Let’s Be Honest About Cheating

Why Do Good People Cheat

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

1. It’s A Solution

Often, we struggle with our own personal happiness. You know that old familiar phrase, “it’s not you, it’s me?” That’s more true than you know when it comes to cheating. So many times, when someone turns to cheating, an affair can be a quick fix to personal unhappiness.

Seeking comfort, pleasure, or even control in the arms (and bed) of another person is an easy fix for our personal unhappiness. Sometimes, we stumble into an affair just because the other person was flattering, kind, attractive, just at the right moment, and it felt good.

2. It’s An Escape

Having a fling, not diving into a full-on relationship is a fantastic (although in the end damaging, of course) way to just get out of the mundane for a hot minute. Though it seems totally callous to the person being cheated on, in the moment, sometimes the cheater has difficulty seeing the long-term consequences if it appears to be a brief dalliance.

This kind of cheat is why we so often see the one-night stand differently than the long-term affair. Society sometimes teaches us to be more forgiving, more understanding of the “it didn’t mean anything; it was just a one-time thing” than of the covered-up romance. So good people who have one slip-up get a pass.

3. It’s an Experiment

Lots of couples fall into a rut. She wants more excitement, he’s satisfied with sex twice a week. Or he wants to role play and she doesn’t see the need. If a couple runs into trouble in the communication department, or one develops an interest in revving things up in a way that the other doesn’t understand, one partner may very well be tempted to take it on the road.

Many, many of the sex acts that an otherwise honest partner engages in during an affair are things that they do not do at home. The kink, the daring, the edgy — all of those are tried on for size in the land of the affair, whether a one-time or a long-term. If the otherwise honest person plans only to have a sexual affair, this makes sense. No risk, judgment or freak outs from the sex-only partner, right? And if there are? Well, game over anyway.

4. Things Are Less Demanding

Face it, you don’t really, seriously, have to make your affair partner all that happy. You also don’t have to help pay their bills, get the insurance cards registered, or drop of the dog at day care tomorrow. All of those things are handled by someone else. There is a freedom factor in cheating, because all of the responsibilities lie elsewhere.

There’s a flip side to this coin, of course, in that lots of pressures lie outside of the relationship, and those must be attended to immediately upon leaving the bedroom, hotel, etc., but hey…that’s later. The temptation to enjoy the adrenaline is fun. For now.

5. It’s a Role

Although generally, role play was already mentioned, here’s the thing — when having an affair, role play is baked in. There is always the thrill of whether you’ll be caught, there’s the rush of all of it being illicit, making the arrangements and having a double-life. Whether it is a one-night or long-term, it’s still a thrill.

There are the opportunities for new environments, new occasions, separate spaces, anniversaries, individual dates and outfits. All of that “newness” all around. The ways to be a new person roll in and out again. Reinventing the self is an adventure.

The new role is an adrenaline rush. Just like the sex itself.

We all know that the temptation is intense. Humans were not likely designed to be lifelong mates, but here we are. I’m not advocating for a life of cheating, I’m just explaining the excitement behind it and pointing out the rationale.

At the end of the day, we all know that every instance ends badly. In the end, you do you. But it’s probably best if you don’t “do” more than one person at a time, sis.

Susan is a runner, a mom of 3 grown children, and an avid traveler. She writes about humans, and wrote a book about false accusations of sexual assault.

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