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Why do women cheat instead of breaking up?

185 Answers
Last Updated: 03/30/2022 at 11:55pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jessica McDaniel, LPC, LCPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have been practicing cognitive behavioral psychotherapy since 2007 with a diverse group of adult clients with various diagnoses, all races, and socioeconomic classes.

Top Rated Answers
July 7th, 2018 3:01pm
Probably for a variety of reasons. In my experience, one reason is because they're dissatisfied with the relationship and they aren't getting what they need from their partner even though they love them. And they're afraid to have that difficult conversation to end things and hurt someone they love, and maybe some part of them is afraid to lose that partner as well. And cheating perhaps seems like an easier way to do that and be the "bad guy" so you don't have to have those tough conversations.
July 8th, 2018 6:06pm
It is hard to pinpoint why women cheat. Sometimes, a person think they can find more passion, companionship, and fun from someone else. They love the person they are with or do not want to give up what they have, i.e., money, status, associations, family. Affairs can be like taking a holiday. I would say most people do not want to give up their main relationship but feel they are missing something. Because of this, they try to find it in another person.
July 9th, 2018 8:33pm
Is not only women that could cheat, men do it too unfortunately. And the main reason someone cheats and don't break up is because they want to have a backup plan
July 26th, 2018 4:24am
Sometimes it’s hard for people cause they don’t wanna hurt the person they love, but yet, it’s always good to be honest and if you’re not happy with the one your with, leave them. Save them an even more broken heart.
August 8th, 2018 1:54pm
Usually they cheat because they might not want to end the relationship. They might not want to hurt the man feelings, so they cheat to avoid breakups.
August 10th, 2018 11:15am
Some Women cheat most of the times expecting their own interests and so mean try to cheat instead of Break up. The person on the other side gets hurt badly not knowing the things properly and in the end lead himself into Depression. Some Women expect some gain and when this gain is not achieved they cheat instead of Break up.
August 24th, 2018 12:09pm
Many women cheat (instead of breaking up) when their husbands don't treat them right. For example: if the husband is too busy with his job and is ignorant to his wife, she might find a friend or someone who's actually there for her and listens to her and so women would want to be with them. But they would also not want to leave their husband because they still love them and want to be with them. And so they cheat on them, but only because they want to be loved and cared for. This doesn't justify why they'd do such a thing, I'm just saying that this could be ONE of the many reasons
September 21st, 2018 6:39am
I think this a very general statement that simply isn't true for all cases. Yes, some women cheat - and some men cheat. And some women break up, and some men break up. It's really a case by case situation, each person has their own reasons for doing whatever it is they do. When it comes to cheating, I think there's two general reasons why people do it - one is that they're fearful of ending a relationship in case they lose something without having something else to replace it. The other reason is that some people like to have their cake and eat it too - essentially, they want a partner, but also the freedom to do whatever they want. But even those two reasons are broad generalisations that give a very simplistic explanation for these situations, and again, probably don't cover the specifics of each individual case. The only way you'll ever understand why a particular person cheated is to ask that person their reasons, and maybe they might tell you.
October 20th, 2018 7:18am
When we speak of cheating instead of breaking up in the terms of women I believe it is through a few different reasons. For one I must say this isn’t every women, not every lady you date will cheat instead of break up if they feel things are not right. When a woman cheats I believe a major factor to be is fear. If communication is an issue in the relationship or they have suffered abuse in the past they may be scared to tell you that they have found someone else they care about or love. This could be because a previous lover was abusive if they talked to other people or they just don’t know how to communicate the issue. Communication is a big part of every relationship
November 18th, 2018 5:45pm
Love between two people is very strong, and so are connections. If a woman doesn’t feel loved, she might seek it elsewhere, even if she may still be attached to whomever she is currently with. Going through a breakup is extremely hard and a lot of ordeal, so it’s easier to cheat and deal with the consequences rather than leave. Sexual compatibility also plays a big factor, it’s very possible to love and be in love with someone, but not be compatible sexually which can be incredibly frustrating. Even though a woman is in love with that person doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have needs. It can be very hard to not be compatible with someone you love and seek validation elsewhere.
December 19th, 2018 6:04am
First things first: it is not just women that cheat; gender is of irrelevance when it comes to cheating. If you ask me, regardless of gender, the only reason why people cheat is the thought that they have settled for less. A man who thinks that he has settled for a loving but not quite photogenic wife might cheat. A woman who finds that she can hang around men who are willing to spend on her for the pleasures of the flesh might cheat. I am using the word might here because these are not the minimum requirements to cheat on one's partner. Ones who wish to stay loyal will, even in the worst of days. And why anyone would cheat without breaking up is a simple question with a rather simple answer: wanting to eat their cake and have another too.
