Study Shows Cheaters Are Driven by Dissatisfaction with Their Relationship

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!
Advertiser Disclosure

What most drives a person to cheat on their partner?

Is it the sudden opportunity for a quick fling, or is it an indicator of trouble in the relationship?

A study published in the Journal of Sex Research found those who report a decreased satisfaction with their partner are more likely to cheat.

The study also found couples that report higher levels of negative communication and lower levels of dedication to their relationships are most likely to cheat or be cheated on.

Researchers attempted to pinpoint the common markers by interviewing 933 unmarried couples twice across a 20-month period.

They were looking for participants who were not initially cheating on their partner, but who admitted to being sexually active with someone other than their partner by the second interview.

“Those who report a decreased

satisfaction are more likely to cheat.”

The participants were between 18 and 35 years old and self-identified as being in a serious relationship for at least two months.

Of the couples involved, 14% were found to have at least one partner who was unfaithful.

Those who reported higher use of alcohol were also found to be more likely to cheat, as well as those whose parents had never married.

In each interview, they were asked about their level of satisfaction in the relationship and how often they were sexually active.

The intent was to find which type-markers would prove strong indicators for a person to begin cheating on their partner.

As individuals, common factors included those who do not share their partner’s desire to get married and those who suspect their partner of stepping out.

As for the qualities that seem to deter an errant partner, study co-author Galena Rhoades, Ph.D., of the University of Denver, found a common pattern.

“Overall it was the characteristics of the relationship that mattered most – things like commitment, communication and satisfaction,” Rhoades said.

Source: The Journal of Sex Research.

Advertiser Disclosure is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.