Is Cheating on Your Spouse Worth It?
According to a report by Live Science, research from the past two decades show that 20% to 25% of married men and 10% to 15% of married women cheat. Additionally, nearly 50% of all marriages in the US, which has the 6th highest divorce rate on the planet, will end up either in divorce or separation.
Reasons why spouses cheat can range anywhere from lack of love, anger to sexual desire. While there are numerous obvious cons to infidelity, there are also some pros that are often overlooked. Cheating on one’s spouse, in some instances, may in fact help revive the marriage if there’s a willingness to forgive and work on it.
Thinking about cheating or have already cheated?
In this post, I will talk about some of the most common reasons for cheating as well as the different types of cheating. I will also talk about not only the cons but also the pros of cheating — yes, something good can come from it, too!
But before anything else, let’s answer this question that’s begging for an answer…
Why Do People in a Relationship Cheat?
It’s true that most cheating involves sex. But, more often than not, it’s not just about having sex outside of the relationship. According to an article by Scientific American, most of those who two-time experience emotional attachment to their extramarital affair partners, especially if there’s a lack of love in the marriage.
Different married people cheat for different reasons. Some can be due to circumstances involving the relationship itself, such as when there’s very little to no intimacy or affection between the partners left.
There are instances, too, when it’s an intrapersonal matter, such as low self-esteem or sexual desire.
A study consisting of nearly 500 individuals, who were recruited at large American universities and Reddit message boards, revealed the following as the 8 key reasons for cheating:
- Lack of love
- Low commitment
- Need for variety
- Sexual desire
Based on the said study, which was published by Scientific American, the above-mentioned reasons influenced things such as how long people have cheated on their spouses, how much sexual enjoyment they experienced, how invested they were in the affair emotionally and whether or not the infidelity led to the end of the marriage.
It also found out that unfaithful individuals who had less connection to their spouses had greater emotional intimacy in the affair, which could be due to failure to obtain that need from their respective husbands or wives.
Meanwhile, those who cheated due to a lack of love found the affair to be satisfying emotionally and intellectually.
And this brings us to this pressing question many married people feel too embarrassed to ask…
What Counts as Cheating on Your Spouse?
Broadly, cheating in a relationship is characterized by the violation of what’s considered appropriate sexually, romantically and emotionally. However, it can be subjective, too, which means that something can be cheating for one couple but not cheating for the other. Ultimately, cheating is defined by the involved individuals.
Is having a celebrity crush or fantasizing about a celebrity during sexual intercourse with the partner cheating? Or is visiting an adult site or becoming a member of one falls under the category of cheating?
Well, because the definition of infidelity isn’t etched in stone, it can vary from couple to couple.
Some people who are in a relationship, for instance, may find the following unacceptable for their partners to do:
- Denying being married to someone
- Exchanging emails or texts with an ex or otherwise
- Flirting with others
- Having a crush on someone
- Making friends with someone in secrecy
- Shopping for intimate gifts for other people
But for others, however, the things mentioned above are not considered cheating.
Making everything even more problematic is that its definition can differ not only from relationship to relationship but also from one person to the other person in the same relationship!
And because some do not see eye-to-eye in this matter, all sorts of problems can stem from the act, which is and isn’t cheating, depending on which spouse you ask.
Cheating, needless to say, is a complicated matter. But no matter what, for as long as the other person in the primary relationship feels betrayed and hurt, it can be considered as one.
Here are some types of cheating many individuals agree upon:
1. Physical cheating
When infidelity is mentioned, physical cheating is what a lot of people have in mind — it involves the use of the body in crossing marriage boundaries such as by being intimate with someone like having sex or making out.
2. Emotional cheating
Being friends with someone becomes emotional cheating even if nothing intimate has happened or is happening for as long as it’s done in secrecy and there’s some sexual or romantic excitement going on.
Doing little behaviors that can leave one’s spouse hurt or upset, such as saving pictures of a celebrity crush on the phone or catching up with an ex, can be considered micro-cheating even though there’s no urge to have an affair.
