Why Happy People Cheat

Why Happy People Cheat

Infidelity happens in good and bad relationships.

This happens even in open relationships, when sex with other people is carefully negotiated beforehand. The freedom to leave or to divorce didn't end the act of cheating.

This act is not always related to marital problems. Yes, on many occasions, an affair makes up for an absence or creates an escape. Prolonged lack of sex, loneliness, arguments, routine... Many adulterers are motivated by all these problems.
There are also frequent offenders, narcissists who deceive simply because they can.

However, there are situations that challenge even therapists. People who say, "I love my wife/my husband. We're best friends and happy together" - and then they add: "but I'm having an affair." Many of these individuals were faithful for years, sometimes decades.


They seem to be well balanced, mature, affectionate and deeply invested in their relationship. Yet one day, they crossed a line they never thought they'd cross.

Why is that?

One of the most uncomfortable truths is that, what is cheating for one, can be transforming to the other. Extramarital adventures are painful and destabilizing, but they can also be liberating and empowering.

Understanding both sides is crucial for an independent couple - whether he/she chooses to end things or wants to stay together and rebuild the relationship. It can also be a form of self-discovery, a search for a new identity (or a lost identity). For these people, infidelity does not occur because of problems in the relationship, but probably by an experience that involves growth, development and transformation.

Sometimes when someone cheats, they are not moving away from their partner, but the person they have become. They are not looking for another lover, but for a new version of themselves. the most intoxicating in a case is not a new partner, it is a new self. cheating can also be triggered by a midlife crisis, a longing for a youth that has not been lived.

An affair brings a world of possibilities — an alternate reality in which they can reimagine and reinvent themselves. The excitement of the forbidden, the lack of responsibility, all this can be irresistible to some.
People often think what would have happened if they had made other choices. Where would they be? As adults, we often find ourselves confined by the paths we follow in life.

When you choose a partner, you commit to a story. Yet we remain curious forever: what other stories could we have been a part of? Affairs offer a view of these other lives, a story that could have happened.

After the discovery

Why Happy People Cheat

The fact of knowing what motivated the betrayal does not ease the pain. That is why the dilemma is always there:

Does the relationship survive the pain of the revelation?

Could you go on after a lie?

There is no right or wrong answer.

It's impossible to predict what people do when they discover a partner's infidelity. Some relationships collapse after the discovery. Others present an astonishing ability to recover, even after a great deal of pain.

Happy people cheat, unfortunately, and most of the time, it's not our fault. To avoid future disagreements, talk to your partner from the beginning of the relationship. It is much better to talk about these awful questions before a storm hits the couple.

Talking about what concerns us, about our yearnings in an atmosphere of trust, can really help a relationship. Instead of just creating a picture of happiness, you will be surpassing the challenges in your relationship that will make you happy.

If you were betrayed, reflect whether it's worth forgiving or not. If you accept them back, will you be able to overcome the hurt and resentment?

Will you be able to be happy, even in the shadow of treason?

If the answer is positive, great! Go ahead and give your relationship a new chance.

Now, if you can't say for sure that you can get over it, you might want to step away for a while or break up for good. Many betrayals mark so deeply that we are only happy again when we move away from the person who makes us suffer.

Always do what is best for your life!

#scctakes


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Most Helpful Guys

  • I think people cheat for power and dominance, especially men. They want to show off to their friends they are in control and a good lover and should be the top of their group so they may talk up a girl at a bar and take her home just so they can show their friends they deserve social dominance in the group. OR some guy screwed them over so they want to seduce his wife to get back at him.

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    • Nah... guys have sex with girls that they're not in a relationship with for exactly one reason-- because we want to have sex. More than is being provided, or with different girls than is being provided. Per evolutionary biology. Dominance? Maybe a bit, sure, because sex is inherently more male-dominant unless you take steps otherwise. But power? Nah. It's not about power. For the vast, overwhelming majority of guys, sex is about sex. That's it.

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    • @Anon-ymous1 dumb people think they are smarter than anybody in the world. Lol. you're retarded.

    • @Anon-ymous1 stop posting your shitty takes as advertisements for your pigheaded views

  • Very interesting take - I am very old school on this and would find it nearly impossible to forgive unless it was proven to be my fault that my partner looked elsewhere though that said I would probably be very logical/surgical and make a clean break/decision shortly after finding out and heard any justification/explanation.

