- 7 traits most cheaters have in common
- 10 Common Personality Traits of a Cheater
- 10 Traits of Cheater
- Narcissism Behavior After Getting Caught Cheating
- Liars and Cheaters, Oh My!
- Why Do Cheaters Get Jealous?
- But What About Evolutionary Psychology?
- Is Flirting Cheating?
- Why Are Cheaters so Weak?
- What Leads to Compulsive Cheating?
- What Does Cheating Say About a Person?
- How Do Cheaters Feel About Themselves?
- A Word About Habitual or Chronic Cheaters
- A Note About the Warning Signs
- The Most Common Traits And Characteristics Found In People Who Cheat
- It’s In Their Genes
- They’re Narcissistic
- They’re Financially Dependent On You
- They’re Men Who Work In Finance Or Women Who Work In Education
- Tall Men! Men With Large Feet! Men Named Wayne, Liam, Or Ryan!
- They’re Women With Blonde Hair Or Men With Brown Hair
- They’re People With Longer Ring Fingers Or Women With Men Who Have Longer Penises
- Or None Of These
7 traits most cheaters have in common
How do you put a face to infidelity? The answer is, you can't. Just as you were taught not to judge a book by its cover, it's near impossible to look someone in the eye and, in just one glance, know they're a cheater. The truth is, anyone can be unfaithful— it just depends on how you define the term.
Relationship counselor and clinical sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee of Eros Coaching said cheating is subjective because different people have different boundaries.
“Cheating can be emotional, and/or physical. It is all depending on how the person concerned is feeling,” Lee told INSIDER. “Most people are more disturbed by the breaking of trust and the intimacy in the ‘rival' relationship, than whether there is sex involved.”
According to a 2010 to 2017 General Social Survey issued by the Institute for Family Studies, 20% of men and 13% of women have had sex with someone who was not their spouse while married. And what's most heartbreaking about these statistics is, of those who had been cheated on and found out about it, most probably never saw it coming — at least, not until it was too late.
Anyone can be unfaithful, but while you shouldn't necessarily base your judgments off of the stereotypical cheats you see depicted in Hollywood, there are some common personality traits cheaters share. If any of the following red flags are waving right in front of you, it could be a sign your partner's up to something.
There might be a reason they're always guarding their phone. Jet Cat Studio / Shutterstock
It is a truth universally acknowledged that secrets are no fun unless you share with everyone. But not only are a cheater's secrets not fun, they're rarely shared with anyone.
A cheater's secrets can often be revealed through their recent calls list, in text messages on their phone, or a private folder in their email. But a locked phone especially, Susan Winter said, is a dead giveaway.
“Your partner doesn't want you to see their private activity, and therefore is purposefully excluding you from a vital portion of their lives.” the New York City-based relationship expert told INSIDER.
Cheaters tend to put some pretty intense privacy setting on their personal lives too, so it's not just their romantic happenings they'll keep to themselves, Winters explained. They prefer to keep all personal details such as things about their family, who their friends are, and where they work on the DL, too.
“What do you actually know about your partner's life, their family, upbringing, and personal life?” Winters said. “A cheater keeps their cards close to their chest.”
They know exactly what to say and how to say it. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Don't feel bad if you've ever fallen for a cheater's false promises and lame excuses for canceling plans in the past. It's easy to do because they're eerily good at it.
So good, in fact, that LeslieBeth Wish, a noted psychotherapist, author, and founder of Love Victory said cheaters will sometimes lay the groundwork for future lies ahead of time in order to cover their tracks later on in the relationship.
“They might begin way ahead of time by telling you that their workload at the office just dramatically increased because of reorganization or people leaving,” Wish told INSIDER. “These are lies, of course, so that when they are not with you, they have a great story to draw from.”
What's even more disturbing about cheaters is that not only do they know what to say, they know how to say it, and how to carry themselves so that their body language doesn't give away a lie.
“They are masters at seeming believable,” Wish explained. “They can look you in the eye and say things such as: ‘What a long day at work,' when they were actually with another person.”
They may be more willing to put their relationships on the line. Flickr/imagineitall
Cheaters, bullies, are fueled by power, and drawn to risk. This kind of behavior, however, is a reflection of something deeply rooted inside of them.
