behavior under the influence of dopamine is very similar to the first passion. Many people would like to repeat the surge of feelings of the first passion. And not everyone is willing to resist and work with the existing relationship. Some can’t stand it and succumb to the influence of dopamine.

Oxytocin, or the attachment hormone, is what creates the strong mother-child bond. And it can also make a marriage strong, tactile sensations are very important for this: holding hands, hugging, kissing, having sex. As soon as tactility decreases, the oxytocin influence weakens and the relationship cools down. At such a moment, the partner wants that pleasure of tactility, so there is a risk of cheating.

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3. Polygamy or monogamy

Historically in society, monogamous marriage was a necessity. The transfer of genes was considered almost a sacred act. It was easier to run a large family. Monogamy gave social status to a man and a woman. Over time, the role of marriage changed, the need for its social significance disappeared. The last thing we are interested in is whether a person has a husband or a wife. We are becoming more and more economically independent; it is no longer necessary to keep a household. Having children from different parents is not considered a problem, and in childless couples an adopted child is considered a gift.

Now we are looking for a friend, a lover, a travel companion, a like-minded person in a couple. We have the ability to look for the right couple for the rest of our lives, so it is easy for people to cheat if the current relationship is not satisfying. And it’s easy to go off to mistresses or lovers and start new families. Easy from a historical point of view. Before the nineteenth century, divorce was a stigma on the reputation of spouses, but now, on the contrary, everyone advises not to tolerate a difficult relationship in marriage and divorce. That’s how the acceptance of polygamy took the place of monogamous marriages.

4. Situational Reasons

Since polygamy has confidently spread in the world, and the societies of different countries gladly recognize it, situational reasons for adultery began to appear: in the mood, at a corporate party, at an event. Very often husbands look on the side, when the wife is on maternity leave, loaded with a child, household, can not support many topics, as her whole day consists of communication with the baby, who can not even talk. And her husband has a new colleague at work, cheerful, upbeat, a good conversationalist – well, who can not resist?

Galina Mosyakina, Voronezh:

– Our meetings ended in marriage, and a year later our daughter was born. I was caught up in household chores, and I did not notice how we became estranged from each other. At one point I suddenly realized that something strange was going on, someone had come between us. I started digging and digging. My digging led me to discover the truth. Indeed, there was a person who had decided to be the third in our family. My husband had dated her several years ago, and she didn’t miss the opportunity to rekindle their relationship at a time when we were not close due to the birth of the baby. How painful it was for me! I knew my husband couldn’t resist and betrayed me. So as not to torture myself and my husband, I asked him directly. And he bluntly replied, “Yes, I cheated, but it was a couple of times and a long time ago. After hearing these words, the ground fell out from under my feet, as if I had fallen from heaven. I couldn’t imagine how this could have happened. The husband I love so much, who I feel so good with, the father of my child, betrayed me, crushed me, trampled me. I know people can’t be trusted, but not him. He was always home, never gone out at night, never went out with friends. There were thoughts in my head: “Why? What was wrong with me? What did I do?”

?! Read this story in its entirety on our blog, How to Forgive Your Husband’s Cheating.

5. Lack of attention

Another cause of cheating is banal and old – it is lack of attention. Relationships in a couple are constantly undergoing a transformation, to catch up with not always and not everyone manages. The husband took his wife, the woman he loved, to the maternity hospital, and brought the mother of his child. Earlier the wife always kissed her husband before going to bed and fell asleep cuddled up, but now she sleeps in the nursery, so the baby is calmer. Spouses’ work makes adjustments to the relationship, there are professions that require long business trips, shifts, training camps.

