Why Do People Cheat? Here’s One Significant Reason

why do people cheat

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

Why do people cheat? Here are a few possible reasons before I get to a significant reason:


1. A person gets drunk and makes a bad decision.

2. A spouse isn’t interested in sex and the person feels rejected over and over again.

3. A person feels unloved, unappreciated or disrespected.

4. When someone feels immense hidden anger and resentment towards their spouse.

5. Boredom in the marriage or sex life.

6. Feeling lonely or in some kind of pain.


But there’s something else I think leads someone to cheat. A recent story sent to me by a reader brought it to light for me.


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This woman has been married for 5 years and has a baby.


Our sex life I would say was typical for long-term relationships – vigorous and exciting in the beginning, eventually getting to once a week (and started to feel like a chore). But, overall, we got along well, we have similar financial and life goals. He’s a good man with good values, and loves me for exactly who I am. I have no reason to not be in love with him.

She said a couple years ago, she started eating healthy and exercising, and lost a lot of weight. She met a guy and started having an affair. The guy ended it, and then her husband found out about it. They went to couple’s therapy, which was helpful, in her opinion. But then, the guy she had the affair with started contacting her. They got together once, and she decided it was wrong and plans never to see him again.

I’m not proud of my actions. The fact that I chose to meet with the guy again gives me pause as to how committed I am to my husband. My husband is a wonderful man, who doesn’t deserve this treatment at all. I’m honestly just bored in my marriage, and I want to WANT my husband. I just feel no desire for him in any sexual way anymore, and finding that re-desire was exhilarating. He’s my best friend though, and I don’t want to hurt him which I know I’m going to.

She’s now wondering if she should try to work it out or get divorced.


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So, to answer the question, “Why do people cheat?” From reading this woman’s story, I believe the reason she cheated to be:


Lack of Self-love.


Why do people cheat? Many, many times it’s lack of self-love. Let’s start at the beginning of her letter, about “sex feeling like a chore.” If you think about it, most long-term relationships start off vigorous and exciting in the bedroom, and then taper off to comfortable sex. That’s just life.

That said, I believe that there are countless couples who have been together for decades who still have great sex lives. Why? One word: EFFORT. Keeping your sex life good takes work. It takes doing things in and outside of the bedroom that promote desire, love, adoration and attraction. It isn’t easy but yet it is if you have the right attitude. Sex is sort of work and yet it isn’t. Both people have to be committed to keeping the sex good—no matter how much time goes by for it to stay good.


But if you truly love your partner—and this woman is saying “I have no reason not to be in love with him,” “he’s a good man,” “we get along,” and “he’s my best friend,” then why doesn’t she want to do the work? Did she think sex was going to magically stay great forever without any effort at all? When I say effort, I mean doing kind things for each other outside the bedroom, treating each other with respect, showing the other person you care about him or her and what’s going on in his or her life, having romantic dates, taking trips together, learning together, volunteering together, laughing together, holding hands, yes, shopping at Victoria’s Secret, and of course, keeping yourself healthy physically. These things are all foreplay that lead to good sex. I’d say it’s challenging, but if you are truly committed, then it isn’t.


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Let’s get to the next issue. Why did she cheat? I get the feeling that this woman lost all this weight and felt sexy and pretty and desirable. But why did she feel the need to give herself to another man instead of to her devoted husband, who loved and adored her even BEFORE she lost the weight? I personally would have wanted to shower my husband (who loved me unconditionally) with my new, skinny body. He’s committed, and that to me is a huge turn-on.


I do not think this woman is a bad person. She just sounds like she needs some guidance. Her biggest issue in my opinion is that she doesn’t really like herself.



I think her lack of self-love is the reason why she cheated.


Being someone who has struggled with weight issues and body image issues for most of my life, I can understand how getting skinny can make a person like themselves more. That said, I’m not saying that’s valid. Sure, you can be proud of yourself for getting your body in shape, but having a good body shouldn’t define who you are. You have to have self-love for everything you are—what you do, how you live your life, how you choose to contribute to the world, how you treat people, (especially your loved ones and family) and how you choose to spend your time. These decisions are what make someone like or love themselves, not how much they weigh on a scale. And, if you don’t like/love yourself, then maybe you might think you aren’t worthy of your significant other’s love.


If this woman doesn’t realize what she has, I fear that she will divorce this man, and then regret it several years later. She will leave him, and he will have a girlfriend so fast, it will make her head spin. The girlfriend will adore this man, and this woman will be devastated by it.


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The good news is, there is still time. It sounds like this guy loves and adores his wife and wants to work it out. I truly hope she chooses to realize that the best love comes from: commitment, trust, liking each other, and being best friends. In my opinion, if you have these things, the sex part should be easy. I also hope that she finds a way to start liking herself more. Maybe that means therapy. Maybe it means a new job.

Maybe it means looking in the mirror and saying “I’m not proud of what I did, but I am going to forgive myself and make it up to my husband by being his best friend and acting like it.” If her mind is made up, then it’s too late. But if she has self-awareness (which it sounds like she does) then she will make the right decision. After all, I’d hate to see someone ending up divorced and thinking it was because she didn’t really love the guy, when in reality, she didn’t really love HER.

Like this article? Check out,  “9 Signs of a Healthy Romantic Relationship”

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

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