“In truth,” Wish told INSIDER, ” [cheaters] are deeply insecure people who feel flawed, unloved, angry, and, ironically, robbed of something that they needed emotionally in life as a child.”
In other words, it's not you, it's them.
Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.
More: Features Infidelity Cheating cheaters
10 Common Personality Traits of a Cheater
What are the signs of a cheater? | Source
One thing all cheaters have in common is the propensity to cheat! Are you worried about your partner? If so, what causes a man to cheat on the woman he claims to love? Is the cheating man or woman just a selfish, self-absorbed jerk? Or, is there “dysfunction” lurking beneath his or her deceptive ways? What are the symptoms of a cheater?
Most research suggests that rather than there being one thing that all cheaters have in common, there is a common set of characteristics, personality traits and behavior patterns that set serial cheaters apart from their non-philandering counterparts. The sooner you can recognize these traits, the closer you will be to protecting yourself from their selfish ways. And now, without further ado, let's begin to evaluate the warnings signs of a cheater!
10 Traits of Cheater
- Always Needing More
- Distorted View of Reality
- Lack of Respect
One thing all cheaters have in common: narcissistic tendencies.
Most often, cheaters are narcissists, or at the very least, they have many similar narcissistic qualities. For example, they are selfish, greedy, and often think only of themselves. A narcissist typically feels a sense of entitlement and will do whatever necessary to feed the “narcissistic supply”.
Wikipedia defines “narcissistic supply” as:
' . . .
a concept in some psychoanalytic theories, which describes a type of admiration, interpersonal support or sustenance drawn by an individual from his or her environment (especially from careers, codependents and others).
The term is typically used in a negative sense, describing a pathological or excessive need for attention or admiration that does not take into account the feelings, opinions or preferences of other people'.
Narcissism Behavior After Getting Caught Cheating
In short, narcissists are self-absorbed, out for number one and lack empathy, which makes it possible for them to have affairs without feeling guilty.
Because they do not feel guilty and lack empathy and remorse after cheating, they are often full of excuses and reasons as to why they broke the trust in a relationship.
It is, however, important to distinguish between narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), and psychopathy as not to confuse them:
- Psychopathy: These individuals are often referred to as predators. They prefer to work in private and in isolation.
- NPD: May be concurrent with BPD. NPD individuals often choose to operate in public because they enjoy praise and attention. They see themselves as perfect. NPD individuals are more demeaning when it comes to criticism (in contrast to those with BPD).
- BPD: May be concurrent with NPD. BPD individuals often express anger in a rage but show remorse after, contrary to NPD individuals.
|Human rights don't matter.|
|Rules and laws should be broken.|
|Most people deserve to be fooled.|
|You should appreciate me.|
|I don't care about suffering.|
|My arrogance is greatness.|
|I don't have to be loyal, but you do.||I have a history and I don't care.|
|I'm allowed to be critical but not you.||People's lives don't matter.|
|“No” doesn't mean anything.|
|It's not manipulation, it's preference.|
|I only spend time with certain people.||Risk taking is no problem.|
|If people trust me, it's their fault.|
Things cheaters have in common: the tendency towards deception. | Source
A cheater can look you directly in the eyes and tell a lie without even blinking. They have been known to tell tall tales that are so outrageous, that you can’t help but believe them. We tend to believe them because they have perfected the lie, which makes it sound utterly convincing.
Liars and Cheaters, Oh My!
Not all liars are cheaters, but you can’t be a cheater and not be a liar: the two go hand in hand. The liar's life is so full of deception that the line between truth and fiction is blurred; the lies often become more and more intricate the more desperate the cheater is to cover their tracks.
Traits of cheaters: jealousy. | Source
What goes around comes around—or at least that's what they think! Cheaters constantly question you and frequently accuse you of inappropriate behavior or being flirtatious.
The very fact that they are capable of being unfaithful puts them on the defensive and paranoia sets in. If they are doing it, they assume their partner must be doing it also.
They are so deep into their life of lies and deception that insecurity sets in and they begin to accuse you of not only cheating, but lying, flirting, etc.