4. Digital cheating
Also sometimes referred to as online cheating, digital cheating, as the name suggests, involves modern-day technology by having a dating app account and sending flirty messages and pictures without the spouse’s knowledge.
Read Also: How to Detect Lies in Text Messages
Six Pros of Cheating on Your Spouse
The general consensus is that it’s not okay to cheat on one’s spouse.
However, although some people look at infidelity as a matter that’s black and white, others regard it as something with various shades in between.
According to a Department of Psychology professor at New York University, cheating rarely helps the marriage.
In some instances, however, having an extramarital affair can in fact offer some benefits to the unfaithful party.
And there are times, too, when cheating may help restore the primary relationship by having the problem, which had caused the cheating in the first place, sorted out. So, in other words, cheating is not always completely damaging.
Whether or not adultery will help reinstate the marriage is completely up to the couple. But the following are some of the positive things that cheating, which is often frowned upon, can bring:
1. Increased Self-esteem
Enticed to have an extramarital affair because you feel that your spouse is no longer as attracted to you as before?
A report by Fox News said that one of the types of people who cheat are those with low self-esteem — they use having an affair as a coping mechanism, which allows them to feel validated and desired in the process.
So, in other words, they turn to others outside of the marriage to fill that void caused by feeling like they are unwanted.
2. Excitement and Adrenaline Rush
Some people participate in intense, thrilling or dangerous activities such as riding roller coasters, cage diving with sharks, bungee jumping, base jumping or skydiving in order to create an adrenaline rush — nothing can be more exciting to adrenaline junkies than having their bloodstream flooded with adrenaline.
Well, some individuals cheat simply because they seek the pleasure that comes with the risk of being caught cheating at any given time as well as the various consequences that infidelity could bring.
3. Boosted Sex Life
It’s both expected and normal for individuals who are in long-term relationships to experience a decrease in sex frequency, says a report on relationships by NBC News.
Some of the reasons for it include satiation, which causes couples to get bored with each other with the passing of time, and aging, which can cause a decrease in libido.
And that is why, according to a study by the Institute of Family Studies (IFS), about 20% of men and 13% of women admit to having sex with someone other than their spouses while married.
4. Addressed Marital Issues in Some Instances
There are many different things that can push a person to cheat on his or her spouse. Of course, many of them have something to do with the marriage.
In some instances, somebody who is having a problem with the domestic partnership may stumble upon a solution from someone, a third party, and realize that bringing that solution to the relationship is all that’s needed.
But whether or not the cheating will ruin the marriage beyond repair is something that should be taken into account when the cheater is in the process of deciding if it’s a good idea to confess the infidelity.
5. Improved Communication With the Spouse
After successfully moving forward after an affair, the couple can choose to communicate much better with one another in order to prevent or solve matters that could cause another bout of cheating to happen again.
It’s no secret that good communication is an important part of any relationship, especially one which started with the exchanging of vows — communicating with one another can make it easier for a husband and a wife to deal with conflicts, thus allowing for the establishment of a stronger and healthier marital relationship.
6. Finding New Love
A survey of more than 1,500 married individuals conducted by Metro revealed that almost a third questioned their decision to walk down the aisle for thinking that they had married the wrong person.
Suspecting that you tied the knot with Mister or Miss Wrong?
Having an affair may let you find the answer that you are seeking. It goes without saying that feeling happier and more satisfied physically, mentally and emotionally when you’re with somebody else might mean that everyone could be committing to the wrong people.
7 Cons of Cheating on Your Spouse
There are many different reasons why one cheats on his or her spouse. And for many individuals, there are also many different reasons why adultery is a complete no-no — for them, there’s no way to justify cheating.
After all, extramarital affairs are to blame for the breakdown of 20% to 40% of marriages, experts say.
Infidelity can have lasting effects on the cheated-on partners. Needless to say, it can lead to anything from anger, stress, depression, anxiety to feelings of betrayal and inadequacy.
But the cheaters themselves can be emotionally and mentally affected, too, with guilt and embarrassment leading the list. And when kids are present, things can get even more complicated.