Daria Kostina, Krasnodar

– A military wife sounds proud. From the very beginning of our relationship, I knew what it was like to be around a military man: constant training camps, exercises, firing ranges, irregular working hours. Sometimes it was very painful. Once I could not hold back tears when I had to celebrate my birthday alone. I wanted the most ordinary life: to cook for my beloved, to walk with him, to go out, to live a civil life. To this day I am still teaching myself to be wise and patient. I understand: this is all for our secure future. A military wife is bound to find a hobby or hobby. I took up sports to always stay in good shape. I read books, tried to go out more, got acquainted with the same military wives, with whom we had many topics for conversation. I met on websites, in groups created by the same girls and women who were looking for companionship. With some of them we became close friends.

The lack of attention can also include the change of social status of the partners, the difference in age and, as a consequence, the difference in interests, different sexual activity. Married to a manager, and then years later her husband took the position of manager, and it is constant business trips, meetings. Spouses spend time together less and less often, which can be a reason for adultery, both from the husband and wife. Also, spouses of different ages over time acquire different interests, different companies, where you can easily get a mistress or lover by age.

Clinical psychologist Nelly Rushintseva:

– There is another pole: when the partner, on the contrary, suffocates with his attention, tutelage, care. In such a “stuffiness” spouse can stop feeling like a person and go to a place where he or she will breathe comfortably, where they will appreciate him or her as a person.

6. Lack of intimacy

Lack of intimacy between spouses can be the cause of infidelity. There are times in family life when intimacy fades into the background. This is usually the last month of pregnancy, the first months after childbirth. Someone may fall ill with a prolonged illness. A spouse’s busy work schedule negates intimacy. Taking care of the children and the household can turn spouses away from each other, both men and women.

Some couples may begin to do something about it, such as talking, discussing how to be, and finding a solution. And in other couples, one spouse may find an easier solution and have intimacy on the side. Of course, before going off to the side, the spouse will try to somehow communicate to their couple that something is wrong, that they are lacking in intimacy. But not everyone can articulate their desires correctly, or the other party may remain indifferent and indifferent. It is important for spouses to maintain intimacy and not let the relationship fade into the background. Carve out time for the two of them to spend together. The relationship is always about the contribution of both.

7. Dependent personalities.

The last reason we’ll discuss is addictive personalities. Such people have addictions that spill over into one another. Collecting spills over into alcohol addiction or gambling addiction. And finally, the person may become addicted to scheming on the side as a way of life. And cope with this alone is very difficult, it is better to contact a specialist.

Clinical psychologist Nelly Rushintseva:

– In practice, there is often a layering of reasons, which makes the situation much more complicated. But the most important thing is that we don’t write off our behavior and infidelity to these reasons. It is important to take responsibility for our behavior, to take responsibility for ourselves. Despite so many reasons, love rules the world. There are many happy families all around us, each one happy in its own way.

Adultery: the causes, signs and tips psychologist

Adultery is a burning topic. Those who suspect it, torment themselves and others in mental torments, those who cheat, tired of the lies and the constant fear of being exposed. Adultery often leads to divorce and separation. But is adultery as simple as it seems? Are there ways to forgive her and save the relationship, what causes men and women to infidelity, we will tell in this article.

What is considered adultery in marriage?

In the concept of “infidelity”, everyone puts their own set of ideas and it depends on the upbringing, religion, life experience and individual traits. For some people the fact of physical and corporal infidelity is important, while others attach greater importance to the moral aspect and the wounded feelings. Very often adultery is compared to betrayal. Marital infidelity is considered sinful in almost all religions, it is condemned. At the same time the definition of adultery as such refers only to sexual intercourse with another partner with whom one is not married.

In practice, such a definition looks rather meager and sparse, since it does not reflect all the nuances. It is a mistake to think that adultery is limited to the confines of the boudoir. Today the world offers many ways of other forms of communication outside of marriage, and therefore some people consider virtual communication with someone on intimate topics, and virtual sex and other electronic forms of erotic communication as adultery.

Cheating has many faces. This can include the lies that invariably accompany attempts to hide the truth from a partner, and disregard of his personal interests and requests, and breaking promises made.