The best piece of advice I can give you is to listen carefully to what your partner is saying and remember this word: Projecting! Projecting, projecting, projecting . . . got it? Need some tips for processing jealousy on your end? Consider ways to understand and overcome jealousy.
Why Do Cheaters Get Jealous?
If they are accusing you of crazy, uncalled for behaviors, chances are they are the one committing the crime. Example: “You were late last night, you’re probably screwing around with your co-worker.
” Projecting! They really mean, “I am late sometimes because I’m screwing around.
” If you have tuned into your cheating spouse's behavior, you can pretty much figure out what they are up to just by listening to what their accusations are.
Personality characteristics of cheaters: always needing more. | Source
It’s never enough! A common trait among cheaters is their constant need for more: more money, more attention, more recognition, etc. They are never happy or satisfied. They need constant attention and frequent ego boosts.
They are always looking for that next hobby or activity to satisfy their needs, yet they are never happy no matter what they have in their lives. You can give and give, but they always need more.
They need to be the center of attention, and they need to feel needed and wanted, always.
But What About Evolutionary Psychology?
Contrary to popular belief that males are simply programmed to cheat, the advantage lies within the female's court. According to an article by PacificStandard:
'Mating with multiple partners increases the genetic diversity of a female’s offspring, increasing the odds that at least some will survive regardless of changing environmental conditions. It can help a female acquire so-called “good genes” for her young . . . '
Sure, nature favors genetic diversity, but cheating is a choice. While always needing more may simply apply to other areas of life, we often see issues with sexual behavior and, specifically, impulse control when it comes to cheating.
A cheating man or woman will often go outside of their marriage to indulge in sexual satisfaction.
The reasons they choose to be unfaithful and go outside of their long-term relationship could be many, and oftentimes require the help of a relationship expert or similar professional.
One thing all cheaters have in common: the tendency to flirt. | Source
Cheaters are most often, but not always, huge flirts. They need validation from and to feel desired by the opposite sex. They often see any flirtatious exchange, no matter how small, as an invitation for more. Ironically, it's not so much that they have huge egos as it is that they lack self-esteem.
Is Flirting Cheating?
Not necessarily, but it can lead to more. Many times they will flirt in front of you as if it's harmless fun.
They think that if we see it with our own eyes that we will believe that it will never happen behind our backs. “Yes, he's a huge flirt, but he always flirts with me there, so it's harmless.
” Flirting is disrespectful under any circumstance and should always be a huge red flag—period!
A common trait of cheaters is deep insecurity. | Source
The saddest part of a cheater's personality is that they often carry emotional scars from their past. Many unfaithful partners were emotionally abused as children, were ignored or had love and attention withheld.
Sometimes, their own role models were in messed up relationships. They are often emotionally dependent on their spouses or partners. The very thing they desire is the thing that causes them to cheat in the first place.
Their fear of being alone is so huge that they need a backup plan; they need to know that someone is always available to them.
Why Are Cheaters so Weak?
Often, you may feel that your spouse's emotionally dependency on you is so high that they would never risk losing you by having an affair.
But the catch here is that their insecurity is so strong that they need to seek out extra-marital affairs to ensure that they never feel alone or insignificant.
As shocking as it may be, you may want to consider the signs of an extra-marital affair.
Partners who stray are often caught up in thrill-seeking. | Source
Cheaters are sometimes risk takers in other areas of their lives as well. It all boils down to that 'rush' they feel when there is something important at stake.
It's often the lies and fear of getting caught that fuel their fire.
They just can't seem to resist the thrill of the chase time and time again, and when the opportunity for reciprocation arrives, they can’t seem to resist that either. It’s a win-win with no regard for the people involved.
What Leads to Compulsive Cheating?
These thrill-seeking, cheating partners tend to be compulsive cheaters.
They are constantly trying to squeeze the best life, whether it's gambling, impulsive spending or the beautiful woman or handsome man in the club. If it's not one thing, it's the next.
The feelings they get from the pursuit or chase outweighs a lot of the positive qualities of a secure, trusting relationship. They're all about indulgence and pleasure.
Many unfaithful people have a tendency to be immoral in other areas of life. | Source
If your partner has confessed to cheating in past relationships, you need to pay close attention. Often, this indicates the extent of their moral code.
