Infidelity is something no one wants to think about — but it happens. The turmoil, betrayal, deciding whether to stay, and trying to regain trust can be a nightmare, and it leaves us wondering why people cheat in the first place. The answer is complicated, and in fact, men and women may have different reasons. Let’s take a closer look at cheating, and some key warning signs of cheating you shouldn’t ignore.
The difference between men and women
Everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated. And many times, if our needs aren’t being met, it leaves us susceptible to straying. Studies have shown that in heterosexual relationships, men are more likely to be most upset by sexual infidelity, while women are often most bothered by emotional infidelity. If you think this might affect men’s and women’s cheating habits, you’re right.
Next: Why do men really cheat?
Why do men cheat?
Previously, we’ve delved into what makes men cheat, with one big reason topping the list: They feel emotionally neglected. While cheating is not the best way to go about resolving that issue, that statistic does serve as a reminder to always be there for your partner emotionally … especially when you take women’s answers into consideration.
Next: This is the top reason why women cheat.
The top reason women cheat
Women stray for a variety of reasons, but the top reason is similar to the men’s answer: They felt their partner wasn’t giving them the attention they needed. This could mean emotional needs weren’t being met, much like the men’s, but women also crave the same kind of physical attention that men do. When a woman’s partner stops showing interest in her, she’s more likely to be unfaithful.
Next: More reasons why women cheat.
Other reasons women stray
Of course, the answer to the “Why do women cheat?” question differs when you consider the source. A recent study of 100 women between the ages of 35 and 65 revealed that the majority of them cheated because they wanted more romantic passion in their lives. However, these women were all members of the site Ashley Madison, which is designed to help committed people have affairs — so their mindsets may be different than most.
Next: The numbers on cheating are shifting.
The numbers are shifting
Traditionally, men were much more likely to cheat on their partners than women — and statistically, that’s still true. But since 1990, the rate of married women who report they’ve been unfaithful has increased by 40%, while the rate among men has remained the same. So it seems that more women than ever are cheating, or at least willing to admit that they have.
Next: A surprising reason why some women cheat.
Recently, sociologist Alicia Walker looked into why women cheat on their husbands. Her findings were not what she had anticipated — she talked to plenty of women who were only looking for a physical connection with someone else. They loved their husbands and didn’t need emotional support. Many of them felt resentment toward their husbands before beginning their affairs, but by “outsourcing” sex, they feel more able to be the wives and mothers they want to be.
Next: Showing a little love can go a long ways.
Show a little love
No relationship is affair-proof, and infidelity can happen to any couple. That being said, it seems that showing your partner love and appreciation will strengthen your bond and make cheating less likely. If you’re tempted, remember why you chose your other half, and make a real effort to connect.
Next: Top warning signs your partner is cheating.
Your partner’s cell phone is closely guarded
If your partner has started keeping his or her cell phone very close, take note. Unless an important call is expected, constantly keeping an eye on the cell phone and running to the bathroom with phone in hand is a sign something is amiss. Certified relationship coach Chris Armstrong, founder of relationship site Maze of Love, said keeping one’s cell phone closer than usual is a bad sign. Armstrong told The Cheat Sheet:
A healthy couple in a relationship with no secrets should be able to write an email in an open space and lay their cell phone on the table without worrying what the other person may find if they glanced at it. But when someone is cheating, it is very likely that they have texts, emails, or other communication from the person they are cheating with, and thus they will protect their phone at all times.
Next: How often does your partner leave you hanging?
Your partner is hard to reach
Lisa Concepcion, relationship expert and founder of LoveQuest Marketing, said cheating partners usually start playing a game of hide-and-seek when they’re doing some dirt. Concepcion said:
These days we are easily connected to our partners. We send texts or call to check in throughout the day. Sure, people get busy, but when he’s gone for hours at a time after work without any check-in, that’s a sign. Something is wrong when you text or call and they are unreachable and it takes longer than usual to return the text or call.
Next: Where is all the money really going?
Your joint bank account balance is dwindling
Unusual ATM withdrawals are red flags. You should be concerned if money starts disappearing from your joint bank account, April Masini, a relationship expert and founder of relationship advice site Ask April, told The Cheat Sheet. Masini said:
You notice cash withdrawals and an absence of credit card use. When your partner doesn’t want you to know where he or she is spending, they’ll be careful not to leave a trail, and cash is king when it comes to spending on cheating. If your cheating partner doesn’t have a stash of cash, you’ll notice ATM withdrawal patterns that are more active than in the past.
Next: Did your partner suddenly change this about themselves?
Your partner is suddenly happy
Is your partner deliriously happy all of a sudden? You may want to start figuring out why. Therapist Caroline Madden told us an unexplained spike in happiness could be due to the fact your partner is getting some action on the side. “He is HAPPY. All of a sudden you think that you have gotten through a rough patch. He seems happier, nicer to you, and does more little things around the house. You aren’t fighting anymore either. This all coupled with not pressuring you for sex anymore,” Madden said.
Additional reporting by Sheiresa Ngo.
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