Why Do People Cheat On People They Love?

Why do people cheat on people they love? Most people who cheat in relationships claim to love the partner they have wronged very much. Usually, their sincerity is doubtful. After all, if you love someone, you have to maintain a certain level of trust, commitment, and honor, right? 

So, what does cheating say about the person?

When you cheat, it means you aren’t to be trusted, you cannot commit, you have no respect for your partner, and you do not care about them. So, how can a cheater still love the partner they cheated on? 

According to Institute For Family Studies, 13% of married women and 20% of married men admit they were engaged in sexual activities with someone outside their marriage. The percentage gets higher as people get older. 

Yes, couples in longer marriages can also be inclined to cheat. Men could cheat in their 70s, and women could do so in their 60s. Therefore, infidelity does not wait for age or how long you have been with your partner. 

It leaves us with two burning questions:

1. Why do people cheat on who they love?

Why do people cheat? They can cheat out of anger, for needing something unconventional, to improve their self-esteem, or out of sexual desire. 

2. Do you really love them if you cheat on them?

There is no concrete answer for that, as the circumstances could be complex, or they may be dealing with personal problems.

So, let us look for some reasons for these questions.

Why Do People Cheat According to Science?

Before we jump into the reasons, let us revisit the question of whether love even existed in a relationship before adultery. 

It might be more complex if they love you than simply one reason. Emotions are challenging, and feelings are even more troublesome to figure out.

Dr Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, says the most prevalent cause people have for cheating on someone they love is not as uncomplicated as them having never been in love with their current partner in the first place.

Human beings are biologically motivated to create sexual and romantic connections with others, which is the number one motive for cheating in relationships. “Romantic love is not an emotion. It’s a drive,” Fisher pronounced in her TED Talk. “And, in fact,” she continued, “I think it’s more powerful than the sex drive.”

Fisher led an experiment with a team of scientists who studied the brains of people in love. Fisher and her team presented their subjects with an indeterminate photograph first, accompanied by a photograph of someone they love to read, which area of the brain became activated.

The outcomes revealed that the area of the brain responsible for overseeing the reward system activated when people looked at a photograph of their lover. This area becomes activated when you pet a puppy, when a mother gazes at their child or when you do cocaine.

What confuses things is that romantic love is not the only thing that motivates women and men when they fall for someone. There are three kinds of drives humans have that cause us to experience feelings of love:

  • Sex drive

Sex drive is the desire that commands how frequently a person wants sex.

  • Romantic love drive

The drive toward romantic love is what makes a person direct their energy to just one person.

  • Attachment drive

The drive toward attachment is the need a person feels for safety with a long-term partner to raise children with them.

“In short, we’re capable of loving more than one person at a time,” reveals Fisher. She explains that it is why people cheat. “Because it’s scientifically possible to feel a deep attachment to a long-term partner simultaneously, you feel intense romantic love toward someone else and, simultaneously, feel sexual attraction toward another person.”

Fisher advanced the notion, stating, “We are physiologically capable of ‘loving’ more than one person at a time.”

There is an unbelievable amount of proof that humans can love more than one person at a time, which could effortlessly lead to a sexual relationship with more than one person.

The increasing popularity of polyamorous dating apps also shows that a monogamous relationship isn’t for everyone.

Certainly, this does not make cheating alright, but science states that you can still be in love with the person you cheated on. All of this still does not make the pain any less.

However, at least now you know the scientific reasons why cheaters can be genuine about their emotions for their partner, even while engaging in infidelity. 

10 Reasons Why People Cheat on People They Love!

There are many reasons why people cheat, and here are some of them.

#1 Diminished Intimacy

If your needs are unmet, you might look for that satisfaction elsewhere. However, this is not how you deal with a lack of relationship intimacy.

Instead of looking for intimacy elsewhere, you have to talk to your partner and discuss your needs and what they do to bring that contentment back. 

#2 Neglect

Negligence in a relationship indicates being disregarded or trivial when you no longer feel like your partner’s precedence. Some people look for attention from another person if they are not getting it from their partner.

Both partners must give each other attention; otherwise, it can seriously damage your relationship. Men need to know their efforts are not unrecognized, while women need to feel appreciated and understood.

If you are not getting the attention you yearn for, communicate it to your partner.

#3 Looking for a Burst of Dopamine

A study in 2010 examined the dopamine D4 receptor gene in 181 volunteers. Dopamine D4 is the neurotransmitter that administers pleasure in the human brain.

The results showed that 50% of participants with the longer gene variant had cheated on their partners. The researchers also found that people with the longer variant “were more likely to be risk-takers and displayed addictive traits.”

The results of this study suggest that people cheat on the one they love for an adrenaline rush that delivers dopamine. 

#4 Revenge

No matter what you call it, revenge or retaliation, this is a terrible way to display pain and anger. Resentment is the mindset of attacking the fire with fire, i.e., I’ll hurt you when you hurt me. However, cheating should never be employed as a defense.

People sometimes cheat out of a desire to get revenge. Maybe you just found out that your partner cheated. You are shocked and wounded. You may want to make your partner go through the same sentiments so they genuinely experience the hurt they caused you.