They have pretty much confirmed that they have no problem crossing the line and will ly do it again. Please don't buy into the excuses they will give for their previous mistakes.
It doesn't matter if “she was a bitch” or if “it was already over.” Let's call a spade a spade. It's cheating and extremely disrespectful.
What Does Cheating Say About a Person?
Unhappy or not, partners deserve a better ending to their relationship than infidelity.
So is 'once a cheater, always a cheater' true? Often the answer is, unfortunately, yes! (I do recognize that once in a blue moon, someone cheats, and it truly was a huge mistake that they can learn from and grow.
) These people, too, do not play by the rules. They may resort to nasty things emotional blackmail or blackmail on social media to keep things their way in addition to lying.
Serial cheaters often have a distorted view of reality. | Source
Cheaters often grew up in families where infidelity occurred, or a parent was disrespected in some other way. I'm not saying that it is genetic, just pointing out that if a person grew up in such a disrespectful environment, then this behavior is all they know or have to model their own behavior after.
How Do Cheaters Feel About Themselves?
They are more inclined to believe that cheating is a normal, acceptable behavior. They tend not to realize the repercussions on their current relationship. They may be blocked emotionally from past trauma, which causes them to lack empathy or remorse a lot of the time.
Cheaters have a lack of respect for others. | Source
The way a man treats his mother and carries himself in her presence can tell you a lot about who he is as a person.
If a man shows little respect for his mother, he most ly has little respect for women, in general, making him more ly to cross that line into infidelity.
On the contrary, if he holds his mother and women in high regard and sees them as valuable creatures deserving respect, he is less ly to cheat.
A Word About Habitual or Chronic Cheaters
Habitual or chronic cheaters, otherwise known as serial cheaters, simply lack respect for their partner. If they have done it to you, they have probably done it to others or will do it to others in the future.
Although I am not a relationship expert, these are just some of the most common traits cheaters share. What is considered cheating is really up to you and your significant other.
In summary, just be aware of the signs and don't make excuses for poor behavior.
Being disrespected by a man (or a woman) is never acceptable, and it is often an indication of bigger problems in a relationship.
A Note About the Warning Signs
It is important to note that these warning signs are trends of infidelity and the traits of serial cheaters—this does not necessarily mean that your partner is cheating. If you are worried about your significant other, work with a relationship expert or similar professional to get to the heart of the matter.
If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.
Cheating, lying, flirting, verbal and emotional abuse are all things that should never be overlooked or tolerated from your partner. If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything. Be strong and demand respect from your partner. You don't have to live that way.
The Most Common Traits And Characteristics Found In People Who Cheat
Are you a little obsessed with trying to predict how the person you’re deeply in love with is ly to destroy you? If so, you’re in good company.
We are big fans of trying to avoid pain by projecting early on and in great detail a romance’s inevitable failure, and the internet is no different. It contains a ton of articles exploring all the ways a relationship can go poof, but none is quite so deliciously heartrending as cheating.
Cheating is one of those seemingly mundane occurrences until it happens in your relationship, at which point it feels reality is dissolving and someone is serenading you with a string instrument and also you are at the center of a very moving independent film.
Because it’s earth-shattering, it’s also incredibly alluring to dissect. pressing on a bruise, it hurts so good. So let’s dissect, shall we? Here are some characteristics of people who cheat, according to science (and some sort of shady online surveys).
It’s In Their Genes
Cheating is just in my genes may sound a load of bull boo-boo, but according to some research, it’s not a lie. Richard A.
Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, wrote in 2015 about several studies suggesting that people’s receptor genes for oxytocin and vasopressin—hormones linked to partner bonding—may play heavily into whether folks remain faithful in romantic relationships.
To illustrate the significance of the brain’s reception of these hormones, Friedman looks to research by Dr. Thomas R. Insel of two closely related species of voles, a type of rodent.
Montane voles are sexually promiscuous, and prairie voles are sexually monogamous. Friedman explains:
AFP / THIERRY ZOCCOLAN
“What Dr. Insel described is that the strikingly different sexual behavior of these two species of voles reflects the action of vasopressin in their brains. The vasopressin receptors in the montane and prairie voles are in completely different brain regions so that when these receptors are stimulated by vasopressin, there are very different behavioral effects.”
