Sex, Love, Revenge: What Are The Cheating Signs?

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Sex, Love, Revenge: What Are The Cheating Signs?

Both Men and Women Will Cheat

Cheating is a word that is often associated with men only.

When a magazine advertises an article about a cheating spouse, the expectation is usually that the guilty party is male. However, recent studies on these cheating signs have shown that women are actually just as likely to cheat on their partners.

Statistics vary widely about the number of couples in which one or both of the partners have cheated, but many put the figure at between 10 and 13%. What is surprising from these studies [1] is that the motivation behind the cheating doesn’t vary that much between men and women.

the cheating signs why people cheat on their partners

Let’s look at the common signs

It seems that when it comes to cheating, there are a bunch of common factors that lead to the infidelity.


1. Sex

The need for sex was cited as the top reason for cheating.

It is not necessarily the case that there is no sexual contact in the primary relationship, but that one party felt that they deserved more. One night stands and short-term affairs are most common in situations where someone’s motivation is sexual.

Once the temporary sexual need is fulfilled, the affair ends.

Multiple affairs are common in those who are not sexually satisfied by their spouse.


2. Emotional Needs

A functioning marriage or relationship should balance a couple’s physical and emotional needs.

However, a lack of emotional support is a major contributor to infidelity.

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Women often cite this as their motivation to look elsewhere.

Whether they feel side-lined by their partner’s work or just feel that they have grown apart over the years, when a couple no longer feel emotionally connected, cracks soon begin to show.

Often affairs that begin out of emotional needs begin as friendships and develop over time, rather than being spur of the moment flings.

It is not just women who feel unsupported.

Men will look to another if they feel like they are not receiving enough praise for the work that they do or are not respected enough.


3. Love

Cheating on a partner for love is actually not very common.

Obviously some affairs will lead to love, but the need for love is rarely a motivating factor. Having said that, when the love has died in a marriage, infidelity is more likely to occur.


66% of women reported that they decided to cheat because they were unhappy in their marriage.

Women are more likely than men to use an affair as a crutch in order to end a marriage. They may be thinking about jumping ship but are too scared to go it completely alone.

By being involved with another person when they end their marriage, they will bridge the gap and not feel completely alone.


4. Revenge

If a person finds out about their partner’s infidelity, they are more likely to consider cheating themselves purely out of revenge.

Revenge cheating is more likely to be a one night stand than a long-term affair, although it could give the green light to an affair that has been waiting to happen for a while.


5. Sensation Seeking

Sensation seeking was cited as the reason for cheating in 20% of cases.

There may not necessarily be any fundamental problems with the relationship, however one party becomes bored or simply curious about different sexual experiences.

This is quite often the case in long-term relationships, or where the individuals did not have any other sexual experiences before the marriage. Intrigue may lead to someone taking the chance when the opportunity arises.

This is usually the case in the “it just happened” affairs.


So What Can You Do Next?

Although infidelity is common, it does not always signal the end of a relationship.

Affairs can result from a marriage already being broken, and of course an affair can cause a relationship to break.

People who have been cheated on describe the experience of discovering the affair as “shattering” and “heart breaking,” whereas those who cheat often describe the aftermath as “guilt ridden” and “stressful.”

A realisation of the pain that has been caused does not inevitably lead to separation.

Often an affair can lead the couple to realise the problems in their relationship, and set them on the course to repairing it. If the couple decide to work on their relationship, identifying the causative factors is essential to working through the problems.

Sometimes it can be difficult for the involved parties to do this, and this is when seeking an external third party is beneficial. Marriage counsellors and therapists can offer practical advice to couples as well as giving them a neutral ground to express their feelings.

If the relationship does end, feelings of rejection, loss and loneliness are common and counselling can help people to come to terms with these emotions.


Speak Your Mind, With Your Opinion

Nice to see you made it to the end of the post. Here’s what you can do next:

  • Given these ‘cheating signs’ facts, would you be willing to forgive?
  • What’s one area you think you need to work on, better?
  • Click one of the Share buttons – your friends can then enjoy this article too.

And thanks for reading too – Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

[1] Omarzu, J., Miller, A. N., Schultz, C., & Timmerman, A. (2012). Motivations and emotional consequences related to engaging in extramarital relationships. International Journal Of Sexual Health, 24(2), 154-162. doi:10.1080/19317611.2012.662207

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Avatar of Jonathan

Jonathan Lenbuck is a primary contributor to the Associated Marriage & Relationship Counsellor website, a leading network of Sydney relationship counsellors and therapists. provides a range of information about common issues experienced by couples as well as the benefits of working with a couples therapist to improve your relationship.

Jonathan – who has written posts on GeekandJock.


  1. wrote on March 27th, 2013 at 6:00 am


    Once a cheater always a cheater in my book. I just wish people would just be honest from the beginning of the relationship and tell you that they have cheated in the past, that way you would end the relationship before you had too much invested. Had I known that my long time partner was a cheater 10+ years ago, I would have ended it in the beginning instead of finding out that he was prone to affairs now after I had invested so much of my life in the relationship and that he had such a disregard for me that he would have an affair and then continue to lie about it. The relationship is now over and next time I will ask all of the right questions and hopefully find someone that is more honest and loyal.

    • Avatar of Martin
      wrote on March 27th, 2013 at 12:48 pm


      So sorry to hear that, D.
      Interestingly though, there are quite a lot of counsellors that suggest cheating isn’t a habit as a lot of us suggest it is.
      Can people really change their behaviour patterns when they fundementally know they have done wrong and really want to change themselves?
      I know after my divorce I change quite a few ‘wrong’ behaviours about myself that are still change to this day – can committment do this within a person, you think?
      Martin recently posted..Exposing The Four Biggest Relationship SecretsMy Profile

    • wrote on March 28th, 2013 at 10:59 am


      People who cheat on their partners don’t just have a problem with honesty, they also have a problem with intimacy. Serial cheaters most likely fear intimacy because they don’t really understand what it is or how it can be achieved. Because intimacy requires honesty, a person who knows true intimacy would be unable to sustain a secret affair. Serial cheaters need to understand their fear of intimacy and learn to trust their connections.

      • Avatar of Martin
        wrote on March 30th, 2013 at 12:47 am


        Makes sense, Jonathon, thank you.
        Poses an interesting question now on what constitutes a serial cheater. Is it a one time kiss or a constant sexual sneak? Is a one time kiss actually cheating or an honest mistake? At what level might the fear of intimacy come into play?
        Martin recently posted..Relationship Boundaries – Are You Screwing This Up Too?My Profile

  2. wrote on March 25th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Abdullah Khan

    Cheating their partners has become common now a days. If get caught, they are changing their partners like changing clothes :/

    • Avatar of Martin
      wrote on March 27th, 2013 at 12:38 pm


      Thansk for the visit and comment too, Abdullah.
      Well, I certainly do agree that sexual morals is continuing to decline that probably leads to more cheating and those clandestine ‘quickie’ sexual relationships (if you can call that a relationship).
      Why do YOU suppose that is?
      Martin recently posted..Exposing The Four Biggest Relationship SecretsMy Profile

  3. wrote on March 18th, 2013 at 10:01 pm


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    • wrote on August 24th, 2013 at 2:25 am


      Cheating for ‘revenge’ is not really the best way to go (even though it is quite the usual course). Two wrongs will never make things right. The couple should rather sit down to iron things out. If the unfaithful spouse can be forgiven, fine; but if not, they have to mutually decide on whether the relationship can continue or not.

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