Infidelity Statistics: Demographics, Reasons And More

Cheating on your partner or spouse is an extremely terrible and heartbreaking thing to do. Not only are you destroying your relationship, but you are also emotionally draining them and lowering their self-esteem. Betrayal is a universal emotion.

Who cheats more? In general, various studies have proven that men are more likely to cheat than women. But their reasons differ. Things like sexual behavior and emotional needs come into play.

Check out all the possible reasons for infidelity in relationships backed by statistics! We also talk about divorce rates caused by infidelity, personality-related factors that affect extramarital affairs, and more!

What is Infidelity and is it Human Nature?

Cheating guy holding the other girls hand

Infidelity is simply cheating. It is being disloyal to your partner through a romantic affair, an emotional affair, or sexual affairs with another person. Infidelity may be practiced by both married and unmarried partners as they break their commitment.

The case of cheating is different for every couple. The reason, intention, and frequency vary. For example, not everyone who cheats on their partners is dissatisfied with their current relationship or marriage. Some desire approval, while others simply give in to the opportunity for the thrill of it. Whether it’s an emotional affair or something deeper…either way, cheating is cheating!

Unfortunately, infidelity may also be caused by a significant other’s genuine love and affection for another person. It can mean they love the other person and not you, or they love both of you. It’s true that some human beings never get to experience “one true love” because they don’t believe in it.

Statistics on the Reasons for Cheating Behavior in Relationships

97% of people think that engaging in extramarital affairs is wrong. Some adulterers secretly find excitement in cheating, while others regret it for life. So how come 35% of women and 45% of men still have affairs outside their relationship?

In a study published in the Psychology & Psychological Research International Journal, it is said that the occurrence of infidelity can be predicted by marital satisfaction, patterns of communication, roles, and expectations in the relationship, conflict-resolution styles, and physical and emotional intimacy.

Here are some specific reasons why infidelity occurs in both married and unmarried relationships.

Lack of Commitment

Most of the time, there is no deep, emotional reason why you might have a cheating partner. They may simply not be as committed as their partner.

According to a 2018 study, potentially cheating spouses who are less committed to their relationship has a higher chance of cheating on their partner than those who are devoted.

The Feeling of Being Unwanted

Some people do not feel loved or seen in their primary relationships. Instead of talking about the problem, they would rather go out of their way to meet other people and engage in romantic and sexual affairs. This all increases the probability of cheating. 

Why would they rather cheat than communicate their problems? One partner may live a very busy and successful life without having enough time to cater to the other person’s needs. Some would rather cheat because they feel that they would only be dismissed if they open up about feeling unwanted.

All of this stems from the lack of self-esteem and dignity. Humans innately derive confidence from how appealing they are to other people, most especially the opposite sex. They cheat for an ego boost and a reassurance that they still “have it”.

The Probability of Cheating Due to Sexual Dissatisfaction

Man arguing with his wife in their living room

Men are more likely to cite this reason for cheating. They have sexual affairs with other women, sometimes even other married women, because they are sexually dissatisfied with their current girlfriend or wife. This usually occurs after the woman has just given birth.

Long-Distance Relationships

Living apart for a long time may also be linked with sexual and romantic dissatisfaction. They live apart due to work, school, or other commitments.

Loneliness is usually a result of their partner’s absence. Even if you Facetime every day, nothing compares to physical presence and intimacy. To keep themselves busy, the adulterer interacts with other people and may try to get romantic with them, therefore breaking their promise to their primary partner.

Some couples survive long-distance relationships with an open or non-monogamous relationship, allowing both to engage in affairs with other people but keeping their commitment to each other.

Cheating for Revenge

Others find joy in cheating back after their partner has cheated on them. Instead of forgiving, they resort to plotting revenge. This isn’t surprising because it’s not easy to forgive and forget after being cheated on. Fixing the relationship doesn’t always follow fixing one’s trauma.

 So, the individual finds it logical to reclaim their value through payback. This usually occurs in women more than men because men usually cheat first in relationships and marriages.

Addiction

Addiction is a common cause of infidelity in relationships. This can be an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or even porn.

Lying, cheating, and stealing are some habits that addicts usually get into. They behave irrationally as they lose their inhibitions, leading to attachment to other people outside their relationship and sexual activities.

