Why do people cheat? This is an age-old question that has no absolute answer, but its devastating effects persist to this day. Cheating can occur in any relationship. For instance, in the United States, a study shows that 20% of married couples are likely to encounter infidelity.
Meanwhile, 70% of unmarried couples may have to deal with cheating in the course of their relationship. The statistics calculator reveals most couples cheat due to unsatisfied physical and emotional relations. Couples are compelled by each other, but they are not completely in an emotional relationship with each other.
In this article, we gathered relevant cheating statistics to help you examine the general demographics of individuals who cheat on their partners. Bear in mind, however, that this article does not intend to justify or encourage infidelity. This reading is meant to share relevant information so you can get a deeper understanding of the subject. Also tackled in this article are the reasons why some people get involved in illicit affairs, how honest they are about it, and what happens after they come clean about their infidelity.
Cheating Statistics Table of Contents
Why People Cheat in Relationships
According to Psychology Today, cheating involves different factors, including individual reasons, which encompass gender orientation, personality, personal beliefs, etc. Relationship reasons also play a significant role. There are also situations where an individual can be more vulnerable to cheating, such as being in areas where the general attitude toward infidelity is more liberal compared to other places. While legal views on extramarital affairs tend to be more objective, things are a bit different when they are viewed from a moral perspective.
Top 10 Countries Where Cheating Is Unacceptable
(% of people who view extramarital affair as morally wrong)
Palestinian territories: 94
Lebanon : 92
Source: Pew Research CenterCreated by CompareCamp.com
- The top 10 countries where people consider extramarital affairs as unacceptable are from Asian and African regions.
- 5 in the top 10 countries with most numbers of respondents who consider extramarital affairs as acceptable are from Europe.
- France is the only country that tether between considering extramarital affairs as unacceptable (47%) and not being a moral issue (40%).
- Among the 40 countries included in the study, the Czech Republic had the most number of respondents who claimed that engaging in an extramarital affair is morally acceptable.
- Only Lebanon and Pakistan have zero respondents who agreed that having an extramarital affair is in any way morally acceptable.
Infidelity in the United States and Who Cheats More
- Over 90% of Americans consider infidelity as immoral.
- Around 30% to 40% of Americans cheat on their partners.
- Less than 3% of American adults believe it is not wrong to engage in extramarital sex.
Who cheats more also varies depending on demographics. A study conducted by the General Social Survey shows that different infidelity rates among a group of adults who are married or have been married at the time of the study.
Respondents Who Engaged in Extramarital Sex According to Age Group
Source: General Social SurveyCreated by CompareCamp.com
- 16% of the respondents have cheated on their spouses.
- 22% of the African-American respondents stated that they have cheated on their spouses compared to 16% and 13% of white and Hispanic respondents, respectively.
- 15% of respondents who grew up in a home with both parents present have engaged in extramarital affairs.
- 18% of respondents who reported having cheated on their spouses grew up in broken homes.
- Respondents who were in the 30 and below and 70 and above age groups are less likely to dissolve their marriage even when extramarital sex enters the picture.
- 20% of male respondents reported that they have engaged in extramarital sex compared to 13% of women.
- 11% of female respondents between the ages of 18 to 29 are highly likely to be guilty of infidelity compared to 10% of male respondents.
- Male respondents in the 51-59 age group have the highest infidelity rate at 31%.
- 16% of women in their 60s reported being guilty of infidelity, the highest rate among female respondents.
- The infidelity rate among male respondents in their 70s and 80s reached 26% and 24%, respectively, among female respondents in the same age group.
- In a survey conducted by a website that focuses on cheating with the same sex, 70% of alleged cheaters posted under the LGBTQ+ category are males.
- Another study revealed that 33% of male respondents and 22% of female respondents claimed that they would be more tolerant if their partners would cheat with the same sex.
Infidelity Across Different Generations
A study by YouGov.com looks into the affairs of American adults who were either in monogamous or open relationships. One of the main focuses of the study was whether the respondents engaged in sexual activities with someone else with or without their partners’ consent.
- 11% of respondents reported that they have had engaged in extramarital sex with their partners’ consent.
- 19% of respondents claimed that they had had sexual intercourse with others without the consent of their partners.
- 17% of respondents in 18-29 and 30-44 age groups reported having engaged in sexual activities outside their relationships with their partners’ consent.
- Only 3% of respondents in the 65+ age group have had sexual intercourse with others with the consent of their partners.
Coming Clean or Keeping the Affair a Secret
Not many would openly admit to engaging in illicit affairs outside their relationships. A survey of 441 Americans revealed that although lying about illicit affairs remains prevalent, more people would come clean about their past affairs to their new partners.
Source: Health Testing Centers
- 22.1% of respondents claimed to have cheated and never admitted it to their partners.
- 24% reported that they have engaged in another relationship and admitted it to their partners.
