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Cheating is one of the most controversial topics when it comes to relationships. It can be difficult to define cheating because everyone has a slightly different definition; while some believe infidelity consists of just physical interaction, others consider emotional investment in someone other than their partner a form of cheating. To define what we think cheating is and if ‘once a cheater always a cheater’ is true or not, we need to look into why people cheat to begin with. Cheating can be divided into three categories: the individual, the relationship, and the situation – let’s take a look into how these factors impact those who cheat.
There are certain personality traits someone can possess that make them more prone to cheating, thus fitting the ‘always a cheater’ stigma. Whether this person is in a relationship with someone great or dealing with a dissatisfying partner, they will find a way to cheat – it’s how they are wired, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad person. There are many reasons why people cheat, and for the most part it has nothing to do with the actual victim in the situation; it’s about the offender and their self-destructive tendencies. Men are biologically more likely to cheat than women due to their higher levels of testosterone, meaning their hunger for sex is more prominent in their mind than a woman’s. People are more likely to cheat if their personality is less empathetic, they are disinterested or passive in most circumstances, and tend to put their own needs before others. On the other hand, someone who is very religious, conservative or holds high moral standards are less likely to cheat due to their concrete belief system.
Most people who cheat are likely to fall into this category – this might seem like a bit of a no-brainer but when you identify issues within a relationship it’s easier to find out why someone has cheated in the first place. This category is less likely to attach ‘always a cheater’ to the actual individual and relies more on the dynamic of the couple itself. Relationships that are afflicted by poor communication, general dissatisfaction, and a lack of meaningful sex are at a higher risk of infidelity. As we highlighted men are biologically more likely to cheat, this doesn’t mean that women don’t cheat, they just do it differently. Women are emotional creatures; they want someone to listen and care for them, while men are seeking a physical, animal connection. When women aren’t getting enough attention or love in a relationship, they will find it somewhere else. In these situations, women become emotionally attached to this new person, finding comfort in talking to them because they feel like they matter; this type of cheating can be done without initial physical contact. For some women, they are subconsciously looking for their next partner in this new person, while men that cheat are looking to satisfy their sexual desire as a quick-fix and happily return to their partner. The likelihood of cheating can also depend on how well-suited the couple is; people are more likely to experience infidelity if they have stark differences. If the individuals are from two very different backgrounds, have clashing personalities, don’t share much in common, or there’s a clear gap in their education levels, their relationship is more prone to infidelity. Couples that seem to fit with each other and their backgrounds, enjoy alone time, have open lines of communication, have regular sex and complement one another’s personalities are the least likely to cheat as they are fulfilled in their relationship.
While someone can be in a perfectly healthy relationship and not have a personality prone to cheating, there is a possibility they can be influenced by their surroundings. The nature of their work environment can play a role; being amongst a lot of attractive people or delving into deep conversations as part of the job can be a factor. If two people spend a lot of personal time with each other during work it can make it more tempting to cheat. Other factors such as an uneven gender ratio in the office or living in highly populated urban areas can increase the chances of an affair as the number of people they can cheat with increases.
What can I do to stop this from happening to my relationship?
Even if your relationship sounds familiar to any of these categories, it doesn’t mean your partner is going to cheat or has cheated on you. While we all have a wandering eye from time to time, we are in a relationship as a choice and your partner is choosing to be with you. Talk to your partner about what their idea of infidelity is as we all have different definitions. Don’t be afraid to discuss what would hurt you if your partner were to engage with someone else. It’s best to have an open discussion and figure out what boundaries you both agree with so you can both remain happy in your relationship and avoid problems down the track.