Even if your partner does not cheat, addiction may cause them to drift apart from you because the brain is unable to function properly. Their emotions, decision-making processes, and even breathing are affected. They continue taking drugs or alcohol for their intense feel-good experience which they are already dependent on.

Financial Stress

Household income and financial stress can take a toll on all of us, but it plays a large part in infidelity amongst married couples. A married woman might cheat in this regard to feel some sort of control over her life, while a married man might do it simply for the release.

This often sparks office romances, online infidelity, the use of dating apps in a secretive nature, etc. The percent of cheating males is high in workplace infidelity and they often admit that it’s not like emotional cheating for them.  

Not: online infidelity may seem like a grey area because you don’t actually make physical contact. But it ties in with emotional cheating, which is a romantic relationship and is one of many forms of cheating. 

Infidelity Statistics on Men, Women, and Relationships

When it comes to chances of infidelity, in general, men are more likely to cheat than women. We have mentioned that 35% of women and 45% of men still have affairs outside their relationship. 20% of men have had sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse, while only 13% of women did.

Here are other statistics on gender and infidelity:

  • 11% of women ages 18-29 are guilty of cheating, whereas 10% of men in the same age range feel guilty.
  • Men adulterers are more common in their 70s, with an infidelity rate of 24%.
  • Women in their 60s are more likely to cheat, with an infidelity rate of 16%.

Aside from gender, other demographic factors also affect cheating. These figures are still based on the General Social Survey

  • 22% of black adults have cheated on their partner, compared to 16% of whites and 13% of Hispanics.
  • Democrats are more likely to cheat than Republicans.
  • Those with no religious affiliations are also more likely to cheat.
  • A college degree is not associated with increased chances of cheating. 16% of college graduates have cheated on their spouse, while 15% of high school graduates also committed adultery.

A regression model was run to test if each factor is separately related to cheating. It was found that age, race, and religion are significantly linked to higher chances of cheating. However, this does not mean that Republicans or religious people have a lower chance of cheating.

Divorce Rates and Infidelity in Heterosexual Couples

How many marriages have led to divorce because of extramarital affairs? Cheating is responsible for 20-40% of divorces in the United States, as told by the American Psychological Association. The cheating rate is higher than ever.

Here are other points that are worth noting:

  • 40% of adults who were disloyal to their partners are now divorced.
  • Only 17% of adults are divorced without engaging in infidelity throughout the marriage.
  • 50% of married women and men are currently engaged in cheating, while 76% are married and loyal.
  • Of those people who committed adultery, 61% remain married.

This means that cheating does not always lead to divorce for some married couples. This is usually the case for married couples with children who stay for the sake of a complete family. Another reason for staying is their reliance on their partner for finances. Others have gone through marriage counseling to fix their marriage.

Cheating Statistics with Family Background and Infidelity

Ex-husband jealous with his ex-wife new found relationship.

A study by Weiser shows that parental infidelity is linked with infidelity behaviors in the future. Logistical regression analysis also demonstrates that father infidelity is more likely to result in the child cheating on their partner.

Here are other relevant details to consider:

  • Individuals with divorced biological parents rather than intact families are also more susceptible to cheating.
  • Cheaters with favorable attitudes toward cheating had higher levels of parental conflict. They also have unhappy relationships with their parents.
  • Individuals who are victims of infidelity also had a less happy relationship with their parents.
  • Cheating partners have anxious and avoidant attachment styles.

These findings reveal that a person’s family background, such as their parents’ marriage and their own relationship with their parents, are closely related to their chances of cheating.

Sexual vs. Emotional Infidelity

Cheating experiences are different per couple. For instance, there are different types of infidelity.

Find out the difference between sexual and emotional infidelity.

Sexual Infidelity

Young attractive happy couple having romantic time in bed

Sexual infidelity is the most common type of cheating among married and unmarried couples. No matter your excuse, if you have had sex with another person other than your significant other, then you are infidelious. Sexual intercourse is considered the ultimate form of physical affection for a person.

You can also engage in sexual infidelity without sexual intercourse. For instance, you may have made our, performed foreplay, or had oral sex with another person.

Others also consider fantasizing about another woman other than your partner as sexual infidelity.

Emotional Cheating

Some find emotional cheating more hurtful than sexual cheating because the adulterer is more attached to the other person. It may also imply that they have lost feelings for their primary partner because they are sustainably close with another individual.

