It's hard actually pinpoint what causes a person to cheat. You can look into someone's past, their career choice, or even the length of their ring finger to clue you in. But the reality is, it's pretty impossible to decipher who's going to be cheater and who's going to remain faithul. Because according to experts, anyone is capable of cheating.
"The point of cheating is to satisfy some urge or need not being fulfilled in the relationship," Todd and Diana Mitchem, Relationship Coaching Experts, tell Bustle.
According to them, some people in committed relationships are often tempted to use cheating as a means to escape. The Mitchems say that cheating may feel counterintuitive to them because it comes with guilt, fear, and the possible unraveling of the relationship. In other words, sometimes even just thinking about cheating on your partner will have a way of creating distance between the two of you as if you had cheated. So while it is less likely for a typically loyal person to cheat, it can still happen or just create distance.
There are so many reasons behind why someone chooses to be unfaithful. For instance, communication breakdown, not spending a lot of time together, and boredom are just a few of the most common ones. But it's important to remember that cheating, if it does happen, is not your fault, nor is it something you can predict before it happens. If you are concerned about infidelity though, here are a few red flags to look out for, according to experts.
They're Hitting A Birthday Milestone
"When someone hits a milestone birthday ... they are more likely to cheat on the person they’re faithful to," relationship expert, Holly Zink, tells Bustle. A 2014 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people were more likely to cheat in the years before a new decade (i.e. 29, 39, 49, and so on). Apparently these transition years make people question their lives and what's going to happen in the next decade.
To help you and your partner be faithful to one another, Zink says it's important to just be committed to the relationship. "Communicate, make time for one another, and don’t let anything important like an anniversary slip through the cracks," she says.
They're Not Making As Much Money As Their Partner
"Money permeates so many aspects of a relationship and it is the number one reason that I see for the breakdown of relationships," Christina Vinters, Chartered Mediator and founder of Modern Separations, tells Bustle. A 2015 American Sociological Association study found that husbands and wives are more likely to cheat when their spouses are making more money. Although having open communication with your partner about your financial situation is super important, it's equally important to have a partner who supports you in all that you do. If your partner is going through a rough time, you should also be encouraging and give them space to figure it out if they need it. Unfortunately your partner may cheat regardless of what you do. As long as you've stayed encouraging and supportive, you've done your part.
They Want To Be A Better Partner
A study conducted by sociologist, Alicia Walker found that women might cheat on their partners in order to become better partners. Cheating had nothing to do with a lack of love. In fact, most of the women surveyed really did love their spouse. The motivating factor here was sex. What's interesting is, the women who did cheat said that "outsourcing sex" actually made them better partners because they didn't resent their spouse for not putting effort into their sex life. That's what made them continue on with their affair.
Their Partner Constantly Questions Their Fidelity
Trust if important to have if you want your relationship to work. If you've been cheated on in the past, it's not uncommon to worry about infidelity in your current relationship. But as spiritual counselor and relationship expert, Davida Rappaport tells Bustle, that can actually backfire. "If you start questioning them about whether or not they are cheating, confronting someone with no proof will make them uncomfortable and put them on the defensive," she says. "Once you start doing that, your partner may decide to cheat after all, simply because you are treating them as if they were cheating." Being honest with your partner about your trust issues and working through them together can prevent this from becoming a major problem.
They've Lost Themselves In The Relationship
It's so easy to get wrapped up in being in a relationship that you somehow lose your sense of self along the way. When someone feels like they don't know who they are anymore because they've been so devoted to their partner and their needs, cheating can be the way they look to escape. As Dr. Michael Reitano, physician in residence at sexual health startup Roman, tells Bustle, "Relationships last because each person sees in themselves the ability to be their best on their own and then come together as a team." So when you're in a relationship, don't be afraid to give your partner space. "It takes trust and nothing bonds people like trust does," Dr. Reitano says.
The Right Circumstances
"I think that when you get down to it, both [partners] are equally liable to cheat, given the proper set of circumstances," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. You can be the most "perfect" partner you can be and your partner might still cheat. But it's one thing to fantasize about cheating, and it's another to actually do it. "A typically loyal partner would probably have to undergo some intense experiences in order to physically cheat on their [partner]," he says. "If your partner makes a conscious decision to cheat, at that point it doesn’t matter anymore. The circumstances will line up with whatever the cheater’s agenda is."
If your partner does cheat on you, it's up to you to decide what comes next. Always remember that being cheated on is never your fault. As you can see, anyone is capable of cheating. But it's up to you to decide whether or not the relationship is worth your time.