Anger-motivated infidelity can occur for purposes other than revenge, though, including:

  • Frustration in a relationship when your partner does not seem to comprehend you or your needs
  • Anger at a partner who is not around much
  • Anger when a partner does not have much to give, emotionally or physically
  • Frustration or anger after an argument

Disregarding the underlying cause, anger can be a strong motivator to become intimate with someone else. 

#5 The Opportunity Presents Itself

Some people cheat just because they could do so. If it is something that might never occur again, why not take the risk? Just having an opportunity to cheat can make infidelity more possible.

However, this does not suggest everyone who can cheat will do so. Other factors usually (but not always) add to the incitement to cheat.

Contemplate this situation: You are disappointed with the current distance in your relationship and dispensing with perceptions of low self-esteem around your face or body.

One day, a coworker you have become close to catches you on your own and says, “I’m really intrigued by you. Let’s get together sometime.”

You may not want to cheat if just one or two determinants are involved. But this succession of driving factors—the gap in your relationship, your sentiments about your appearance, the consideration of your coworker—can make unfaithfulness more possible.

Other potential scenarios can also lead to adultery, even in a fulfilling, strong relationship. You could drink a lot and then sleep with someone after a night out.

You might be seeking physical comfort after a distressing incident. You could be working or living in an environment with a lot of emotional connection and physical touch. 

#6 A Thirst for Change

Some cheat when they want something distinct in their relationship or sense things have become complacent.

They might crave diversity in their sex lives or perhaps some adventure to counteract their everyday life.

#7 Commitment Issues

Commitment problems are not only a condition of cheating but a significant cause of why some relationships cease to exist. Commitment frightens some people away, and they ruin the relationship in the process to dodge the difficult way of breaking up. 

People who struggle with commitment might be more inclined to cheat in some situations. Additionally, commitment does not imply the same thing to everyone.

It is reasonable for two people in a relationship to have very diverse views on the status of their relationship, such as whether it is exclusive, casual and so on. 

Moreover, you might also likely like someone and still be afraid to commit. In such cases, one partner may cheat to bypass commitment, even if they really want to stay in the relationship. Some other reasons might include

  • Lack of interest in a long-term commitment
  • Seeking a more casual relationship
  • Looking for a way out of the relationship

#8 Falling Out of Love

The exciting feeling of falling in love with someone usually does not persist forever. When you first fall in love with someone, you may feel love, enthusiasm, and dopamine from just receiving a text from them.

But the depth of these feelings usually weakens over time. Surely, permanent, enduring love exists, but those first-date butterflies will take you so far.

Once the sparkle fades, you may realize that the love is not there. Or perhaps you understand you are in love with someone else.

Sometimes, the person you love doesn’t love you anymore—it simply happens. Instead of striving to fall back in love with you, they seek it somewhere else when they fall out of love. Once the love has disappeared, it can be challenging to get that loving feeling back.

Keep in mind that falling out of love does not have to mean you do not love each other; it can make it more difficult to move on from a relationship that still affords a feeling of friendship, family, stability, and security.

But lingering in a relationship without romantic love may drive the desire to feel love again and trigger infidelity.


#9 Resentment or Anger

Anger or resentment can involve being mad about your partner’s behavior, a bad workplace situation, or an indefinite attitude about life.

Sometimes, resentment drives people to let off steam and suppress that feeling by cheating, which can go hand in hand with retaliation.

#10 Low Self-esteem Issues

When people do not feel great about themselves, they seek validation from others to become more self-reliant and feel better.

When your partner does not confirm your feelings or makes you think lowly about who you are, obtaining that reassurance can lead them to cheat.

Therefore, wanting to increase self-esteem can also trigger infidelity. When you have sex with someone new, it can lead to positive feelings. You may feel confident, attractive, successful, or empowered. These feelings can boost your self-esteem. 

Several people who cheat because of self-esteem issues have supportive, loving partners who offer encouragement and compassion. But they may think, “They have to say that,” or “They just don’t want me to feel awful.”

On the other hand, getting approval and admiration from someone new can seem exciting and unique. It might seem more straightforward to someone with low self-esteem, who may consider the new person has no obligation to the relationship to exaggerate or mislead. 

Can The Damage Be Repaired?

The answer to this question is not straightforward. You must know this was not your fault if you have been cheated on. No matter what reason your partner gives you to justify why they cheated, that is their responsibility, not yours.

The liability lands on them because they chose to cheat with another person and put their sexual desires before you and the relationship.

A relationship is about two people—but even if your problems might have been your partner’s choice for straying—they eventually chose to cheat.

If you have cheated and you do reveal the truth, you need to have a sincere and hefty apology waiting for them. You must show them your regret and willingness to receive professional help through your actions. But it does not stop here.

If you cheated, you need to do a little soul-searching and find out why you cheated in the first place. What caused this? Was it motivated by a relationship problem or a personal issue? When you determine that, you need to fix that. 

9 thoughts on “Why Do People Cheat On People They Love?”