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Most Helpful Girls

  • Happy people who cheat - AKA... shitty people.

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  • Although it's not an excuse. I've heard of people cheating because they feel stuck. Are Depressed and are not mentally /emotionally stable. Sleep deprivation, & being in abusive relationships. An escape & outlet. I have never known anyone to cheat when they are happy. Usually people cheat when they no longer feel appreciated & feel trapped, do not want to lose their family. I do not condone cheating but there is a difference between one that has cheated multiple times & one that has cheated once & learned their lesson.

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What Guys Said 44

  • I like your post, but I think it can be boiled down to a much more fundamental level. Humans don't naturally stay with one partner. That's why we bump uglies one after another, the divorce rates are at 60%+, and cheating is so prevalent. There are instinctual and biological benefits to having multiple sexual partners.

    So, I would claim it's instinct vs mind. And instinct usually wins. If someone is put in a situation where they are tempted, it will often just happen. Because biology rewards that kind of behavior.

    Those psychological drivers you talk about are interesting, but I think they all are simply differing rationalizations that people use to justify their baser instincts.

    As is the natural state of our brains: that's the frontal lobe's primary purpose, simply to rationalize baser instincts. Our thinking mind's main purpose is simply to make the limbic system, the primitive brain happy. So a person will come up with all kinds of ideas or excuses on how to obtain that instinctual desire. But they're really just a smokescreen. A convenient lie they tell themselves to get what the primitive part of their brain's want.

    I do think it's important to understand that, if one wants to make something last. Cheating is always a possibility, in an unhappy or happy relationship. The people who think that they are completely immune to cheating--that they could never ever cheat. They are the ones most likely to cheat.

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  • This is what is known as rationalization, basically its when people do really shitty things but instead of just having the guts and the character to actually own up to the shitty things they have done they make excuses for the behavior. In short no, it is not about discovery because sex does not make you discover anything and that's an idiotic argument, two if your unhappy and your first instinct is to betray some one who trusts you and has invested potentially years of their life to you, then your not only a shitty person, your not only worthless (because if you can betray a person for the very temporary physical gratification (which you could have gotten from them) then what the hell are you willing to do to a friend? An acquintance? A stranger?), but your also still going to be an unhappy person, just a shitty unhappy person who doesn't deserve to be loved by any one. The fact is its like claiming that its okay that you do a lot of drugs and drink yourself into a stupor because your "discoverying" yourself, it makes you "happy" but of course if it did that then you wouldn't have to do it behind your partners back you wouldn't destroy their life too, and you wouldn't feel the need to do it to begin with because happy people don't need to medicate themselves. Again, this is rationalization and a really weak one at that. If you wish to be happy, look inward and be some one you can be proud of not some one who has to hide their terrible deeds and is constantly jumping from ephemeral sensation to ephemeral sensation in order to hide from your misery. Real simple.

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    • Exactly. Well said.

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    • The fuck are you talking about man? Are you senile? Did you actually read anything I wrote earlier?

      Whatever dude. This is boring me, a lot. Have a nice life.

    • @Anon-ymous1 Oh no, your sarcasm has hurt my feelings. As previously stated, everything I posted was related to something I stated, you just wanted to half ass it and didn't bother to look through the links.

  • "and most of the time, it's not our fault"
    Actually, it is never the fault of the one who is being cheated on.

    And if I were cheated on, I wouldn't even consider staying with them. We'd be done.

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    • And that's why as of yesterday, I'm alone again. It Gets tougher and more deeply painful as you get older.

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    • @PIGVOMIT72 although I get that it's hard to let go of someone you cared for, you shouldn't have just told her that she's making a mistake - the moment she even seriously considered it was the moment it was over. Or at least should have been.

    • Try explaining that to her. She's a member here. As for me, you're preaching to the choir.

  • Liberating and empowering. Sure. Where do you come up with this stuff? Do you make it up or read it somewhere? And why are you trying to comment on something you don't know anything about? Typical.

