Life After Divorce . . . Why Do People Cheat?

By Lindy Earl

That’s a tough question.  We know people cheat, even when we don’t want to admit it.  It’s very easy, when we are not being cheated on, to declare that we would never tolerate it.  It’s like parenting other people’s children before we have our own – very easy in your mind.  Much different in reality.

There are as many reasons for cheating as there are cheaters.  Some are very generic:  fear, loneliness, excitement.  Some are very personal: lack of self-control ,egotism.  Some blame anyone else:  my spouse wasn’t good to me, they drove me to it.

People cheat for so many reasons, but do they ever admit the real reason?  The list above is just a very small beginning of the reasons I have heard.  I think it all comes down to one word:  selfishness.

Only an incredibly selfish person would ignore their vows, their spouse, their family, and their future for momentary pleasure.  Whether the pleasure comes from the sex or from the thrill of lying or the excitement of getting away with something or, get this, the backwards joy of shaming their spouse, it doesn’t matter.  The fact remains, the person is selfish.

A selfish person puts their own thoughts, desires, wants, wishes, and demands ahead of, literally, everything and everyone else. I have found the selfish people are often the ones who spend more than they should.  They see what they want.  They can’t quite afford what they want. They go ahead and buy what they want, on credit.  The cycle repeats, and pretty soon they are in financial trouble.  It all began with selfishness mixed with some impatience.

It’s not enough for the selfish person to only think of themselves, but they think only of the moment.  They want it and it has to be NOW. The idea of waiting for a sale or waiting to save enough for the item doesn’t occur to them.  Since life is all about them, they have no challenge moving forward toward their goal, no matter how temporary it is.

Do selfish people really have long term goals, or just immediate wants? I’m unsure if people who are so much about themselves even bother to look at their future.  Even though their future is about them, they are so concentrated on immediate gratification that they don’t look to their future selves.  This is especially sad because the selfish person doesn’t see the danger that today’s actions will inflect on their future.

Nobody gets to travel through life pain-free.  It doesn’t happen, although it may seem that way.  A mature person will realize the trouble and pain that comes from poor decisions – when you didn’t study for a test you flunked the class and had to take it over. That’s painful in multiple ways – embarrassment, loss of respect, financial hits if you pay for classes, time wasted.

An immature person will blame others or the system or bad luck instead of their own poor decisions.  So while the mature person either never made the mistake, or learned from the mistake to not repeat it, the selfish person blames others and continues in their immature behavior.  The alcoholic doesn’t see that their drinking is the cause of their poor relationships at work and home, so continues in their drinking.  The selfish person doesn’t see that their egocentric, it’s all about me, attitude is the reason for their loss of relationships.

People will share a multitude of excuses for cheating, but there is never a real reason.  The one common trait I have seen is an amazing level of selfishness from every cheater I’ve met.  If your mate truly believes it’s all about them, 24/7, day after day, you’re with the wrong person. Selfish people are toxic. Run!

That’s Dating After Divorce.

            Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. You can submit a question for her Advice Column at or find her on Face Book and join her Single Support Group, Single Again…From Devastation to Dating.