We were curious about the reasons people serial cheat, so we posed the question to the BuzzFeed Community and checked out how folks on Reddit answered.
Here's what 15 people had to say:
1."I'm 25 and I cheated between ages 14–19. It stopped when I met my first-ever girlfriend (still together), and looking back, it was because I’m gay. I never was able to connect with men and felt no intellectual connection either, and I perceived it as being 'bored' or just not with the right one when in reality, I didn’t actually like men. I suffered from 'compulsory heterosexuality' and I would cheat for the thrill of someone new and exciting. It hardly last weeks each time. Since meeting my girlfriend, I’ve never had the desire."
2."Low self-esteem and a lack of feelings for your partner is my answer. I dated my high school girlfriend into college and we went to different colleges. I tried to break up with her multiple times but she always manipulated me into staying with her. I would say the last two years of dating her were strictly for convenience over love because either she would threaten self-harm or there was nobody else. We were constantly on/off, and anytime we were 'off,' I would have a bunch of hookups."
"After we broke up life was better but I entered a slutty phase where I'd stick my dick in anything that moved. Then after that phase, dating again, and a failed marriage I realized I had to find that one person, and I'm pretty sure I have. The only reason we're not engaged is I haven't met her family yet." —u/gingerassblaster420
3."My dad was a serial cheater. He slept with squillions of women, pretty much, and has at least two other children with other women (that we know of). And yet my mom never left him; they’re still together now. He only stopped fairly recently because he got prostate cancer and can now no longer use his 'member.' (And don’t think I haven’t seen the hilarious irony here — he’s totally fine now, healthwise)."
"He had a pretty wild upbringing. He grew up in the Soviet Union (as a Ukrainian/Azerbaijani Jew in Moscow), joined a random Christian cult at 18 and was celibate between 18–25. He then fled the USSR and went to America where he went kinda nuts. He’s also a musician who travels most of the year, and has a very fucked up relationship with his abusive mother.
I do wonder why my mom never left him, but I guess she just kinda let him do his thing. She nearly left him when the other kids happened.
But yeah. My dad is not a bad guy, but he’s done some bad things." —Sabrina
4."I asked one guy this and he said he is an arrogant narcissist who does it because he can get away with it. Sort of like a power trip."
5."Because I'm a coward. My girlfriend loves me more than I do her, and she is great. But I also know that leaving her would destroy her. And I'm not sure that's a pain she can handle. But then again, catching me cheat would wreck her all the same. I guess I figure I can hide that. As much as I love her, I just lust after so many other women. Desire is a hard thing to turn down."
6."I cheated on my ex four times in our 10-year relationship. We started dating when I was 18 and he was 26, and there was an uneven balance of power that continued even after I became the breadwinner of the family. My infidelity started around then. He was also mentally and somewhat physically abusive. It doesn’t make it right, but I think in my immaturity I was trying to grasp at a sense of power within myself."
"We ended up getting divorced, and my now partner and I have been together 4 years. No urge to cheat, and a big part of that is that we are actual partners who respect each other and don’t try to control the other person. I wish I had never done what I did, but I definitely learned a lot while I was young and stupid."
7."I guess I am a serial cheater. I'm generally mostly monogamous with an impulsive opportunistic streak. I think it comes from not thinking of sex as all that meaningful. It's fun, gives pleasure, and kills some time. Assuming my primary relationship (or in my current situation, secondary relationship) gives me enough sex, I don't really seek it out. But I would probably still be tempted or likely to cheat if a situation arose where someone attractive offered sex and I didn't have any real reason to say no. I'd describe my case as sensation-/novelty-seeking behavior in psychological terms."
8."I have cheated twice (physically). Different people. It began when I made an account on a site that I needed in order to access info on something, but others can see your profile, on which I'd gone ahead and added a photo, and, well, I'm a pretty young woman. Enter the men (into the inbox)."
"I had been feeling very alone after my trust had been broken in a few different ways in my own relationship, and we had not been having intimacy of any kind, mental, emotional, or sexual. I craved all of those. So, when men started messaging me, I just...messaged back. Didn't stop the conversations. Debated canceling meeting up until the last minute but found myself still choosing to go through with it.
I didn't feel good about doing it, but I did feel better, as in I felt like some of my needs had been met. (I also took it as a sign that I was not in a place for the monogamous relationship I had been in, and should go try something else and spare my partner all that.)"
9."I’m in a long-term relationship and I love my partner, but I can’t imagine only having sex with this one person for the rest of my life. My partner is content, but I want more variety, and when I’ve been honest about this it wasn’t well-received. So it’s easier to cheat and not disclose (because the open-relationship thing didn’t exactly work for us). I’ve cheated almost the entire 12 years we’ve been together — with an ex, one-time hookups, and a few extended affairs."
"It doesn’t change how I feel about my partner; sometimes it makes me love and appreciate them more. They have had a few flings as well, which I supported, but it’s much easier for me and for the relationship if I keep my dalliances to myself." —Anonymous
10."I cheat because my husband no longer shows me any form of affection. It sent me into a deep deep depression and several suicide attempts before I finally got help. I can't leave him due to reasons and I still care for him, but I don't love him and I need to get affection from someplace."
11."The reason I cheat is because I love sex, I have a very high libido for a woman — and I have always had multiple partners. I love love love my boyfriend so much — and his libido is high too thank goodness (he's 57, I'm 43) but even then, there is just something to be said for variety. Each of my partners brings a different sexpertise of their own to my bed and I just plain enjoy my multiple O's with multiple partners."
"I have had a talk with him about being open — he just doesn't know that I already am. Sometimes I feel guilty. I am not going to change my behavior though." —Anonymous
12."I’m a (female) cheater. Am I a bad person? Yeah, probably. I don’t enjoy the act of cheating, but it’s come to a point where I feel like I have no choice. Cheating isn’t ideal for me, and it never has been. Between multiple children and financial reasons, leaving isn’t an option for a good while."
"I hope to come out of this experience a better person. That doesn’t make sense to most people, but everyone here will get it. I strongly feel like monogamy isn’t for me. I should have listened to my intuition when I was younger, but I didn’t. I’m paying for it now." —Anonymous
13."I have been married for over 15 years and for the most part we have a good life. We had problems at one point and almost divorced. I started dating (i.e. having a lot of hot sex with) other men. My husband and I worked things out and will likely always stay together. But I didn’t want to give up the fun of the extra sex. I almost always have a boyfriend in addition to the occasional hot and dirty hookup. It feels good for me, emotionally and physically. I am sure that people will say that I am addicted to sex and somehow broken, maybe I am addicted, but I don’t think I am broken and I know that I don’t want to give it up."
14."That rush you get when you first meet someone and that first time making out. It's addictive."
15."'When you don’t get something you need at home (even after talking about it), you go outside to look for it'. I see it as pleasing. Example: I have cheated on my wife, why? Because she doesn’t have the same libido as me, and even after talking about it she doesn’t want to even try it, so I’ll just go and look for someone to fulfill those needs. It doesn’t have to be about sex most of the times, some people go outside looking for someone who would listen to them, or maybe go into adventures, it depends on the person."
If any other serial cheaters out there want to share their motives, sound off in the comments!
Dial 988 in the US to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386.