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The Phenomenon of Cheating According to Psychology: How Infidelity Can Occur

The Phenomenon of Cheating According to Psychology: How Infidelity Can Occur
The Phenomenon of Cheating According to Psychology: How Infidelity Can Occur

The Phenomenon of Cheating According to Psychology: How Infidelity Can Occur - Not long ago, the topic of infidelity of several public figures became a trending topic that was widely discussed by net citizens on social media. Net residents are also sometimes upset with the perpetrators of infidelity. Many blaspheme the perpetrators even though they don't know how the real problems are in their relationship. In fact, the behavior of cheating itself according to psychology can be motivated by various motives of the perpetrator of infidelity.


What is Cheating?

According to Hertlein, Wetchler, and Piercy (2005), cheating is the whole behavior that violates the contract that is held between spouses. Not only that, infidelity also concerns sexual relations with other people, cybersex behavior, viewing pornography, physical intimacy such as kissing and holding hands, as well as emotional intimacy with other people besides the couple.

Cheating is actually a common problem we encounter in relationships today. Not only in public figures but maybe we have encountered this behavior around us. Or maybe you've experienced it yourself? It's ironic, yes, although everyone agrees that cheating is a wrong thing, but in fact many people do it.

Researchers in the field of love and sexual psychology have studied a lot about this phenomana and what are the things that can be behind a person to cheat. So that we can better understand how someone can cheat, let's look at the information obtained from the following journals!


What Are The Types of Cheating?

Cheating itself turns out to have 3 types! According to Hertlein, Wetchler, and Piercy (2005) infidelity consists of infidelity sexually, infidelity emotionally, and a combination of sexual and emotional.

Sexual infidelity is indicated by the presence of sexual relations with other people. While emotional infidelity is characterized by emotional closeness with the cheating partner which can include behaviors of sharing, understanding, friendship, self-esteem like a partner. Emotional infidelity is carried out in the absence of sexual intercourse behavior between cheating partners.

There is smoke means that there is a fire, there will be no consequences if there is no cause. All forms of cheating behavior both emotional and sexual are motivated by certain factors that drive a person to have an affair. So what are the things that drive this behavior?


Why Does Someone Cheat?

According to psychological studies, most people have an affair due to some aspect in their relationship with the main partner not meeting expectations or in other words feeling dissatisfied (Selterman, Garcia, & Tsapelas, 2019). It is this non-fulfillment of expectations that then encourages the behavior of a person to seek satisfaction both physically and mentally outside the main partner.

In addition, according to the psychological theory of infidelity named deficit model of infidelity (Thompson, 1983), the main factors that drive a person to have an affair are low satisfaction in relationships, the onset of conflicts, and the lack of communication. 

Weak commitment to maintain relationships with each other is also one of the factors that encourages a person to establish another relationship outside the relationship with the main partner (Selterman, Garcia, & Tsapelas, 2020). However, from some of these opinions, the factor that can generally encourage a person to have an affair is dissatisfaction in the relationship (example: feeling that the partner tends to be aromantic).

Then, when compared between men and women. It turns out that men are more likely to engage in infidelity due to sexual appetite, the desire for variation in sex, and situational factors. Meanwhile, women more often engage in infidelity when they feel ignored by their partner and feel less affectionate (Selterman, Garcia, & Tsapelas, 2019).


What Impact Does Cheating Have On Relationships?

Infidelity can have an impact on the estrangement of the relationship with the couple. According to Selterman, Garcia, and Tsapelas (2020), individuals who divorce as a result of infidelity have a low level of attachment with their partner or can be said to experience estrangement in the relationship. In addition to estrangement in relationships, infidelity also has an impact on the emergence of cases of domestic violence that can lead to endangering the lives of one or even both partners.

The problems caused by cheating behavior are also a lot of background to the high divorce rate (Amato & Previti, 2003). Indeed, divorce is not the only way to solve the problem of infidelity in the household. If the cheating spouse commits not to do it again and the partner has also given an apology, then returning to refer and repairing the relationship may be the right path to take.


How to Prevent Cheating Behavior?

For those of you who are married or have a partner, surely you don't want your partner to have an affair? Because being betrayed must be very painful and from the previous explanation the affair also has a bad effect on the sustainability of the relationship.

Well, there are actually several ways to prevent cheating behavior from happening in relationships. According to research conducted by Fye and Mims (2018), there are several ways that can prevent infidelity in relationships, namely as follows:


1. Build a secure attachment or emotional bond

When the individual has an emotional bond with his partner, he will feel that his emotional needs have been met and have a high sense of community with his partner so that he does not want to look for another one. Emotional bonds can be built by doing activities together, being open, giving positive affirmations, and showing empathy for the couple.


2. Sex in a marital relationship

The fulfillment of sexual needs in a marriage also helps prevent cheating behavior. What can be achieved is to make sexual life more attractive and there is an emotional bond behind it.


3. Coping strategies in dealing with problems

Coping strategies are a way to overcome problems both from individuals and between partners. Individual coping can be done for example by staying away from inner wounds, balancing roles, doing self-care and self-control, and having the desire to change for the better. Meanwhile, coping as a couple can be done by providing support to each other's partners, paying attention to relationships, and practicing flexibility and adaptability in relationships.

By applying these three positive behaviors, you can build your relationship in a more positive and harmonious direction. The creation of a harmonious pattern of interaction will encourage each other to maintain the commitments that have been made because each other has valued the existence of their partner.


Well, that was the discussion about the phenomenon of cheating according to psychology. By better understanding why a behavior can occur, when faced with a similar situation, we are expected to be able to take the right attitude and steps to respond to it.

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