Why do people, especially men, cheat in relationships? Cheating is an abuse of trust, it means you have been taken for granted, for a ride. Like many other artifacts of one’s personality, cheating is a habit too. It is a conscious act.

People cheat when they lack inner fulfillment. Although that is no justification, it remains the primary cause; they are seeking fulfillment in pleasures outside of what is reasonable. One’s sense of fulfillment is rarely dependent on external factors; such factors may influence but inner peace remains a personal matter.

You can be the best partner in the world, you may the be most caring, giving, loving, and faithful, but that still does not guarantee any loyalty from the other side. If your partner is the restless type, like a monkey that hops from one tree to another, a baboon that flings itself to the nearest available tree, he is more prone to engaging in extracurricular activities. Predominantly because that is part of his fabric. There is never a reason for cheating, only an excuse. So, here are the top three:

1. Opportunity overrides obligation

This is the foremost cause. They cheat because they can. Given the time and the opportunity, some can bend the truth and stoop down to alarmingly low levels. Getting into a relationship, specifically marriage, comes with certain mutual and individual obligations. When an opportunity is allowed to overtake one’s obligation, the result is an act of cheating. It is not always about infidelity, it may well be about the non-fulfillment of one’s social, moral, emotional, and financial obligations.

In fact, often a lack of understanding and commitment on these fronts causes a relationship to go stale. If your partner escapes the opportunity of fulfilling an obligation or uses the opportunity to escape an obligation, it is an indication of non-seriousness and deceit, of insincerity and non-commitment. Marriage and commitment are synonymous. You may want to read – The Secret to a Happy Marriage.

2. Lust defeats love

This remains the primary cause. All living entities are made up of tiny units of atoms, of cells, of molecules, and so forth. The human mind is made up of atomic units of thought. Each unit is complete and independent in its own right. Love is like a movie — it is ongoing and spreads over a period of time whereas lust is like a snapshot.

Lust is innate. Just before lust turns into an act, there is the thought of lust. It takes a great deal of effort to drop the thought, the easier route for the majority of people is to slake their lust, to temporarily get rid of the thought by fulfilling it. However, since thoughts are ceaseless, before long, they experience the arousal of lust again. Here is a great article from wikiHow on How to Overcome Lust.

It is a vicious cycle. Anything that ties you down, be it any habit, belief, religion, anything that narrows your viewpoint, limits you as a person, all acts that give you a sense of guilt, will weaken you. And when you are weak, your mind will easily override your conscience. Driven by lust, when one engages in immorality, it means he is weak. If anything, your love should propel lust and not the other way around. 

3. Old habits die hard

They cheat because it is their habit. Only a certain degree of self-discipline and self-reflection can help one to discard undesirable habits. The old saying of birds of a feather flock together applies to habits too. If you observe carefully, you will find that a noble one can have many good habits and a cruel one, many bad habits.

The one who can lie comfortably can cheat easily too.

You can never change anyone’s habits except your own. It is only when your partner decides to change and acts towards it that he will change. Change may be triggered by external factors, it is always an inner calling though. It is for this reason that meditation and other similar activities can give one the strength to change. Primarily because meditation is an act of turning inward; that invariably brings about strength. Habits are habits, they move in groups. 

The definition of cheating can vary a great deal from culture to culture. There are certain sects, nations, cultures, and even religions that allow a man to have more than one simultaneous relationship.

Morality is not always an absolute concept. What may be moral for you, maybe immoral for them, and vice-versa. So, how do you know whether your act is moral or immoral, whether you are cheating or if you simply made a one-off mistake? The answer is quite simple in fact. First and foremost, your conscience always guides you onto the path of light and truth. If you can follow your conscience, you will know right from wrong. Secondly, all else being equal, if you truly believe you did not do anything wrong or that it was an innocent mistake, you should be able to go up to your partner and confess.

Just like exercise, diet and a healthy lifestyle reduce the probability of diseases; harmony, understanding, and transparency in a relationship greatly diminish the chances of adultery. Give each other some personal space so there is room to discover, sustain, and nurture a sense of individuality. Stronger individuality leads to better dependability. And, fulfillment in any marriage comes from how dependable it is for you emotionally, physically, intellectually, and financially.

