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It's easy to assume that the reasons people cheat are entirely based on sex, and while that's definitely part of it, it's not exactly the whole story! We're not suggesting that you sympathize with cheaters, but, at the very least, it's important to understand that emotions are complex — especially in long-term relationships and marriages. Cheaters aren't always having affairs because they're, well, horny! Sometimes they're looking for something more emotional that they're not getting from their current monogamous relationship.
Ashley Madison, the world’s leading married dating website, used their database to find out why their members choose to step outside of their marriages. The results were pretty surprising and force us to think more deeply about various aspects of cheating. The Director of Communications for Ashley Madison explains, “The reasons why people cheat are very telling of the types of relationships that people find themselves in. When sex and intimacy fade, often times monogamy becomes a struggle for our members but they don’t want to leave their partner altogether. Infidelity is an avenue for them to have certain needs met and stay happy in their primary relationship.”
According to the survey, sex is the number one reason why people cheat, coming in at 61%. While that isn't entirely surprising, the following reasons are. Some people want to expand the physical elements like exploring new desires (45%), while others are looking for emotional reassurance like affection (44%), friendship (42%) and the feeling of butterflies again (30%). Beyond the reasons why people cheat, Ashley Madison also asked members why they enjoy having affairs. The percentages, which can be seen in the infographic below, continue to make the whole cheating thing way more complicated than we previously thought!
As you can see, 76% of respondents said they like affairs because their sexual needs are being met, but almost as much as that, it makes them feel alive, desirable, emotionally fulfilled, and confident. Those aspects are far more psychological than physical. Proving that, unfortunately, when it comes to cheating, an affair can't always be stopped simply from bettering your sex life. If you've been cheated on, before walking away from the relationship, speak openly and honestly with your partner — it could end up being helpful in the long run.
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