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    • I only do that on my day off. ;)

  • I hope nobody minds if I get a little angry and write in all caps, but... IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO CHEAT TO FEEL HAPPY, THEN YOU WEREN'T HAPPY IN THE FIRST PLACE. THEY SAY THEIR "HAPPY" BECAUSE THEY GOT WHAT THEY PERSONALLY WANTED BY CHEATING! PEOPLE WHO CHEAT ARE TOO SELFISH TO THINK ABOUT THE OTHER PERSON, ARE TOO WEAK FOR A REAL COMMITMENT, AND ARE ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC AND AREN'T FIT OR WORTHY OF A REAL RELATIONSHIP! I THINK THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO CHEAT EVER! IF I'M IN A RELATIONSHIP AND IF I THINK I HAVE TO DO SHIT WITH SOMEONE ELSE TO FEEL HAPPY, THEN I WOULD JUST END THE RELATION SHIP, OR AT LEAST HAVE A TALK WITH MY CURRENT PARTNER! PEOPLE WHO DO CHEAT ARE SHITTY PEOPLE WHO NOT ONLY DESTROYED SOMEONES FEELINGS AND TRUST, BUT ALSO COMPLETELY WASTED THEIR TIME! THE TIME THEY COULD HAVE WELL SPENT LOOKING FOR AN ACTUALLY LOVING PARTNER WHO IS HAPPY TO BE WITH THEM AND ONLY THEM!

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    • I know exactly how you feel. I told her pretty much the same thing.

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    • @Goodwifie sorry... didn't mean it like that... the last couple of days my whole world unraveled and completely collapsed. Please forgive me, I'm not in the best of spirits.

    • @PIGVOMIT72 I do see where I could have taken it the wrong way sorry.
      Each day will get easier I promise. 💙

  • All marital vows which I have heard recite something about "the two become one." That means that you do what is best for the relationship and not what is best for you individually. It is the surrender of the individuality that makes the relationship work. If you believe that is the premise of marriage, then the idea of embarking on an extramarital affair as an avenue of growth and exploration is unacceptable.

    Have you been unfaithful to someone, or have you forgiven someone who was unfaithful to you?

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  • I dont really need to understand why as these two are double negatives. 1 your not happy with yourself if you have to harm another to be happy unjustifiably. 2 cheating doesn't make them happy either. Karma said so.

    Now you come up 1000s reasons why but when its all said and done a person whos about to cheat on you will be obvious much like a lie you have catch them at it. How? By not believing or trusting in the first place do yout homework.

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  • Very interesting take.

    Whereas I would be the first to agree with the idea that not everyone who cheats is a bad person, I am skeptical that happy people cheat, at least those who are happy with the relationship. They may be happy in other aspects of their lives, but I have never encountered a cheater who was happy with the relationship. Did you mean happy in other respects, or happy even in the relationship?

    You are a therapist? What kind? How long have you done it? Why did you get into therapy (assuming you don't mind me asking these questions)? What kind of cancer were you diagnosed with?

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  • I think they aren't actually "happy" at all and are merely just pretending and lying to themselves and as well as others about how "happy" they actually are and being "happy".

    If only more people only just end the relationship honestly face to face that they aren't happy with anymore instead of cheating and lying, if only.

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  • Is Eros (sexual) love the core of your relationship? If so, then cheating by your spouse will end it. What if your relationship is a partnership in your home, raising kids, taking care of others in your life, sharing nice events and times together? What if sex is not the core of your relationship?

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  • People who cheat have a severe character flaw regardless if they are happy or not. However there are some very selfish people who simply can't help themselves. Generally when people cheat it means they are missing something from their primary realtionship but it is not always the case. Some people just cheat anyway.

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  • Happy people don't cheat, but content people with impulse control issues do. I wish people would stop saying that happy people cheat. If happy people cheated, why would people still be married when they get into retirement homes?

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  • You are making a philosophy of this. People who cheat are always worthless pieces of shit and THAT is the only true reason why somebody cheats. There is no other. And everybody can make a mistake and waste time on a person like that. We are human beings, we make mistakes. Whats important is that the moment you find out you got the wrong person you completely remove them from your life for good.

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  • This makes no sense. I feel people cheat out of a character flaw. A lot of people who claim to be happy just married a safe partner who they might or might not like just because he or she is a good person.

    I feel that you should only date people who you're actually attracted to...

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  • Well the first part is at odds with the title. All of the people you described are unhappy.

    If you're longing for something you don't have. If you're not in the moment enjoying your life, you're not 'happy'. They may not be depressed, they may even be content, but for sure they're not happy.

