Believe it or not, people don't just cheat because they're unhappy or because they're bad. They often share similar habits or traits that make them more likely to do it.
Knowing the signs can both help you to avoid cheaters as well as help cheaters better understand themselves to hopefully put an end to it.
They Like To Keep Tabs On You
Cheaters tend to be overprotective. In fact, they can be aggressively jealous. They might even be suspicious of you.
They're projecting their own trust issues because if they know they're capable of violating your trust, then they assume you could do the same.
They Always Have A Way Of Justifying It
Maybe it's to mask their own guilt, but cheaters will always find a way to justify their actions. They'll blame their partner for not paying attention to them, for withholding intimacy or not being supportive, etc.
They create a need that needed to be fulfilled and use that to feel entitled to cheat.
More Than Half Of Cheaters Were Already Happy In Their Relationships
You'd be surprised, but cheaters don't always do it because they're unhappy. Sometimes it's just because they can.
A study by Rutgers University found that 56% of men who had affairs were happy with their partners, as well as 34% of women.
They're Scared Of Being Alone
Cheaters share a deep fear of abandonment. They use a side relationship as a means to feel more secure because if one leaves then they'll still have another.
This fear is rooted in loneliness and their own personal baggage. Often, they find out the hard way that cheating leaves them with nothing.
They Have An Idealized Notion Of Love
They're trying to create some kind of rom-com storyline. They can't be happy because they're stuck trying to create this fantasy and think of it as the only true notion of love.
Naturally, they quickly get bored and go on to chase a new thrill. They're almost addicted to the rush of feelings that come with new romances.
They Know How To Create Opportunities
Serial cheaters are opportunists who often occupy positions of power. They can be overly calculating and pick their mates very carefully.
This is why they often get with someone when that person is in a vulnerable state.
They Don't Actually Want To Hurt Anyone
Believe it or not, many cheaters don't actually intend on hurting anyone. In fact, they believe going behind their partner's back is the nicest thing they could do in that situation.
By "sparing" their partner's feelings, they're actually just avoiding the conflict that comes with dealing directly with the issues in their relationship.
They Overcompensate By Being Overly Affectionate
Cheaters are overly affectionate for various reasons. Guilt is one of the biggest ones. Cheating doesn't entirely mean that they don't still have some kind of emotional investment in you.
They hope their affection will appease you, get you off their scent, or, in the worst-case scenario where you found out, help you forgive them.
They Tend To Stay Up Late
Most cheating happens after 9 p.m. and rarely in the middle of the day. This is because it's a lot easier to play it off during those hours with excuses such as "going out with friends" or “staying late at work.”
All other communication with their lovers is usually done through text.
They Believe They're Unlovable
Some people cheat because they're truly afraid they're unlovable. They're trying to prove themselves wrong over and over again.
They act out of insecurity even though they never actually let themselves be vulnerable enough to deepen the connections they make. Instead, they remain unsatisfied and ruin it.
Cheaters Are More Likely To Be Fans Of Rock And Roll
Research has found that music and sex basically go hand in hand. Their studies have found that 41% of cheaters prefer rock music to all other genres.
Pop music is second at 16% with hip-hop coming in last place with only 2%.
They Prefer To Lead A Private Life
They might come off as a child or closed off, and you might think it's cute at first, but really, it's their way of purposefully excluding you from a vital portion of their lives.
Not only will they keep their phones locked, but they're not the kind of people to elaborate on a story or share personal details about their friends and family.
The Cheating Is Usually With Someone They Know
You'd think that most cheaters just pick someone up at a bar for a quickie, but studies have shown that serial cheaters actually tend to invest in someone that's already around them rather than a one-night stand.
Research has found that 85% of cheating starts between coworkers, but friends and neighbors are also common.
They Prefer Pet Names To Real Names
If they call all their side pieces "baby," then they're likely to accidentally mix up their names in the heat of passion.
It's a strategy to not have to explain blurting out the wrong partner's name while simultaneously saving them some effort.
They Often Do Want To Get Caught
The cheating eventually weighs enough on them that sometimes they will go as far as setting themselves up to get caught.
A clinical professor at Brown University has found that cheaters often want to get help but can't help themselves. They make the cheating obvious because "they want to stop but don't know how."