Emotional cheating refers to inappropriate closeness or attachment to others, such as a colleague, schoolmate, or someone you met on the internet. It’s hard to describe emotional cheating because couples have different rules and boundaries. Hence, it sometimes goes undetected and unresolved.

Infidelity in Heterosexual Couples: Demographic, Interpersonal, and Personality-Related Predictors of Extradyadic Sex

The percent of divorces due to cheating is appalling no matter gender differences or sexual preferences. The betrayal of a committed relationship hurts just the same whether it’s bisexual cheating, hetero cheating, or gay cheating. 

In terms of marital status and roles, we already know that men have 10% more chances of cheating than women because 45% of men cheat while only 35% of American women cheat in a sexual relationship. That’s quite a gender gap.

As a matter of fact, data shows that men cheat more ever since the 1990s. There is a lack of data on who cheated more during earlier years.

Let’s take a look at the gender gap and how men and women differ in cheating while taking into account their motivations and personality types.

Motivation

Men are more likely to engage in cheating because they need more sex or attention. Their love language is oftentimes physical touch because they are not keen on words of affirmation and quality time. Therefore, they like sex more.

And because they like sex more, they tend to be more sexually dissatisfied with their partner, so they crave intimacy with other women.  Sexual dissatisfaction also comes with a fear of rejection. When women reject sex, men hurt more than they should and resort to cheating instead.

On the other hand, women usually cheat because of an “emotional void”. They want to feel connected to their husband, and when this isn’t achieved, they find someone else to fill it.

Attachment Style

Attachment avoidance and attachment insecurity are two attachment styles that make a person more likely to engage in extradyadic sex. Oftentimes, this lack of self-esteem can be traced to their poor childhood and unhappy relationship with their parents.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type

One’s Myers-Briggs personality type influences your needs and desires in a relationship. Therefore, it can also affect the risk of cheating.

There four MBTI types are more likely to cheat:

  • ISFPs love to make the most out of the moment. They enjoy freedom, so they are less likely to consider other people when they take action.
  • ESTPs are the ultimate risk-takers! They care less about how their actions affect other people and their future.
  • ESFPs are super friendly… so friendly that they can get inappropriate. Communicate your boundaries with them to avoid being cheated on.
  • ENTPs may be logical and analytical, but they are also non-conformists. They are impulsive and hate the idea of traditional relationships.

Mental Illness

Individuals who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder and narcissism are closely linked with a greater likelihood of cheating. Mentally ill people often suffer from a lack of empathy and self-centeredness which are beyond their control.

So, Who Cheats More: The Rate of Infidelity

Based on the given facts, here’s a summary of who cheats more:

  • Married men cheat more than married women
  • Older people cheat more than adults and young adults, and tend to have a long-term affair.
  • Black people cheat more than white people and Hispanics.
  • Democrats cheat more than Republicans
  • Non-religious people cheat more.
  • Individuals with divorced parents or poor relationships with their parents are more likely to cheat.
  • ISFPs, ESTPs, and ENTPs are more likely to cheat.
  • People with avoidant or insecure attachment styles cheat more.
  • Mentally ill individuals have a greater tendency to cheat.

FAQ

What Percentage of Marriages Survive Infidelity?

Young man and woman in black background.

There is no available data on the percentage of marriages that survive cheating, but 31% of married individuals state that they will stay in their marriage if their partner ever cheats on them.

Why Do People Cheat?

People cheat because of dissatisfaction, thrill, or simply because of their personal issues and insecurities. Whatever the cause of cheating is, the cheater is always responsible for it.

What Percentage of Married Couples Cheat?

When it comes to the average affair, about 15-20% of married couples cheat, and more than 50% of cheating partners confess to their spouse about their affairs. 

Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater

Did our figures about cheating and the rate of infidelity help educate you? We certainly hope you don’t have an experience with infidelity, but if you do, hopefully this article has helped in some way.

Many relationships and marriages fall off because they believe cheating is a deal-breaker. Most of us think that a cheater will remain a cheater for life. 

Do you believe in the saying, “once a cheater, always a cheater”? Or that one form of infidelity is worse than the other? Let us know about your experiences!

If you liked this article about infidelity, you might enjoy our statistics on which zodiac signs cheat more.

Jennifer Foster Avatar

Jennifer studied Astrology and Human Relations and has a BA in Psychology. At Authority Astrology, she can finally combine all her talents and skill to create quality, reliable content for star sign dating enthusiasts all over the world.

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