Today Ashley Madison released a new study examining why people cheat. The main takeaway: besides sex, affair partners are helping cheaters fill emotional voids that spouses aren’t. Here are key findings from the study:
- Cheaters found more affection (44%) and friendship (42%) w/ affair partners vs. spouses
- Cheaters say affair partners helped them regain confidence (29%) and feel more desired (48%)
The full study has more interesting data. Here are highlights:
According to the survey, sex is the number one reason people choose to cheat (61%), but the other reasons also show a great deal about why some relationships experience infidelity. Cheaters are actively trying to fill a void in their lives, in their marriages, and in their relationships. Some want to expand the physical elements like exploring new desires (45%), while others are looking for emotional reassurance like affection (44%), friendship (42%) and the feeling of butterflies again (30%).
“The reasons why people cheat are very telling of the types of relationships that people find themselves in,” says Isabella Mise, Director of Communications for Ashley Madison. “When sex and intimacy fade, often times monogamy becomes a struggle for our members but they don’t want to leave their partner altogether. Infidelity is an avenue for them to have certain needs met and stay happy in their primary relationship.”
Stray to Stay
Infidelity is often portrayed as an immoral act and is rarely looked at in a positive light. But the members of AshleyMadison.com aren’t necessarily looking to leave their spouse, they are looking to repair the emptiness that they are feeling. People find themselves in a family, in a loving marriage, in financial stability yet are lacking specific areas in those relationships. And that’s why sex comes up as a top reason for why people cheat. This doesn’t mean they’re looking to fully replace their spouse as 54% survey respondents are only seeking short-term dating. Furthermore, 50% of respondents said they cheat and not leave their spouse because they love their partner but are just looking for more sexual fulfillment.
As a result, survey respondents have revealed what it is they like about having affairs allows them to return to their marriage and their household unit as a happier more satisfied partner. Not surprisingly, for the majority it came down to the fact their sexual needs were met (76%). For others it made them feel more alive (51%), they felt desired (48%), their emotional needs were met (37%), and they regained their confidence (29%). These are all areas of life that people need to feel secure and be happy, and they get that from finding what they need outside of the marriage when their partner is unable to give them that.
Sure cheating comes with some downsides like potentially getting caught. But for the members of AshleyMadison.com, they aren’t too worried about it. When asked, 71% of respondents said they don’t feel guilty about cheating on their partner, nor is it the top concern for cheaters when entering an affair. So when it comes to cheating, is the risk worth the reward? If the reward means being happy again, then it seems like the answer is yes.