- New data from Ashley Madison suggests people, especially those who identify as women, cheat because they feel they can be more honest with their cheating partner, Refinery29 reported.
- Participants who identify as men said they did it because “there are lots of people who are open to being in an affair,”
- If you want to mend a relationship after cheating, experts say communication is key.
Cheating is alive and well – a 2018 report from Institute of Family Studies found that 16% of people have admitted to having sex with someone other than their spouse – but the reasons behind infidelity vary. New data from Ashley Madison suggests one major reason people cheat is because they feel they can be more honest with their cheating partner, Refinery29 reported.
In fact, the survey reported women attributed the ability to be honest with their cheating partner as the top reason they found cheating “easy,” while men said cheating was easy for them because “there are lots of people who are open to being in an affair.”
While malice can be one cause of cheating, the act can also stem from a person’s need for self-fulfillment and have nothing to do with the person being cheated on, Esther Perel, a couples therapist and the author of “The State of Affairs,” told Business Insider in a previous interview.
“They’re finally doing something they want,” Perel told Business Insider. “Paradoxically, while they are lying to their partner, sometimes they find themselves in this strange situation, where maybe for the first time they are not lying to themselves.”
Tammy Nelson, a sex and relationship therapist, agreed: “…Opening up to someone who is going through similar stress at home or talking openly with someone about what you truly desire might be a factor in sharing honestly with a potential affair partner – maybe it’s the pressure itself that takes some of the pressure off,” Nelson told Refinery29.
A lack of intimacy, lack of self control, or a fear of getting old can also lead to cheating.
No matter the reason, finding out your partner is cheating can be a painful experience. Learning someone’s motivation behind the act, however, may help repair the relationship, or at least give peace of mind to the parties involved.
“When a relationship begins with infidelity and the lies and deception around it, a couple can turn the corner and create a healthy relationship if they are ready for deeper work, such as connecting deeply with themselves and each other, experiencing healing, and very real communication,” Anahid Lisa Derbabian, a licensed professional counselor, told INSIDER in a previous interview.
If you truly want your relationship to persevere despite cheating and are willing to put in the work, you can get through it, Derbabian explained. It starts with both partners communicating their thoughts, feelings, and reasoning as to why the cheating occurred, then defining what a healthy relationship looks like and working towards that goal, Derbabian said.
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