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Why do people cheat?

There is no definitive single answer

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 22 October 2015 13:45 BST
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(Caiaimage/REX)

In October 2015, a study debunked theories that Facebook is the biggest threat to your relationship because it encourages people to cheat.

Research published in Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking suggested that social media sites play less of a role in the desire for “sexual alternatives” than your own imagination, with the authors finding that an office crush was more of a threat to a committed partner.

There is no definitive single answer as to why people cheat. Threads on Whisper, a site designed for people to express themselves anonymously online, contain hundreds of posts by users who want to admit to affairs.

In one case, 21 posts came up with a multitude of reasons for why people felt they needed to seek sexual encounters outside of their committed relationship.

Excuses range from a person wanting to explore their sexuality to another who felt as though their partner was not paying enough attention to them.

Researchers estimate that between 20 to 25 per cent of married men and between 10 and 15 per cent of married women have engaged in an extramarital relationship.

One of the most recent studies into affairs, published in July this year, suggested that the likelihood of an affair rises if one partner is financially dependent on the other.

Ashley Madison: What we know so far

Psychologist Philippa Perry wrote in the Guardian after the study was published that an affair is often an enactment of "some deep, pushed away resentment".

"There are some people who seem to always need to have a lover as well as a partner because they dare not rely on just one person in case that person abandons them," she wrote.

"This situation may be heightened if they are financially reliant on their partner."

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