They're Expert Liars
Don't feel bad for having fallen for a cheater—they're master manipulators. They're so good at lying (probably from perfecting it over time) that they will go as far as laying the groundwork for future lies.
Not only do they say the right things, but they know how to say it in the way they use their body language and carry themselves. They can look you right in the eyes while blatantly telling a lie.
They Think It's Their Partner's Job To Make Them Happy
Cheaters will often rely on their partner to make things work. When issues arise, they don't even know how to deal with it other than to cheat.
The real problem is they don't know how to make themselves happy and aren't happy internally, so they're looking for someone else to do it for them.
They Think Of Cheating As A Disease They Can't Fight
Often, cheaters will not be able to explain why they cheated and feel like they couldn't have prevented it. They think of it as this problem they were born with that they have no control over.
This is completely false and can be altered by figuring out why they did it. They can do so by analyzing their patterns of behavior, automatic thinking, and coping skills.
They Gravitate Towards Those Who Feed Their Egos
Cheaters like to feel wanted to make up for their lack of self-esteem and to compensate for their insecurities. They will keep on searching for lovers who shower them with love and don't know them well enough yet to see their flaws.
This gives them a sense of worthiness, for at least a short while.
The Grass Is Always Greener Somewhere Else
They convince themselves that the next person will finally be the one to make them happy. They don't necessarily plan or intend to cheat again every time they meet someone, but they get stuck in their own patterns.
Odds are that if they did it once, they will do it again...until they take a hard look at themselves and work through their issues.
Most Cheaters Are Also Narcissists
If you think of what a narcissist is, you think of someone who is self-absorbed, selfish, greedy, and lacks empathy. This makes it easier for them to cheat without guilt or remorse.
They're often the ones who are full of excuses for why they did it but are also really good at convincing you it wouldn't happen again.
They Easily Get Jealous
Remember that jealousy is likely a projection of insecurity. Cheaters tend to always overthink your behavior and even put your own character in question over their accusations.
Their jealousy stems from knowing that they're capable of cheating, so you might be too. Plus, that would at least shift the focus from their own guilt.
Nothing Is Ever Enough
Cheaters are always wanting more. You feel like you can never satisfy them no matter how much of yourself you give or do for them. Serial cheaters aren't just unhappy, they're always looking for more in general whether it's more money or more attention.
The next thing always seems better than the current thing, and when they get it, they're already ready for the next thing.
They Defy Some Evolutionary Theories
There are some theories that people aren't meant to be monogamous and men are programmed to cheat. Yet this goes against the notion that cheating is a choice and it wasn't always the case.
Plus, men and women used to have to stick together to survive and protect their children in order to keep the species alive, so there goes that theory.
They're Big Flirts
Flirting itself is a gray area in whether it counts as cheating. However, serial cheaters will often use flirting as a way to feed their need for validation and to feel desired.
They often take the flirting exchange as an invitation for more and see too much into it. Their egos let them be convinced that everyone wants them.
They Carry Emotional Scars
Often, serial cheaters cheat in an attempt to fill a void and want to feel loved. It's like the more people they can get to love them, the more they can prove themselves that they're worthy and lovable.
This often leads back to childhood traumas, abandonment issues, or broken relationships that made them fear being alone.
They Have High Codependency On Their Partners
Ironically, some serial cheaters are also so codependent on their partners that they could have never suspected anything. This is because codependency in itself is a symptom of the same insecurities that lead someone to cheat.
Basically, their insecurity is so strong that just their partner isn't enough to curb it, so they feel a need for an extra relationship that would make them feel significant.
It's no coincidence if a serial cheater is also a big fan of roller coasters. They're risk-takers in most aspects of their lives.
This is because they feel fueled by the "rush" of risking something important. It's possible to even build an addiction to that thrill.
They Have A Distorted View Of Reality
For many serial cheaters, it's their world and we're just living in it. They often physically can't see beyond that. They're so englobed by their own ego and perspective that even when you try to explain how hurt you feel by their actions, they feel justified in it or can't stop.
They tend to not realize the repercussions, often until it's too late.
They Live By Their Own Moral Code
A serial cheater's moral code is questionable but often hard to change. Basically, once they've confirmed that they have no problem crossing the line, they will likely do it again.
Since they show little remorse with their excuses and justifications, they're unlikely to want to try and change. So you're better off just leaving them.