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Love and Relationships

Married and Cheating | 9 Reasons Your Person Might Be Looking Outside the Relationship

You never think it will happen to you, but studies show the majority of us has been attracted to someone else while while in a long-term serious relationship. These are the reasons why we keep looking.


Kenneth Erickson


Feb 25, 2023

9 Reasons Married People Might Look to Hookup Outside of Their Marriage

Ever wonder what things would be like with someone other than your spouse? Do you worry that your spouse maybe asking themselves that same question?

It's estimated that infidelity occurs in approximately 15-20% of all marriage, with men initiating at a slightly higher rate than women. When you combine this with a 2014 statistic published in the Journal of Sex Research, which indicated that 70% of participants reported feeling attracted to someone other than their partner while in along-term relationship.

Much of this information makes it more and more clear why, when people begin to feel unfulfilled in their current relationship, they may look outside the marriage to have certain needs met.

9 Reasons Married People Might Cheat

Married people may seek hookups outside their marriage for a variety of reasons. It's important to note that the reasons can greatly vary depending on the individual's unique circumstances, personal motivations, and the dynamics within their marriage. However, it is generally agreed upon that infidelity can harm the trust and emotional bond in a relationship.

These are some common reasons why some people may choose to seek relationships outside their marriage:

  1. Dissatisfaction in the Marriage: Some people may feel unhappy, unappreciated, or neglected in their current relationship. They may seek validation, excitement, or emotional support elsewhere when they feel it's lacking in their marriage.
  2. Lack of Intimacy: Physical or emotional intimacy is a crucial part of most romantic relationships. If a person feels that these needs are not being met within their marriage, they may seek to satisfy them outside of it.
  3. Boredom: Some individuals may crave novelty and excitement, feeling that their marriage has become monotonous or predictable. An affair may provide a temporary escape from this routine.
  4. Low Self-esteem: Some people may seek validation from others to boost their self-esteem. If they are not receiving the validation they seek from their partner, they may look for it elsewhere.
  5. Personal Gratification: Some individuals may seek multiple partners due to personal preferences or desires, regardless of their marital status. They may value the excitement and novelty of new relationships and disregard the potential consequences.
  6. Lack of Communication: Poor communication in a relationship can lead to misunderstandings, feelings of neglect, and unmet needs. These issues could drive someone to look for emotional or physical satisfaction outside the relationship.
  7. Rebellion or Revenge: Some people may engage in affairs as a form of rebellion against their partner or the institution of marriage itself. Alternatively, they might be seeking revenge for perceived wrongs, including infidelity by their partner.
  8. Unresolved Personal Issues: Personal issues such as past trauma, addiction, or mental health problems can sometimes contribute to infidelity. People dealing with these issues may not necessarily be dissatisfied with their marriage but might make poor decisions due to these unresolved issues.
  9. Lack of Compatibility: Sometimes, people may find that they are fundamentally incompatible with their spouse over time. Differences in interests, values, personality, or life goals can lead to discontent in a relationship.

Remember that this list is not exhaustive or definitive, and it doesn't justify or normalize infidelity. Marital challenges are better addressed through open communication, counseling, or professional help, rather than seeking relationships outside the marriage. Infidelity often results in emotional harm and breach of trust that can be hard to mend.

Also see: The 7 Stages of a Breakup | And How To Recover Quickly

Men vs Women and Reasons for Cheating

Some studies have sought to understand the common reasons behind infidelity. For instance, a study published in the "Journal of Sex Research" in 2017 identified several recurring motivations for infidelity, including dissatisfaction (both emotional and sexual), neglect, anger, lack of love, and the desire for variety or exciting sex. These were identified as common reasons across multiple studies.

Another paper titled "Why do people cheat? A study on infidelity" published in the "Journal of Evolutionary Psychology" in 2014 found that the main reasons for infidelity were a lack of love for the primary partner, desire for sexual variety, being in a situation where an opportunity presented itself, and being dissatisfied with the relationship. However, the reasons varied somewhat between genders; men were more likely to cheat due to a desire for sexual variety, while women were more likely to cheat because they felt neglected or for emotional dissatisfaction in their relationship.

These studies provide some insight into common motivations, but the specific reasons can vary greatly between individuals and contexts. Furthermore, newer studies may provide updated or more nuanced information as our understanding of infidelity continues to evolve.


Feelings of neglect in a relationship can significantly contribute to a person's decision to cheat, and studies suggest that this might be particularly relevant for women. It's important to clarify that feelings of neglect can encompass emotional, physical, and relational aspects. Here's a deeper look at each of these aspects:

  1. Emotional Neglect: This occurs when a partner seems unresponsive, uninterested, or dismissive towards the other's emotional needs. A person might feel emotionally neglected if their partner doesn't provide comfort, understanding, or emotional support when needed. This lack of emotional intimacy and connection can lead to feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction, which might push someone to seek emotional fulfillment elsewhere.
  2. Physical Neglect: This can take the form of insufficient affection or sexual intimacy. If a woman feels her physical needs are not being met within her relationship, she might be tempted to seek physical intimacy elsewhere.
  3. Relational Neglect: This refers to the absence of quality time, shared experiences, and mutual engagement in a relationship. If a woman feels that her partner is not investing enough time or effort into the relationship, she may feel neglected. She might seek the attention, appreciation, and engagement she's missing in her primary relationship through an affair.

