Exploring the Motivations Behind Infidelity: Insights into Why People Cheat

Presented by BetterHelp.

Cheating – it’s the ultimate relationship drama, right?

Infidelity, while a painful subject, affects countless relationships and can be one of the most challenging issues to understand and overcome. At the heart of this distressing experience are deep-seated human needs, emotions, and circumstances.

From emotional dissatisfaction to personal struggles, understanding why people cheat involves peeling back layers of human behavior and vulnerability. In this post, we’ll explore the psychological, emotional, and social dynamics at play, providing a source of clarity during a time that is often fraught with confusion and pain.


Cheating is rarely about just one issue. It’s often a symptom of underlying troubles in a relationship or personal struggles within an individual.

Here are some of the most common reasons that tip individuals toward infidelity:

Lack of Emotional Connection

When the emotional intimacy in a relationship wanes, some individuals may seek connection elsewhere. This doesn’t excuse the behavior but underscores the importance of maintaining a deep emotional bond with your partner.


For some, infidelity may stem from unmet sexual needs or desires within the relationship. This may stem from multiple issues such as poor communication, lack of intimacy, or lack of a deeper emotional connection.


After years in a relationship or marriage, the initial excitement may diminish. This might propel some to seek the thrill of a new romantic interest, not recognizing the significant cost of such pursuits.


If there are unresolved issues such as poor communication, lack of intimacy, or unresolved conflicts within a relationship, it can create a rift between partners and potentially open the door for infidelity.

If someone feels as if their needs are not being fully acknowledged or met, this may lead to feelings of emptiness that they then seek to fill through an affair. Life changes, peer influence, or stress may also contribute to making poor decisions regarding fidelity, pushing one towards seeking an escape or solace in an affair.


Our psychological make-up can profoundly influence our actions. Let’s delve into some psychological factors that might lead to cheating:

Insecurity and Low Self-Esteem

In some cases, cheating can be a misguided attempt to quell feelings of insecurity or boost self-esteem. Affirmation from a new romantic interest can be a powerful, albeit temporary, salve for deeper issues.


Individuals may seek validation outside their relationship if they feel neglected or undervalued by their partner. The attention from a new person can be intoxicating and misconstrued as filling that void.


Sometimes, patterns of infidelity may stem from unresolved trauma or other mental health issues that carry over into adult relationships. Trauma can leave a deep impact on an individual’s ability to trust and have a healthy relationship with their partner.


When the foundation of trust gets rocked by infidelity, it’s like taking a wrecking ball to the core of a relationship—everything can come tumbling down. Trust is shattered, communication may falter, and both partners often experience deep emotional pain and confusion.

For some, this marks the end of the relationship, while for others, it may serve as a turning point demanding tough questions and deep growth. It’s crucial to approach this delicate topic with a sense of empathy, recognizing the pain and confusion that breaches of trust can cause. Understanding why people cheat is not about assigning blame, but rather about uncovering the underlying issues that lead to infidelity.

By delving into the reasons behind these actions, individuals and couples can work towards emotional healing, better communication, and, ultimately, the reinforcement of their relationship’s resilience.


In the aftermath of infidelity, understanding and acceptance are the first steps toward healing. Open, honest conversations and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths are necessary. Seeking professional help through therapy or counseling can provide a structured environment for this process.

BetterHelp offers online cheating therapy that could play a vital role in dismantling the damage done by infidelity. It offers a platform for both parties to express their feelings, work through the betrayal, and engage in targeted forms of therapy.

In these therapy sessions, individuals may learn coping skills to help work through the impact of infidelity. It involves helping couples to rebuild trust and intimacy while healing from the emotional impact in a healthy manner.

Throughout this journey, focusing on personal growth and self-awareness may help to make the process much easier. Whether the relationship continues or not, learning from the experience can pave the way for healthier, more fulfilling relationships in the future.


Infidelity is a complex subject that often defies simple explanations. However, through understanding and thoughtful intervention, there is hope for recovery and growth, both individually and as a couple.

Understanding why people cheat is as much about human psychology as it is about the rules we write for our relationships. And let’s face it—no one wants to think they’re the villain in their own story; people cheat for reasons that range from the abyss of self-destruction to just a search for something they feel is missing.

Remember: knowing the ‘whys’ behind cheating doesn’t excuse the act, nor does it heal the heartbreak. But it does shed light on the shadows of our relationships, inviting us to look deeper into what we genuinely need from our partners and, importantly, from ourselves.