Cheating has always come down to unhappy relationships, ungrateful partners and a desire to seek something you can’t find at home. But some experts say there are reasons why people — who shouldn’t necessarily be labelled as “bad” people — cheat on their partners. Esther Perel, author of The State of Affairs, which was recently published in an adapted version in The Atlantic, wrote generally, affairs are described in terms of damage caused.
“The damage that infidelity causes the aggrieved partner is one side of the story. For centuries, when affairs were tacitly condoned for men, this pain was overlooked, since it was mostly experienced by women,” she wrote. “Strange as it may seem, affairs have a lot to teach us about marriage — what we expect, what we think we want and what we feel entitled to. They reveal our personal and cultural attitudes about love, lust and commitment — attitudes that have changed dramatically over the past 100 years.”
Perel, who is also a couples therapist, recently told Business Insider, the reason why people in happy relationships may look to cheat has nothing to do with their partner, but more about themselves.
“Many times, people who stray are also hoping to reconnect with lost parts of themselves, with the lives un-lived, with the sense that life is short and there are certain experiences … that they are longing for. They are looking not just for another person but in a way, they’re looking for another self.”
“Instead of thinking that the person who cheats is unhappy with their partner or with their relationship, it is sometimes important to think that they may be unhappy with themselves,” she told Business Insider. “Or, at least uncomfortable, restless, longing for something else, longing to reconnect with lost parts of themselves, longing to transcend a sense of deadness that they are feeling inside, longing to experience a sense of autonomy over their life.”