Narcissist is a word that’s thrown around quite a bit, despite the fact that few of us seem to really know what exactly a narcissist is. It’s perhaps Quora’s favorite topic. Merriam-Webster’s definition of narcissism—”love of or sexual desire for one’s own body”—does little to clear things up.
“Echo and Narcissus,” John William Waterhouse (1903) / Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
But maybe a clear definition isn’t completely necessary. Usually the advice attached to “narcissist” is “stay away,” since people with this label (often men) famously lure their victims into complex, emotionally abusive webs and then suck them dry. Because narcissists don’t really care about other people, they use them and abuse them without remorse—this includes cheating on them.
In a Women’s Health article titled, “The Sexual Red Flag That Your Partner Might Cheat,” Alison Goldman directs our attention to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior journal:
“Researchers analyzed data from 123 married couples in two longitudinal studies. The participants answered questions about their marriages every six months for the first four or so years after they tied the knot.
The researchers gauged where each person fell on the sexual narcissism scale by asking them questions designed to target the four components of the trait, including: sexual exploitation, sexual entitlement, lack of sexual empathy, and grandiose sense of sexual skill.
… [T]his research showed a correlation, not causation, between sexual narcissism and cheating.”
So, pretty much just steer clear of selfish jerks who make you feel bad about yourself, and you should be good! No need to wait for the “narcissist” diagnosis.
They’re Financially Dependent On You
It may sound counterintuitive, because wouldn’t those who rely on money from their significant others feel more locked in to the commitment, through gratitude or obligation, and therefore be less ly to stray?
According to a study released in 2015 in the American Sociological Review the University of Connecticut that analyzed pooled data of 9,000 people ages 18 to 32 from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, men and women are both increasingly ly to cheat on their spouses the more economically dependent they are on them.
On average, per year, the study found that women who are completely financially dependent on their husbands have a 5 percent chance of cheating and men who are completely financially dependent on their wives have a 15 percent chance. (All of the respondents in the study were heterosexual married couples.)
Korin Miller writes in Women’s Health that “[Researcher Christin Munsch, Ph.D.] discovered that men who made money but weren’t the primary breadwinners were also more ly to cheat.
The sweet spot, she discovered, was when they earned 70 percent of the family’s total income. At that point they were the least ly to cheat.
Women, on the other hand, are less ly to cheat the more money their earn for their families.”
They’re Men Who Work In Finance Or Women Who Work In Education
There are a lot of dating sites, but few so controversial as Ashley Madison, the dating site founded in 2008 designed to facilitate married people’s affairs with one another. “Life is short. Have an affair” was the Canadian company’s simple and shameless slogan.
When, in 2015, the website was hacked, information about over 30 million users in more than 40 countries was released to the public, and mayhem ensued. Everyone was curious to know who was cheating.
Getty Images News / Carl Court
But even before the breach, there was curiosity. A 2014 article from the Toronto Sun reported that Ashley Madison had surveyed 11,163 of its Canadian members to learn, by gender, which professions had the highest concentration of unfaithfuls. The findings for men weren’t incredibly surprising: finance bros and IT guys topped the list.
Third on the list for men was doctors. As the company’s former CEO, Noel Biderman—who’s got to be at least kind of a sociopath, right?—said, “You’re potentially dealing with life and death every day, or at the very least you’re more cognitive of it.” Carpe diem?
As for women, those working in education and as corporate executives were most ly to be having affairs. (Insert tasteless “sexy teacher” joke. Sorry, ugh.)
Tall Men! Men With Large Feet! Men Named Wayne, Liam, Or Ryan!
According to 2014 survey results from the extramarital dating site IllicitEncounters.com (which sounds to us a great source for groundbreaking scientific research), men over 5’10” are twice as ly to cheat as men below that height.
This is “possibly because they are more confident than their shorter peers,” Metro.co.
uk observes …since confidence for a man means being able to do whatever TF he wants even if it emotionally destroys someone he is supposed to care about?
It logically follows, then, that men with larger feet would also be more prone to cheating, which is exactly what another study from the same website indicated. The survey found that men with a shoe size of 10 or higher were at least twice as ly to have an affair outside their relationships than men with with shoe sizes between seven and nine.
