We Know Why People Cheat, But Why Do The Rest Of Us Stay Faithful?

If you’ve ever been cheated on, you know how much of a betrayal it is and how much it can hurt. Many studies have been done on why cheaters step out on their relationships, but what about the rest of us? What inspires us to stay faithful? Finally we have an answer.

  1. A lot of people cheat on their partners. Various studies have determined that anywhere between 11% and 69% of Americans have been unfaithful in their relationships. Even at the low end, that’s still quite a lot of cheating going on. However, assuming the real number is on the lower end, the rest of us stay dedicated to our partners. Why is that?
  2. The reasons people cheat have a bearing on why the rest of us don’t. Research performed by Menelaos Apostelou and Rafaella Panayiotou of the University of Nicosia took into consideration why cheaters cheat in order to figure out why the rest of us don’t. For instance, some people cheat because they already know their relationship is over or they want it to be but are hesitant to end things officially before finding a new partner. Others, particularly men, may have a biological imperative to seek out as many women as possible (though these days, most of them aren’t consciously trying to knock dozens of women up).
  3. The chances of getting caught are a serious deterrent to many people. The idea that their partner might find out they’ve been unfaithful does keep many coupled up people from sleeping with someone else. The researchers found that this is particularly true for women, many of whom are more likely to be assaulted or even killed by a partner who suspects them of cheating/finds out that they have. Men, on the other hand, are less likely to cheat if the costs are too high. For instance, a married man who’s left by his wife for cheating might be hesitant to even go there lest he have to split 50% of his earnings and pay alimony after the divorce.
  4. Relationship satisfaction is key to staying faithful. After two rounds of surveying of two groups of participants, the researchers discovered that there are eight key reasons that most of us choose not to cheat. The most popular one? Being satisfied in your current relationship. After all, if you already have everything you want, why would you go looking elsewhere?
  5. Guilt also played a big part. Never underestimate the human conscience. The next most popular reason respondents gave for not cheating was that they knew they’d feel guilty about it. They didn’t want to lie to or hurt their partners and they couldn’t bear the thought of living a double life.
  6. The other reasons make a lot of sense too. Many respondents worried that cheating on their partner might inspire to do the same to them, and it’s not so fun when you’re the one being betrayed, right? Others said they had no reason to cheat because they hadn’t been tempted, while some also admitted being afraid of their partner’s reaction if they got caught. Fear of social or religious persecution came up for many, as was fear of contracting an STD. These are all pretty good reasons not to step out on your relationship, I’d say.
Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.