Whether or not you have a valid reason for resorting to an extramarital affair, the fact remains that there are many unfavorable consequences to it, and some of them are the following:
Cheating is Stressful
According to The Healthy Journal, which is a dating site for extramarital affairs, said that around 63% of all cheaters have been caught by their respective spouses at some point.
With the risk of getting caught always there, it’s not unlikely for your stress levels to be constantly high. Health authorities say that chronic stress can have negative effects on one’s mental and physical health.
But it’s not just the threat of getting caught cheating that can be stressful but also actually getting caught and the repercussions it brings.
Cheating Causes guilt
Unless you come clean and take responsibility for your actions, cheating on your spouse is something that can leave you feeling guilty, which is not a good thing if it becomes chronic.
Over time, guilt may cause you to develop a sense of inadequacy, which can make it difficult for you to attain goals.
It adds that it may leave you feeling like you don’t deserve to be forgiven and to move on, which may encourage you to engage in behaviors that are meant to punish yourself.
Cheating Causes depression
Some people cheat because their marriage makes them depressed. Unfortunately, cheating on one’s spouse is also something that can make an individual even more depressed — or depressed if he or she isn’t to begin with.
However, depression does not end when the cheating comes to a close.
Due to the fact that infidelity can leave the other party feeling betrayed and hurt, chances are that the marriage will end up on shaky ground.
Whatever unfavorable impact the cheating has on your primary relationship, especially if you didn’t mean for it to end, can cause depression.
You Will Hurt Your Spouse
It’s not always that someone who has an extramarital affair no longer has feelings for his or her other half.
As mentioned earlier, some of the grounds for cheating include having low self-esteem and the need for some variety, both of which are not necessarily a spouse’s fault but an intrapersonal issue that the cheating party might want to deal with.
When caught, needless to say, your spouse will feel hurt, among many negative emotions. And while not being caught, you can be hurting yourself knowing that you are cheating on someone you love.
You Lose Trust and Respect
Since you cannot stay committed to the relationship, you cannot blame your spouse for quitting trusting and respecting you after getting caught — only time will tell whether or not you will regain his or her trust and respect.
On the other hand, according to a report by the Human Performance resources by the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP), you can show respect for your spouse and the relationship itself by coming clean as well as by being direct and honest about the details of why you cheated.
Read Also: How to Detect Lies in a Relationship
You Lose Friends and Family
If you think that it’s just your marriage that infidelity could put to an end, think again.
Just about every relationship you have with people who have invested in one way or the other in you and your spouse might also be damaged by your cheating.
This is most especially true for those that you have built with the family members and friends of your husband or wife. Ultimately, you cannot blame anyone for seeing you as the villain.
You Will Most Likely Divorce
Almost always, a person cheats on a spouse because of a problem or two with the marriage. Maybe because he or she is no longer enjoying the same amount of love or attention.
Maybe because he or she is no longer satisfied in the bedroom or with the relationship in general. Unfortunately, adding one more issue does not solve the equation.
It was mentioned earlier in this post that almost half of all marriages in the US will end up in either a divorce or separation — having an affair may be the one that could push what you have with your spouse over the edge.
Just Before You Consider Cheating on Your Spouse
It’s not uncommon for someone who is in a marriage to cheat. And it’s also not uncommon for someone who commits infidelity to be judged by others — almost always, it’s the one who had an affair that’s persecuted. But unless they are involved in the primary relationship and fully understand the motive behind the cheating, no one really has the right to cast the first stone.
Above, I talked about some of the primary reasons why some individuals who have committed to one another cheat. I also discussed what counts as cheating and what doesn’t.
And, as always, there are 2 sides to every story, which is why it’s not always that cheating is a bad thing.
Having a difficult time fighting the urge to have an affair?
Before you do so, think about the consequences that you are most likely to encounter the minute that the cheating comes out in the open.
And also, make sure that you will be able to make some justifications and, more importantly, it’s something that you really want or what the marriage needs.
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