- 76% of respondents admitted their past infidelity to their new partners.
How long does it take for someone to admit infidelity to their partners? According to the same study, this depended mainly on whether the respondents were married or not to their partners.
- 47% of respondents admitted to their infidelity within a week, 26% within a month, and 25.7% after six months or longer.
- 47% of respondents who admitted their infidelity after six months or longer were married at the time.
- Only 29.2% of married respondents admitted their infidelity within a week, and 22.9% opened up about it to their spouses within a month.
- 46.9% of men admitted their infidelity within a week, which is close to 48% of women who did the same.
Admitting infidelity is never easy, but guilt played a major role among the majority of the respondents, among other reasons.
Source: Health Testing Centers
- 47% of the respondents reported that guilt was the reason why they admitted their infidelity to their partners.
- 39.8% were not happy with the situation and believed their partners should know.
- 23% admitted because they were caught by their partners.
- 11% admitted that they feared they contracted STD and had to let their partners know.
The relationship status also appears to play a big role in how long someone can keep their affairs a secret.
- 47% of married respondents waited six months or longer before admitting their infidelity to their spouses.
- Less than 30% of married respondents admitted to having an affair within a week or a month.
- 52% of respondents in a relationship (but not married) admitted to cheating within a week.
- Less than 30% of respondents in a relationship waited at least a month before coming clean about their affair.
Source: Health Testing Centers
How Truthful Are Those Who Admit to Cheating?
Admitting to infidelity turns out to be the easier part. The difficult part is laying down the entire truth about the affairs to partners or spouses, which no one among the respondents was able to do with all honesty.
- Among the respondents who reported that they cheated by engaging in physical intimacy (kissing and sexual activities), only 73% claimed that they admitted the level of infidelity to their partners or spouses.
- Less than 40% of respondents whose affairs ended up in pregnancy told their partners or spouses about it.
- 53% of respondents who contracted STD from the person they were having an affair with admitted the situation to their partners or spouses.
Life After Infidelity
Coming clean about an affair with a spouse or a partner is not the end of the deal. After that, there comes the life-changing decision of whether a couple would stay together or go their separate ways. More than half of respondents who admitted to cheating had their relationships ended immediately.
Outcomes of Admitting to Infidelity
Source: Health Testing CentersCreated by CompareCamp.com
- 54.5% of respondents went through breakups not long after admitting their infidelity to their partners or spouses.
- 30% reported that they tried to stay together but broke up eventually.
- Only 15.6% of the respondents confirmed that they were still together with their partners or spouses at the time of the study.
- 12.7% engaged in a long-term affair, and 19.1% committed infidelity by engaging in a one-night stand.
Those who stayed together with their partners also had to face the consequences of following new rules.
- 58% of women and 50% of men who admitted to cheating had to let their partners look through their phones.
- 57% of women had to avoid certain friends as compared to 37.5% of male respondents who had to follow the same rule.
- 44% of women had to let their partners have access to their social media.
- Only male respondents had to withhold from sex (50%) and avoid certain friends (37.5%) as part of the consequences they had to face after admitting to having an affair.
Individuals Who Had to Follow New Rules After Admitting to Cheating
(Only those who are still together with their partners.)
Let their partners look through their phones: 55.7
Let their partners look through their phones%
Avoid certain friends: 48.5
Avoid certain friends%
Limitations on going out: 43.3
Limitations on going out%
Let their partner access their social media: 39.2
Let their partner access their social media%
End the affair: 30.9
End the affair%
Withhold sex: 28.9
Only communicate with the opposite sex with permission: 27.8
Only communicate with the opposite sex with permission%
Get tested for STDs: 23.7
Get tested for STDs%
Limit alcohol intake: 19.6
Limit alcohol intake%
Source: Health Testing CentersCreated by CompareCamp.com
Cheating in Modern Times
In conclusion, society’s general view toward infidelity is negative, but the frequency of occurrence says otherwise. The issue is that not everyone who cheats would admit even to themselves that they’re engaging in an affair. For instance, some do not consider flirting online as cheating until physical intimacy comes into play. In addition, what is socially acceptable when it comes to infidelity varies, depending on who you ask. It is, however, safe to conclude that cheating these days is not at all rare, and it is harder to keep it a secret.
- Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Infidelity in America
- How Common Is Cheating & Infidelity Really?
- America’s Generation Gap in Extramarital Sex
- Emotional Infidelity: A Surprising Issue in Lesbian Relationships
- Countries That Care About Cheating the Least
- The Most Unfaithful Nationalities
- Global Views on Morality: Compare Value Across 40 Countries
- Young Americans Are Less Wedded to Monogamy than Their Elders
- Admitting to Cheating: Exploring How Honest People Are About Their Infidelity
- Once a Cheater Always a Cheater, Says Unique Study on Infidelity