According to new research on the motivations behind cheating, published in the Journal of Sex Research, there’s a surprising reason why people cheat, and it sheds light on why people sometimes sleep around even though their relationship is going well and they have absolutely no reason to do so.
Apparently, some cheaters are just so deeply insecure that they require outside validation and reassurance, namely in the form of emotionally removing themselves from their primary relationship and hoeing around with other people to get their jollies. You know, because appeasing the reptilian brain and self-preservation is more important than their partner’s feelings.
For the study, researchers had 495 people participate in an online questionnaire, and had them answer questions about their past relationships, and whether or not they cheated, and for what reasons.
The survey found that the top reasons for infidelity were fairly unsurprising, and were basically what we already knew from previous research: People cheat when they’re not satisfied with their relationship, feel neglected, are angry with their partner, or they’re straight up attracted to someone else and can’t keep it in their pants any longer.
In addition to that, though, the questionnaire also uncovered a few other popular motives, including:
- “I had ‘fallen out of love with’ my partner.”
- “I was not very committed.”
- “I wanted to enhance my popularity.”
- “I wanted a greater variety of sexual partners.”
- “I was drunk and not thinking clearly.”
At first glance, it may feel as though these reasons are all common knowledge and not anything new and notable – especially the one about being drunk – but it’s actually super important, because it means cheating doesn’t just happen when the cheater is unsatisfied with the relationship or feels unhappy with their partner, but also when the cheater has some personal internal problems with trust and validation.
To elaborate, people who have attachment insecurity – which comes from very early childhood – are insecure in themselves, and consequently in relationships. Some people who have attachment insecurity cope with their shaky feelings by detaching themselves from demanding relationships and hop from one person to the other, hence the “I was not very committed” clause from the questionnaire.
Others who have attachment insecurity may simply have certain personality traits that make them more likely to cheat, like low self-esteem and distrust, and need to fool around with a number of people to give their ego the boost it needs.
“It would be a mistake to conclude that all affairs (and infidelity-related behaviors) similarly result from deficits in the primary relationship,” the researchers wrote.
Interestingly, a previous study conducted by researchers from Florida State Universitysupports these findings, because it revealed that there’s a direct link between insecure attachment styles and infidelity. So, it must be legit.
With that said, if you’ve ever been cheated on for no good reason, this might be why. The more you know!