No one wants to be the bad guy, or be unhappy; people do not aim for disharmony. Tied by desires they cannot let go, and driven by their habits, they engage in acts they may repent later on.

I may reflect more on the present topic going forward, especially when it may be prudent to call it quits in a relationship.

Until then, make each other feel important, fill each other’s cup up, and be each other’s strength. Complete each other. The strength of a relationship is directly dependent on how important you make the other person feel.


Editorial Note

Why do people cheat on their partners, despite promises of a committed relationship? Whether you’ve been on the receiving end or performing end of such an act, the above post has shown that redemption is possible.



Art of Meditation

Free yourself from suffering and live life to the fullest. Learn the yogic technique of meditation in 4 days (and master it over a lifetime)

Learn More...

The following questions address this topic in further detail, including when to call it quits on a relationship.

Is cheating part of the ups and downs of a relationship?

Why do people cheat in relationships? Well, the relationship has become insignificant in your life. The charm died long ago and fulfillment has disappeared. It has truly become like a bank account — transactional. Your bedroom conversations sound like boardroom meetings, they are all about planning and practicality, reporting and reviewing decisions, and directions. In other words, the boardroom has become bored-room.

This is one of the top causes that prompt individuals to go outside their marriage or relationship for flings and other alliances. They have grown tired of eating bland food, day in and day out. Sometimes such flirting takes a serious turn transforming into an affair. The one who has discovered and revived love and laughter in his life decides to move on. The other partner feels betrayed.

However, if the two partners remain sincere, it is possible to restore harmony and love. In fact, it is easier because a certain degree of care and understanding is already there. Continue reading about the red flags in a relationship, when to move on, and when to stay.

How do I deal with cheating in a relationship?

One fine day, you find out that your partner cheated on you. Such cheating could range from flirting to philandering. Clearly, you are hurt. Badly. You feel your world has come to a dead end. You are certain of never being able to love your partner again. You feel suffocated. Well, do not call it off just yet. You may want to consider forgiving your partner if it was a one-off thing if you sense sincerity.

Why do people cheat? Perhaps, like many other mistakes, this could simply be a mistake on his part, albeit a grave one. This is a fresh wound, it will heal over time. Provided, of course, it does not keep getting scraped again.

But yes, it is going to leave a scar. God forbid, if you go through this, give yourself time, six months to a year, to see if you feel differently before making a radical decision leading to a broken marriage. Continue reading about the other types of a broken marriages.

Why do people deny it when they cheat on their partner?

When two people are in love and one cheats, it’s not about the absolute action that hurts the victim but the fact that they were lied to. The act of cheating is not just that they did something immoral but that they hid it too. That, the offending party did not come forward on their own but that you found out.

As they say, sometimes the discovery of one truth makes everything else seem like a lie.

Lying is manipulation. In my humble opinion, no matter how tempting a lie may seem, it is rarely ever worth it. All I can tell you is this: there lies no liberation in lies. In other words, there is no truth without truthfulness. For, even worse than speaking a lie is to live it. Continue reading about lies and their consequences.

Is it possible for two people to fall back in love, even when things are going badly?

Often, when things turn sour, we compare our relationship with the ideal definition we once held. This view makes us feel that nothing good ever existed in this relationship, that the whole thing was a mistake from the start. Hold your horses at that moment. It’s your mind playing tricks. Your emotional state has taken over reality.

Life is no fairy tale, but it’s not a horror story either. It’s neither a comedy nor tragedy, it just is. When life goes to jelly, we often only look at the negatives, the depressing times, the trying times of the past. The mind loses its ability to see the complete picture, to remember the beautiful moments too. Continue reading for the secret to healthy relationships.

How do I remain happy in a difficult relationship?

For two people in a relationship, there is one simple secret to remaining happy, no matter your circumstance. Following this technique will ensure that you are happy, 99.99% of the time! Watch the video below to find out what it is.

YouTube video


  • 1:35 – 4:15: Secret to being happy in relationships


There were four members in a household. Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. A bill was overdue. Everybody thought Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it but Nobody did it.
Don't leave empty-handed, consider contributing.
It's a good thing to do today.

Support Om Swami

Honor payment on os.me

P.S. The charge will appear as *Vedic Sadhana