Why Did They Cheat Five Explanations from Science

Why Did They Cheat Five Explanations from Science

It’s not pleasant to consider, but the chances that you’ve been duped in your life are about as good as tossing a coin. And for everyone who learns their partner’s infidelity – or who is maybe surprised to realize they are less committed to monogamy than they thought – one question is certain to arise: why? Is it just me? Is it possible that it’s them? What went wrong? Of course, science has looked into it, and it turns out that there are a number of psychological reasons for cheating on someone. Some are a result of nature, while others are the result of nurture – and some are a bit of a wild card. Let’s look at just five of them right now.

Cheaters may be liars to others as well as their spouses. We may not all cheat on our relationships, but we all do things that we know are bad on a daily basis. Despite knowing how horrible animal husbandry is, we eat meat. Even when the globe is already on the verge of severe climatic catastrophe, we drive distances that we might simply walk. And we do so owing to a psychological technique known as cognitive dissonance, which allows us to do so without feeling guilty or having identity crises.

It’s the same with infidelity. “As a means to cope with knowing they done something wrong, cheaters may diminish the impact of their infidelity,” said Benjamin Le, an associate professor of psychology at Haverford College. “[They] feel horrible about their transgressions, but try to make themselves feel better by reframing their previous affairs as unusual or out-of-character conduct.”

They’re not very skilled at dealing with conflict. Clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow told Bustle that people cheat because they are afraid of conflict. “They are aware that there are issues in the relationship.” “In certain circumstances, the individual believes he or she has exhausted all options. They’ve given up, but for logistical reasons — money, kids, lifestyle – they don’t want to quit the partnership.”

It’s hardly the healthiest method for alerting your spouse to marital troubles, but it’s difficult to dispute its efficacy. While just one out of every six partnerships survives an admission of infidelity, splitting up is often the last thing a cheater wants to do. Klapow added that, as strange as it may sound, “people cheat to keep the relationship together… they love something about their spouse, but there are other qualities that aren’t there.” He explained, “The individual doesn’t want to go but doesn’t know how to bring out these other attributes.”

They’re terrified. Some people, particularly those who have experienced trauma or abuse, have a difficult time opening up. If they believe the relationship is moving too quickly or becoming too intimate, they may have an avoidant attachment reaction, in which they cheat as a means of escaping.

In an article for Psychology Today, Hal Shorey, a clinical psychologist and professor of clinical psychology at Widener University, said that people with avoidant attachment styles “rarely experience stronger connection with an alternate lover than they do with their long-term spouse.” He added, “They appear to consider sexual relationship as a pleasant distraction or type of thrilling entertainment.” “They frequently have no desire to end their connection.”

Sometimes the issue is the polar opposite: someone who believes their spouse isn’t emotionally open enough may have an anxious attachment reaction, in which they believe the relationship is going to collapse and seek for what Shorey refers to as “an insurance policy” connection. “In other words, people may sense that if the relationship breaks down, they would be so distressed that they will be unable to cope.” “They might try to find a second love partner so that they have someone to fall back on if their first relationship fails,” he added.