Adultery, despite the fact that it has appeared in ancient times, almost simultaneously with the institution of marriage, is shrouded in a set of myths that also impose their imprint on the notion of adultery as such. It is believed that rich men and women cheat more often than poor ones. This is not true – in fact, it is poor women who are more prone to adultery than rich women, which is not the case with men.

It is believed that a cheater becomes one who has fallen out of love or not really loved. This is fundamentally not true, very often cheaters reverently and tenderly treat their significant other and their plans do not include divorce and separation. Love as a feeling and sex on the side without feeling differentiates most men, which cannot be said about women, because for them and “on the side” there must be at least a minimal emotional, sensual component.

Many believe that “good sex in the family does not walk away,” and sincerely believe that variety in the bedroom is a panacea for cheating partner. Not at all, because there are other causes of marital infidelity, and sexual frustration – not the most important of them. The statements that men cheat more often than women, in principle, are true, and this is confirmed by sociologists: 75% of unfaithful men in Russia accounts for up to 25% of women who have decided to commit adultery.


If we look at the facts of adultery more closely, it is clear that men and women cheat for different reasons. This was emphasized by the famous Russian sociologist Andrei Zaitsev, who devoted a large part of his work to the preservation of the institution of marriage.

Andrei Zaitsev identified several reasons characteristic of male and female adultery. In this case, very interesting trends are emerging. If previously it was believed that men go to the “side” solely by the call of nature, which dictates them polygamy and irrepressible libido, the sociological study showed that due to dissatisfaction with the quality or quantity of sexual relations in marriage only 9% of the representatives of the stronger sex cheat. Another 2% honestly admit that they have outstanding sexual needs and abilities, which clearly exceed similar indicators, while they do not connect their adventures “for the sake of health” with the field of feelings, love, and the family is not ruined.

Note that far more men (from 14%) claim that they began cheating because they needed to fall in love, to experience new emotional sensations, and sex as such did not play a role. This often occurs in families in which the spouses are used to each other, feelings have faded, but they have not lived together long enough to come to terms with the emotional vacuum after the loss of intense infatuation.

About 6-7% of men meet a new true love outside of the family. And there is nothing to be done about it: as a rule, their marriages end in divorce at their own initiative or at the initiative of their wives. Up to 10% of unfaithful men increase their self-esteem, but here we are mainly talking about representatives of the stronger sex with low self-esteem. Up to 9-10% of men indicate that the reason for cheating was a long business trip or departure, and most of these men do not see anything criminal in temporarily replacing their spouse who left. In 14% of cases, men cite “accident” as the reason. This is a complex of very different circumstances in which he simply could not resist or did not give himself a full account of: corporate parties, a company with alcohol. A small degree of alcohol intoxication increases sexual desire and weakens the internal prohibitions even of very principled men.

For reasons of revenge men cheat rarely, but here is a conflict with his wife, a quarrel, may well push the stronger sex to adultery just to prove to himself that he is free and independent man. Features of male infidelity is that most adulterers are usually confident in their own strength: if his wife suddenly finds out, he will be able to solve the problem with gifts, persuasion, scandal or blackmail in the end. Men are more likely to believe that their wives will not find out or suspect anything.

Most women’s infidelity is an escape from a marital relationship that does not suit her. The most common cause of female adultery is a situation where a wife does not feel her husband’s love, does not see its manifestations, does not receive emotional support, attention, does not have help financially and in the household. This is the reason for cheating in about 35% of cases, at least this is what the women in the anonymous poll conducted by Zaytsev said. On the “side”, therefore, the woman is looking not so much for sex as for emotional support and attention.

It is harder for a woman to decide to cheat, it takes longer for her to get there, and, as a rule, more women than men decide to have a serious relationship “on the side. That is why it often happens that true love outside of marriage makes a woman give up the ancient instinct of hearth preservation and destroy the family for the sake of a new life. Men don’t usually retaliate by cheating on their husbands, but this is to be expected of women: up to 10% of unfaithful wives reported cheating on their husbands only because he cheated on them. To extend youth, improve self-esteem sometimes try to women over the age of 35, if their spouses do not understand that even after 15 years of marriage, his wife is in great need of male admiration.