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  • Cheating is a shitty thing to do. This is one time I think it's permissible for men and women to hit each other.

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    • Cheating although as terrible as it is it's not illegal where as hitting a person is.
      It simply wouldn't stand up in court if they pressed charges against you.
      Just do something they can't do and that's to be the better person by showing some self control.

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    • Are you seriously supporting violence?

    • When it comes to cheating, yes.

  • I've never personally heard of this Happening in a happy relationship, but Maybe I just didn't know About it.

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  • Well, personally, I'd say The Term "Cheating" Is Erroneous and Foolish, and No One Should Use It ↗

    And that still stands. I also want to say that this is a very good Take and thoughtfully written, more so than most people are willing to give this subject. Life is not always black and white.

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  • If they're happy and fulfilled in their relationship, they're not going to cheat. Plus, only shitty people cheat, rather than end the relationship like a decent person would do.

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    • Decent people can be driven to do terrible things. It's not an excuse. If you went and did it, that's bad, but I strongly don't think only "good" people don't cheat and only "bad" people cheat. That's an oversimplification that doesn't hold true under scrutiny.

  • I cheat on my boyfriend by giving my ass to other boyz

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What Girls Said 19

  • Cheating may not be because of a problem in the relationship but it is because if a problem within be cheater, selfishness.

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  • 16h

    I have cheated on a couple of occasions, I don't really have to I have a great sex life with my husband and we have an open marriage to a point, but when my sexual hormones kicks in and I'm with someone I have fancied for a long time, and the opportunity is there then I don't seem to be able to control myself, my husbands sexual prowess is second to none, but the unknown hits me, at least twice in my life

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  • Some people do just for the thrill. other times. They a lot of different type of cheating. people who are selfless. only care about looks & drama. I have been cheated on twice in the past. I always think can't respect my wishes and bye boy u went for good.

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  • I may not have been cheated on but I can understand how it feels. My crush didn’t tell me he wasn’t interested in me and instead choose to show interest in me and most of the time he flirts with his crush so I make him jealous which only pissed him off. He’s a player who only flirts with any hot girls in his class I’m glad I didn’t pick him as my boyfriend he can suck his own dick and eat his own shit if he ask me to be his girlfriend

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  • Open relationships... for the win! Need more sex--do this. Jealousy could happen, but it's less likely if you're poly and need sexual freedom!

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  • Dull marriages, shitty partner, rich, good looking, high sex drive and maybe they aren't monogamous as thought to be.

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  • I think there are a lot of good thoughts in this article.

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  • Your take reads like a transcript of a TED talk.

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  • There's no excuse for cheating. Period.

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  • For sexual pleasure

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  • Happiness doesn't last forever, like fairy tales and romantic stories have put it in their happy endings. Life goes on and in life there are always ups and downs.

    In a romantic story, when the writers come to this kind of conflict between the official couple, normally they sweeten the pill either by putting that there wasn't a cheating, it was just a misunderstanding where it looked like there was a cheating, or the partner did it because he/she didn't have any other option (either due to being raped or in order to protect something or someone dear for him/her) and despite that, the heart is still faithful to "the true love". Normally, the power of love come to the rescue, the misunderstandings are cleared, everyone receives what they deserve, and in the end the official couple lives happily ever after.

    Unfortunately, in real life, cheating is cheating, no matter how many excuses they want to put like in the stories (being forced to cheat equals either rape or sexual harrassment, depending on the degree). The cheater has to face the music by admitting his/her mistake, being honest and accept his/her partner's desicion where both should be aware that the relationship won't be the same anymore if they continue together even though the cheater doesn't cheat anymore.

