Published on August 4, 2023

What Causes Infidelity?

by Psych Times Staff

Infidelity is surprisingly common in our culture, despite being viewed as a dealbreaker for many. If you have cheated, or been cheated on: you might be wondering–why did it happen?

The betrayal of trust can destroy relationships; infidelity is one of the main reasons family law attorneys see clients divorce. By exploring the causes of infidelity, we can shine a light on how couples can work together and build meaningful relationships.

What Are the Main Causes of Infidelity?

A study by General Social Survey showed 20% of men and 13% of women reported cheating on their spouse during their marriage. So, one might wonder what underlying factors are responsible for such a high rate of infidelity.

Lack of communication and emotional disconnect between partners is one of the main culprits of infidelity. When couples cannot communicate their needs openly, emotional distance develops, making individuals more likely to seek fulfillment outside their relationship. Open and honest communication can help couples significantly reduce the risk of infidelity.

When issues and resentments go unaddressed, this can drive people apart and cause a rift in the relationship. Unmet conflicts can cause people to find comfort in others, weakening the bond between the couple. It’s essential for those in a committed relationship to address and resolve conflicts in a timely and productive way.

The other main cause of infidelity lies in the access to external temptations and opportunities. New and exciting experiences can be alluring, making someone more vulnerable to being disloyal to their partner.

Relationship dissatisfaction is a significant risk factor for infidelity. Individuals feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled in their relationship are more inclined to seek what they believe is missing elsewhere. When open communication isn’t enough to prevent feelings of dissatisfaction, hiring a couples therapist can be beneficial.

What Psychological Factors are Involved in Infidelity?

Various psychological factors can contribute to infidelity in relationships. Low self-esteem and the need for validation from others can push people in a relationship to seek outside affection. Building self-love and self-worth within oneself can help counteract this. Infidelity may also serve as a coping mechanism, providing an escape from personal or relationship problems.

How has Technology and Social Media Affected Infidelity?

Technology has introduced new avenues for infidelity. The accessibility of social media platforms and online communication has made it easier than ever for individuals in relationships to connect with other people. Establishing clear guidelines and boundaries for what constitutes cheating in online interactions can help protect each other from these modern temptations.

While you cannot control the actions of your partner, you can work together to build trust and vulnerability within your relationship by practicing communication and identifying when it is time to seek professional help. 

If your partner is unfaithful, it is up to you to decide whether to work things out or cut ties. Hopefully, by having more of an understanding of the causes of infidelity, you have a better sense of how to have fulfilling relationships and recognize the warnings of infidelity early on.

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