About 2% of adulteresses decide to cheat for purely business (career) reasons, and about 4% of unfaithful wives cheat because of accidental circumstances – corporate parties, alcohol. About 1% of unfaithful married women indicate that they use adultery as a way to earn extra money or receive expensive gifts from their lover. A distinctive feature of female adultery is the presence of one lover, while a man may have several lovers at the same time. In this case, often a woman completely refuses intimacy in the family, while the unfaithful husband may maintain sexual contact with both his wife and his mistress.

Ways to detect

Usually, women begin to guess that they are cheating, earlier than men, because women are characterized by a developed intuition. Ways to identify treason in the family is quite a lot, it all depends on what the deceived spouse considers acceptable and acceptable to himself personally. Some people find it easier to talk to your partner privately, to set the record straight, look at the reaction of the partner and draw conclusions. Others arrange spying, with reading messages, checking cell phone, e-mail, tracking on the way to and from work. Others hire a private investigator or ask a friend to spy on her husband. Fourth, they make a fake account on the Internet and flirt with their own spouse in someone else’s name and tempt them to intimacy.

There are many signs that may indicate adultery. But each of them (and this should not be forgotten!) may not indicate any such thing. For example, not having sex can also be a sign of illness, stress, fatigue and nothing more; and being late home from work can be explained by a man’s desire to meet a friend for a beer. It is very easy to invent an imaginary adultery and begin to suffer for her quite truly. And here it will be just a stone’s throw from a pathological form of jealousy: paranoid delusions. Even if infidelity partner struck you unexpectedly, “like a snowball’s head,” there is always a way out, it is only important to know exactly what you want, whether you want to save the relationship and ready for corrective work “over the mistakes.

Revenge or forgive?

The answer to this question is very simple. Revenge is not only destructive to the person being revenged. First and foremost, it cripples and deforms the personality of the one who takes revenge. It is based on anger and rage; it kills the best that was originally given to a person. Of course, the desire to take revenge on the cheater for the hurt feelings and lost trust, especially at the beginning, will be strong. With it you need to cope at all costs. Don’t stoop, don’t lose your self-respect.

After the situation has been well thought through and the reasons analyzed, the understanding of whether or not to forgive will come. Forgiveness is an act of strong and mature people. Only generous people know how to forgive. There is a reason to become like that, because you have to forgive the person all the same, even if it is not in your plans to continue living with him/her. Forgive – means to justify, recognize and share their own guilt in what happened. But do not get carried away and do not start to engage in self-injury.

Is it possible to save the family?

Keep the family after adultery is only possible if both spouses are motivated and want to. It is important to remember that after the cheater will be forgiven, there must be certain changes in the life of the couple. You can’t just leave things as they are. You need to talk about and discuss household responsibilities and shared commitments. The original cause of the affair must be removed. Keeping the family together will require a lot of spiritual and psychological work on yourself. Each partner must be involved in that. Otherwise it will not be possible to keep the family together.

How not to allow for adultery?

Taking into consideration the great number of reasons which can become a motive for adultery there is no specific prevention of adultery. Just read again the section on what most often leads to infidelity of husbands and wives, and try to act “from the opposite direction”. It is important for a man to express his feelings to his wife more often, not to be stingy with tenderness and participation and care. For a woman it is important to avoid temper tantrums and scandals for nothing, suspicions and dryness in expressing their feelings for her husband – a kind word and a man is pleasant!

Common interests and common leisure can strengthen the spouses better than any prohibitions and restrictions. And friendly participation in the life of a loved one and the rejection of criticism, claims and picking on each other will increase the degree of trust that, ultimately, and will be a solid foundation for an honest relationship. Unfortunately, all these measures do not guarantee adultery “by coincidence”, involuntary adultery, but with a good relationship will be much easier and forgive, and accept the situation, and find a decent way out of it.

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