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  • Nobody should cheat

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  • If a woman ever tells a guy, “If we don’t have trust, we don’t have anything,” she is either cheating on you or planning to cheat on him. There are no exceptions to this rule. We use that as cover, to try and make the man feel guilty for questioning our fidelity. What we are really saying here, is, “I will fuck whomever I want and you’d better keep your nose out of it or I’ll cut you off from my pussy and I’ll ruin your freaking life if you keep pressing the issue.” If we really cared about you, and if we really weren’t cheating on you or planning to cheat on you, we would tell you something like, “I am not cheating on you, I love you, and I would never do that. I don’t care if we have to stay up all night, for the next week, and go over every single shred of doubt that’s currently troubling you about this. I have nothing to hide, I would never cheat on you, and I don’t want you thinking these things about me. Please tell me exactly why you think I am cheating, point by point, and I will do anything and everything that I have to do to prove to you that I’m not cheating, in order to ease your worried mind.
    All of us women are masochists and all hot women are narcissistic masochists. We hate it when things are going well, especially if they continue to go well for long periods of time. We know down deep that we are fucked-up and not worthy of anything that is truly good. So when things are going well in a relationship, we eventually sabotage it. We just can’t help ourselves in this regard.
    We could have the greatest, most handsome, most well-hung husband in the world—a one-of-a-kind man who makes all of our girlfriends jealous; we could have the greatest children in the world, who are beautiful, well-behaved and ambitious; we could have the most enviable career imaginable; we could have all of the money and prestige and the truly good things in life, and we could repeatedly tell ourselves over and over, and believe, on the surface, that we would never cheat on our husbands. But down deep we know that it’s a lie. Because one day, we could walk into a grocery store, and some bad boy could whisper just the right combination of words in our ear, and the next thing you know, we’re at the Motel 6 getting it in the ass. That’s just how we are, and any woman—especially a hot woman—who says otherwise, is a liar.

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    • All women dislike ourselves and because we dislike ourselves, we fervently hate any man who doesn’t see through our bullshit. The more a man loves us, the more we hate him. The more he overlooks our sins, and the more he fails to see how corrupt we are, and the more he gives us the benefit of every single doubt – the more we despise him. We will escalate our bad behavior until we finally break him and he wakes up and realizes how worthless we are and what a fool he has been for believing in us.
      We want a man whom we can’t have. We want a man who honestly doesn’t give a fuck about us, who doesn’t care if we come or go. That’s the kind of man we will pursue. Call them bad boys or call them whatever you want, that’s the kind of man we want – period. The kind of guy who will make us orgasm, crudely, and give us a huge sexual thrill in the bedroom, and then discard us like used toilet paper, and fuck our female friends afterwards, just because he can.(Just like we would do with his friends.

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    • Our faces are fake (makeup), our hair is fake (dyed), our boobs are fake (some of us), everything about us is fake. Most especially when it comes to what is inside of us. We lie constantly, because we are far worse, character-wise, than even our closest friends or lovers will ever know, and we desperately fight to keep all of that hidden.
      We are looking for our true daddies, basically – the idealized daddies that we never had – somebody who can see through all of our false fronts and call us out on our bullshit and put us in our place. The problem is, those type of men are very few and far between.

    • We women are like children. We are constantly poking, prodding and testing a man, in order to find out what his boundaries are. If he has no boundaries, we will destroy him, especially if he loves us. A man has to have boundaries, and he has to outline them precisely, and he has to force us to adhere to them with the power of his conviction and the power of his action. If he doesn’t do that, we will beat him over the head with his weaknesses (his lack of boundaries) until he breaks.

  • I am against cheating, but curious about consensual non monogamy

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  • Too sadly :(

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  • It's a choice. Ignorance and inconsideration is a choice too. Letting their dicks rule over their moral compass is a choice too.

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    • *SMH I love how you singled out guys...

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    • @hellionthesagereborn no. Go back to university to learn to read and take critical thinking classes.

    • Learn to read? I was reading at university levels when I was in grade school. As for critical thinking, do you mean like how you used a ad hominem logical fallacy to try and ridicule me as an individual rather then take on my statements because you know that you cannot actually argue against them? Would that be the critical thinking your talking about or is their some other kind?

  • I think happy people don't cheat, there shouldn't be any reason to...
    but if your unhappy talk to your spouse before you cheat

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  • Nice

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  • Usually cheating comes with a bigger problem than the action itself. Sometimes it is not about the other lover but internal but internal conflict one may have indeed.

    My ex cheated with his ex. After this he agreed to go to therapy and was diagnosed Co dependant and borderline. His ex is crazy ( I saw her) . Through the weeks after the event he told me how insecure and less powerful he was feeling around me and how with her he was at least always the strongest one back then.

    He cut her out of his life for good but usually when men cheat, they don't cheat with a woman they can leave you for but for a short feeling of superiority.
    When a man leaves for the woman he cheated with, he simply doesn't want to be in a serious relationship anyway.

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