Meanwhile, according to a 2014 article published by the Daily Mail, a study of 2,000 women commissioned by the domain name registration site Siteopia.com revealed that Wayne, Liam, and Ryan were the top three “love rat” names.
Getty Images Entertainment / Gareth Cattermole
Personally, we have dated a Ryan and a Liam—coincidentally, our first and last romantic relationships, respectively.
Ryan did two-time us (two times), breaking our 5th- (and 6th-) grade heart, and Liam seemed a good dude, but he broke up with us before we had any kind of exclusiveness talk and we spent at least twice the relationship’s length trying to get over him. ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than…lol jk.
They’re Women With Blonde Hair Or Men With Brown Hair
According to a 2012 study by Cheaterville.com (really?), the largest percentage, roughly 42 percent, of the women using the website (for cheating, if that wasn’t obvious) were blonde. Redheads were the runners-up, at 23 percent, and brunettes came in at about 20 percent of the site’s female users. Black-haired women were at 11 percent.
The same study found that brown-haired men were the biggest cheaters, at about 40 percent of the site’s population. At 32 percent, black-haired men came in second and blondes followed at 20 percent.
Redheads came in last at five percent (which reminds us of this documentary we meant to see but never did that was screening at a film festival we worked at a few years ago about redheaded men having a hard time finding love—if you know the title, please let us know).
As Anna Breslaw points out in Jezebel, though, “Let’s face it, the holes in this ‘data’ could sink a ship, considering it’s anecdotal and doesn’t consider chemical hair dye or baldness, and—oh, right, it’s from a website called Cheaterville.” So yeah.
They’re People With Longer Ring Fingers Or Women With Men Who Have Longer Penises
A 2015 study published by Oxford University and Northumbria University in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters looked at finger measurements from more than 1,300 people, and surveys of almost 600 volunteers in the U.K. and U.S. and found that individuals with ring fingers longer than the index fingers of the same hand were more ly to be sexually unfaithful than those whose ring and index fingers were roughly equal in length.
Researchers said that men and women with longer ring fingers ly soaked up extra testosterone in the womb, and extra testosterone is linked to an appetite for more sexual partners.
In a surprising turn of events (and an inversion of popular mythology), men with longer penises may be more ly to be cheated on, according to a joint study published in the journal PLOS ONE by scientists from the Center for Microbiology Research in Kisumu, Kenya; Kenyatta University in the capital Nairobi; the University of California; and University of Alabama.
The research, which was conducted to learn about people’s affairs and reduce the spread of HIV, questioned 545 fishermen’s wives in Kenya, 34 of whom said they’d had affairs. As the report’s authors wrote :
“Surprisingly, spouse longer fully erect penis was associated with increased lihood of the women having extra-marital partnerships.
From these results, every one inch longer penis increased the lihood of women being involved in extra-marital partnership by almost one-and-half times. Similarly, our qualitative data also support this finding.
Women associated large penises with pain and discomfort during sex which precludes the enjoyment and sexual satisfaction that women are supposed to feel.”
AFP / MOHAMMED ABED
We also wonder if there’s a connection to the fact that many men with above-average penis sizes have the misguided notion that their size constitutes a gift, and they need not put in any further effort. (Spoiler: This is wrong please stop.)
Or None Of These
We aren’t scientists or anything, but we’re pretty sure a lot of these “studies” on cheaters—namely those with super small sample sizes or from sites Siteopia and Cheaterville—are questionable, if not complete trash.
And as one of the researchers from the finger length study, Rafael Wlodarski, told Bloomberg in a phone interview:
“There’s really almost no one that exists who’s purely promiscuous or purely monogamous … Everything we are is a combination of both our genetics and our environment. There’s massive room for variation, and that variation will depend on your upbringing, on your early relationship experience, on your development, and on aspects of free will and aspects of making decisions your experiences.”
Not everyone who cheats is a “cheater”; anomalous situations do exist. Not all “cheaters” are unfeeling, narcissistic monsters. And not all heartbreak—the fear of which is undoubtedly at the root of so many of our attempts to neatly categorize potential lovers as inherently faithful or unfaithful—is caused by cheating. Relationships fail for much less dramatic reasons every day.