Each of these aspects of neglect can contribute to dissatisfaction within a relationship. If a woman feels neglected, she might perceive an affair as a way to obtain the emotional, physical, or relational fulfillment that she feels is missing in her primary relationship.

It's important to note that the factors mentioned above are based on generalizations from research, and individual motivations can vary significantly. They also don't excuse infidelity but rather provide some context for understanding why it might occur. Effective communication, relationship counseling, and mutual effort are usually the best ways to address feelings of neglect within a relationship.


A desire for sexual variety is often cited as a common reason for infidelity among men in various studies. This desire can be influenced by several factors:

  1. Novelty and Excitement: Over time, a long-term relationship might lose its initial spark as routine and predictability set in. Some men may crave new experiences and the excitement that comes with them. This might involve new sexual encounters, different partners, or exploring different sexual preferences.
  2. Biology and Evolutionary Psychology: Some theories suggest that men's desire for sexual variety might be rooted in evolutionary biology. From an evolutionary standpoint, it could be argued that men might be more predisposed to desire multiple sexual partners as a way to ensure the propagation of their genes. However, this perspective is widely debated, and it certainly doesn't excuse infidelity in the context of monogamous relationships.
  3. Validation and Self-Esteem: Some men might associate sexual conquests with personal validation, self-esteem, or social status. Having multiple partners could be seen as a way to bolster their self-worth or masculinity.
  4. Avoidance of Emotional Intimacy: In some cases, seeking sexual variety can be a way for men to avoid emotional intimacy or vulnerability in their primary relationship. By focusing on the physical aspect of relationships, they may be able to distance themselves from emotional commitments or confrontations.
  5. Sexual Dissatisfaction: If a man is not sexually satisfied in his current relationship due to mismatched libidos, different sexual preferences, or other issues, he might seek satisfaction elsewhere.

It's essential to note that these factors do not justify or excuse infidelity.

They're intended to provide some context for understanding why some men might be unfaithful.

Clear communication, relationship counseling, and mutual understanding are typically the best ways to address these issues within a relationship.

In terms of the motivation for infidelity being more physical or emotional, research tends to suggest that the reasons can often differ between genders, but these are general trends and there are always exceptions.

Improving Relationships to Prevent Cheating

Preventing infidelity in a relationship involves mutual effort, understanding, and open communication. While it's important to remember that you can't control your partner's actions, you can help foster a relationship that discourages infidelity. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Open Communication: Make sure you both feel comfortable discussing your feelings, expectations, and concerns. If there's an issue or dissatisfaction in the relationship, it should be addressed openly and honestly.
  2. Mutual Respect: Respect each other's feelings, desires, and needs. Disregard or disrespect can lead to dissatisfaction, which could, in turn, lead to infidelity.
  3. Satisfying Intimacy: Maintain a satisfying sexual relationship. Sexual dissatisfaction can sometimes contribute to the temptation to cheat. If there are issues, consider seeking help from a therapist or counselor specializing in sexual health.
  4. Emotional Connection: Keep the emotional bond strong. Spend quality time together, show appreciation for each other, and support each other in times of stress. Emotional dissatisfaction or feeling neglected can sometimes lead to infidelity.
  5. Shared Goals and Values: Understand each other's goals and values. If both partners are on the same page and working towards shared objectives, it helps strengthen the bond and commitment.
  6. Trust: Build and maintain trust in your relationship. Once broken, trust can be hard to rebuild, and it's a crucial aspect of preventing infidelity.
  7. Addressing Issues Promptly: If issues or disagreements arise, try to address them promptly rather than letting them linger and potentially escalate.

Every person and relationship is unique. What works for one couple might not work for another.

It's crucial to understand each other's needs and expectations and work together to meet them. If you're concerned about the potential for infidelity in your relationship, it might be helpful to seek advice from a professional, such as a relationship counselor.


Every person and relationship is unique. What works for one couple might not work for another. It's crucial to understand your wife's unique needs and expectations and work together to meet them. If you're concerned about potential infidelity in your relationship, it might be helpful to seek advice from a professional, such as a relationship counselor.

If someone chooses to be unfaithful, it's their decision, and it often reflects more about their personal issues or the state of the relationship rather than about you personally. While it's important to put effort into maintaining a healthy relationship, you cannot be solely responsible for preventing your partner from cheating.

Related Articles:

Self Care After a Breakup -  Top 15 Tips For a Breakup Recovery

13 Signs Your Relationship is in Trouble

The 23 Best Breakup Support Books and Why

Disclosure: This article was not written by a medical professional, unless specifically stated otherwise. Advice or support content is not intended to be either professional medical or mental health advice or recommendations. All support and advice is from direct and/or anecdotal contributor/author experiences and topic research. If you are experiencing a physical or mental health emergency or mental or physical abuse, please seek professional support. Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us, at no cost to you when you decide to purchase a reviewed product.



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