Cheating in Relationships
Relationship cheating is a very common occurrence. If you haven’t experienced it yet, there’s a good chance you eventually will. In this article we’ll explore how often cheating occurs, how to define cheating, signs of cheating, and how to deal with it.
Although I personally prefer non-monogamy, I opted to write this article using a monogamous perspective since that seems to be the more popular relationship paradigm. Given the frequency of cheating in monogamous relationships, it would appear that true monogamy isn’t as common as people would have each other believe.
Frequency of Cheating
I found it difficult to track down good cheating statistics. This seems to be partly because people have a hard time being completely honest, even when surveyed in ways that safeguard their anonymity. There’s still some shame and guilt associated with admitting the truth, even in private. So instead of sharing a bunch of detailed stats that might be wrong, I’ll simply share the big picture elements.
Slightly more than half of all married people will cheat on their spouses at some point in their lives. Men apparently cheat more often than women, but the gap isn’t huge.
Most of the time cheating does occur, the other spouse doesn’t know about it, with women being in the dark slightly more often than men.
That’s if you’re married. If you’re in a committed relationship but aren’t married, then I’d imagine that the odds of cheating are even higher. Partly I say that because cheating is more common when you’re younger and becomes less likely as you age.
The big game-changer here is the Internet, which makes even 10-year old stats seem very dated now. Recents surveys suggest that most people have flirted online at one point or another, that when people spend time in chat rooms they’re usually motivated by romantic or sexual interest, and that about a third of adults have had real sex as a result of a connection that began online.
In the USA alone, tens of millions of people cheat on their primary relationship partners. Cheating is very, very common. Most of the time when people cheat, they hide it from their partners, and they usually succeed in doing so, not because they’re so great at keeping secrets but mainly because their partners fail to recognize and acknowledge the telltale signs.
Suffice it to say that cheating is rampant.
Statistically speaking, if you get involved in committed relationships or marriage, the odds are better than 50-50 that you’re eventually going to cheat at some point in your life. And you’ll probably hide it from your primary partner, and you’ll probably get away with it.
Of course you can decline to join this group if you so desire. However, there’s still a good chance you’ll end up in a relationship with someone else who’s a member, and you probably won’t know. Or you’ll know, but you’ll retreat into denial about it.
What exactly constitutes cheating? Not everyone defines cheating the same way. Society may condition us to think of cheating a certain way, but deep down we may not feel the same.
Have a heart to heart talk with your partner, and define what you would consider cheating. Your answers don’t have to be the same.