  1. I love my wife, and I absolutely will not hurt her in the way of infadility. But a serious problem exists,,,, she absolutely refuses to have that sexual connection with me. It started first with my ED, then she broke her neck twice , and fractured her sacroiliac joint, and had a hysterectomy. Before the later she frequently complained about painful intercourse but since the hysterectomy everything sexual stopped. And when I bring up the topic for discussion it usually is met with another excuse or rejection. All I’m feeling in our relationship now is rejection and her constant need for provision..
    Nothing I do will ever be right, I will never in this life time will ever be able to provide enough security or service to please my wife. In serious trouble, and things left in this state will soon cease to exist. We lost three babies one miscarriage and two unknown tubal pregnancies, hence the painful intercourse, and need for hysterectomy. The intimacy we once shared is non existent,and any talk of building on the relationship is met with a resounding NO! Or turns into an argument. We have not had any carnal relationship in over 5 years and I am told I am the one who needs to do a mountain of change, however I have been more patient than any man I know or will probably meet. Help me please!

    • You Larry are a very loyal and supportive husband. In my opinion there are a few things you could do. You have not left your wife so this seems like it is not an option for you or you would have left in year one, based of the feelings of rejection you described. Also I dont think she means to reject you. Women can go off sex during menopause unfortunetly. Have you tried igboring her? Have you tried dating her? Have you waited long enough before asking for sex? I mean months? Lastly, there is nothing wrong with getting sex elsewhere after all it is a need like any other. Have you left the marital home for a break? All of my suggestions are if you want to try need to be done within a altimated time scalr and then settle and accept. Do you stay? Or go? Make a choice after. Of course counselling alone or as a couple preferrably. All the very brst. Remember you are a good person. Work with it untill you can not any longer.

    • Larry. Your wife needs to have her hormones checked. If they’re low that could be the reason she wants nothing to do with sex. Some women can take hormones and some can’t. If your wife had the surgery because of cancer her Dr will most likely not put her on hormones. I had to have a complete hysterectomy at an early age. Not cancer related. Thank goodness my Dr got me started on hormones right away because 35 years later my husband and I still have a very active sex life. It sounds like your wife is afraid to even try intercourse since the surgery. I went through so much pain for 7 years before my surgery so I do understand. I was amazed at how much better things were after I had the surgery. No more pain!
      As far as the other problems I would recommend counseling. It sounds like your wife is carrying a lot of anger that probably has nothing to do with you. Losing 3 pregnancies and then having to have a hysterectomy is an awful lot for a woman to deal with.
      You do sound like a very patient husband who loves his wife. Don’t give up on your marriage. Talk to your wife about trying things other than intercourse. There are several other ways a husband and wife can have fun and please each other. I would also recommend telling her you’re not going anywhere, you want to stay in the marriage, you love her, but you need to see a marriage counselor.

  2. Wow sorry you had to go through that, but she obviously got what she deserved. Hope you are able to move on and find real love ❤️

  3. Well crazy story I dated a guy for two years and we had a baby he cheated on me while I was 6 months pregnant with two women and he was dating them , he would go to bars to play pool with them and drink. I didn’t know he was doing drugs the whole time we were dating , I also found out he was receive hand jobs and exotic massages from massage parlors and blowing through all his money and my money because he would ask to borrow money from me I didn’t find out any of this untill I went through his bank account statements in Feb 21,2022 , I’m so shocked and he is begging for a chance he went to rehab band admitted his issues. But I don’t know I feel bad for our daughter.

  4. My spouse cheated on me with my sister in law who is his brothers wife. And she was my best friend). She had been married for 2 years. We have a 13 month son… he blame me because I did focused a lot on my baby and my health issues. I kind abandoned our connection that brought us together. He was my best friend… I don’t know how the future would look like he chose to stay with me but I don’t trust him anymore. I’m scared… The family is also heartbroken… and he has feelings for that woman. I don’t know I felt alone with my child because when I needed help from him taking care of my baby he will always complaint… like if our son was only my responsibility… he is a very negative, grumpy person. I want to believe in my heart that we can change and I’m trying to give him the attention he needs and changing for him… but idk how to test him anymore.

    • I’m so sorry Kat. I hope you know what your husband did was in no way your fault. When you have a new baby they require ALL of your attention. You have to be on their schedule as far as when they sleep, eat, need to be held and so on. Did your husband think you were going to neglect the new baby and give all of your attention to him? He’s an adult so he should understand the baby’s needs will come first. I wish I could tell you what to do. It would be such a shame and a waste if you stayed with him for the next 50 years not being able to trust him and him not making you happy.

  5. “I was with a girlfriend for five years and was making plans to propose to her. Then one day, she said she wanted to take a break to figure things out. That was about four years ago. She got married about two years after her “break” to a coworker who I later found out through the help of hackgoodnesstech on insta, gram that she had been cheating on me with the whole time we were together. I was devastated at the time, but now I think it was all for the best. Also, it’s a small world, because her husband is cheating on her with my staff. Thanks karma!” I might just give my staff a promotion, what do you guys think?


Leave a Comment