9 Facts About Cheating That Could Change How You Feel About It

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Once a cheater, always a cheater? It's always about the sex? Happily married men never cheat? Maybe not! The morals of cheating may be black and white, but the reasons and motivations can be complex and unpredictable.


1. It's not so unusual for a person to cheat on someone they love. According to an experiment by biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, we're capable of loving more than one person at a time ... just in different ways. That's because there are three different kinds of "love": Sex drive, romantic love, and attachment. So you can feel lovingly attached to your husband but fall in lust with someone else. And a happily married man may still mess around on the side.

2. Men and women cheat for different reasons. Fisher's research has also shown that when men cheat, it's mostly about the sex. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to cheat because of loneliness, and we're more likely to fall in love. 

Women tend to be more unhappy with the relationship they are in, while men can be a lot happier in their primary relationship and also cheat. Women are more interested in supplementing their marriage or jumping ship than men are -- for men, it is a secondary strategy as opposed to an alternate.

Or is it? 

3. It may not be all about sex for men, either. According to a study by psychotherapist and counselor Gary Neuman, 92 percent of the men he surveyed said they cheated because they felt emotionally disconnected from their partner and felt underappreciated.

4. Whether a cheater repeats depends on why they cheat. If someone cheats for individual reasons (personality defects, lack of ethics or morals), he's more likely to repeat than if it's because he's in an unsatisfying relationship or finds himself in the wrong situation, according to California State University professor of psychology Dr. Kelly Campbell

More from The Stir: 15 Real Reasons Women Gave for Cheating on Their Husbands

5. Men are more forgiving of cheating -- if it's with a woman. According to a University of Texas study, 50 percent of men surveyed said they'd be okay with their partner cheating if it were with a woman. But only 22 percent would forgive a girlfriend or wife for cheating with a man. Whatever, men! It's not like we're gonna let you watch.

6. Infidelity isn't as common as you'd think. According to a long-range study in the U.S., extramarital sex occurs in fewer than 25 percent of committed relationships -- over the entire course of that entire relationship. And in any given year that number is even lower. Researchers found that overall men are more likely to cheat than women are.

7. Men are more likely to cheat, but not by much. According to a 2009 study, 23.2 percent of heterosexual men compared with 19.2 percent of heterosexual women admitted to cheating on their current partner.

8. Mate poaching is shockingly common. A survey of American men and women reveals that 60 percent of men and 53 percent of women admitted to mate poaching, or attempting to lure a person away from their committed relationship in order to start a new relationship with them. 

9. Cheating is not the biggest cause of divorce. That said, mate poaching doesn't appear to be that successful. When asked about the reasons for their divorce, women are likely to blame things like incompatibility and men are likely to blame things like work and problems with in-laws more often than infidelity. So all that hand-wringing we do, worrying that someone's going to stray, is a little misplaced. We should be way more focused on the threat from within.

What's the weirdest thing you've learned about cheating?

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