January 5th, 2019 7:25pm
One of the reasons behind cheating is general unhappiness in an established relationship on some level. The cheater is not happy or satisfied in the current relationship, but the cheater does not feel confident enough for whatever reason to make a clean break and end the relationship. A common reason is that the cheater will not want to 'hurt' the other person in the relationship by leaving, or maybe just the idea of confronting problems head on makes them feel uncomfortable. Maybe it's a fear of lack of stability that a relationship can provide for some people, regardless of how happy or fulfilled the relationship actually is. The partner might provide the cheater with support, be it emotional or financial and the cheater doesn't feel like they can easily give this support up by walking away from the relationship. In general, cheaters will avoid discussing or working on an issue in the relationship and they don't feel they are ready to make a clean break. Instead they seek fulfillment outside their established relationship.
January 16th, 2019 12:45am
Cheating regardless of gender happens for many reasons. Often times it can be a problem in the relationship, but it can also have to do with problems with the individual. People get stuck sometimes and the novelty of new experience can give people an invigorating rush. Especially during challenging life moments that cause a person to question their identity. If there are relationship problems; it can be a lack of communication, compassion, attraction, or any other number of problems. While it's difficult you have to ask yourself; is this person worth it. Is it worth trying to work through it? If you can, engage them in an honest conversation. Try to remain calm and understanding. Only you can decide if you can bridge the gap that has formed between you two.
April 1st, 2019 1:30pm
Breaking up with a partner can be scary. Especially if we haven’t been so open about what we want in that relationship. We often hide our emotions and avoid expressing them to our partner. And by doing that, we lose a bond that we could potentially have with that person, and our connection is no longer that strong. Also, there could be other negative things and issues that can weaken relationships, such as trust issues or abusive behavior. Women often cannot leave their partners because they’re afraid of the unpredictability of their actions. They’re simply stuck. And although cheating is a very bad act, sometimes women do it because they simply do not see another option. That’s why we shouldn’t be so quick to judge them, but should rather listen to their stories first.
May 10th, 2019 7:44am
First of all, I personally think its not about being a woman or man but rather the way that person is, as in their personality and attitude. :) There can be a couple of reasons why people cheat on their partners and not break up. Firstly, it could be the fact that they don't want to hurt their partner by dumping them, but they assume it's fine to cheat on their partners which obviously is more painful than getting dumped. Secondly, some would need more and more attention, as they might find getting attention from just a single person inadequate. Additionally, some even does it for fame, as they might want to be known as the "player", as this gives more attention as well.
July 19th, 2019 4:57pm
Because they feel bad for their partner, they feel as though they cannot voice their own opinion on the relationship and because they don’t want to hurt their partners feelings. They feel like they need a break or a separation of the reality that they have with their partner so they seek that in other people and other partners. It is also because they might feel trapped in a relationship and/or they want more control and a break from the mundane routine of everyday life. It might be to encounter lust and sensuality again or because they are truly confused with the current relationship. Whatever it is, it happens for a reason.
August 3rd, 2019 12:22pm
We have to think in both ways.Maybe they like you but dont want to lose you. There are cases where men cheat too.They all like you for some reason but,they think we are lacking somewhere.So,they try to compensate it by going to others to fill the void.This doesnt actually mean that we are lacking.It means that,they are not the one,if you find such person,then keep your distance.You will know when the right person comes. It saves time,energy,resources and heart break .Your partner should be someone who you can satisfy and you are more than satisfied with.Dont settle for less!!
August 16th, 2019 9:10pm
Perhaps they are no longer happy in the relationship they are in but the person they are with is going through a rough time so breaking up could lead to their mental health worsening or they are in a toxic relationship but it's comfortable. They don't have to go through what is thought of as a hassle: breaking up so cheating is just how they cope.
August 23rd, 2019 4:05pm
I think women cheat instead of breaking up because they may feel like their partner has forgotten about them. Instead of talking to their partner about how they feel, they cheat so they can get some attention. They might think that "maybe if i do this, then 'so and so' will realize that they need to put in some more work, and maybe they will get jealous". I also think that sometimes people just don't think about what they're doing. Maybe they miss that feeling of the first kiss. Or maybe they are just unhappy in their relationship and need a reason to end things.
August 24th, 2019 2:06pm
I don't think we truly know what's happening completely in someone's mind. It could be a number of factors. I would think it could be due to being unhappy, or something about the relationship is not fulfilling their needs or expectations. Sometimes I think people bury their problems instead of facing them because it's easier than having to deal with the stress, confrontation or discussion. I don't think it's a gender issue, I think both men and women cheat because they have an issue in their lives they can't, or won't, deal with. Either way, communication with your spouse/partner should come first but, unfortunately, that's not always the case.
October 5th, 2019 6:46am
It can be difficult to accept that your relationship has come to an end, and instead, many individuals seek to find comfort and that missing "spark", or a distraction, with someone else to take their mind of the issue at hand, or to make themselves feel better by causing anger instead of dealing with the issue at hand. From here, many will choose to move forward with cheating, lying, or hiding with someone else in order to make their life seem more full. In short, there is no one reason for this behaviour, and no one type of person that can engage in it, but unfortunately, it is a coping mechanism.
November 17th, 2019 2:33am
They do not wish to hurt someone that they feel that they have had a commitment to, but they seek more attention or something else in another person. They don't want to hurt the person, but wind up hurting them by cheating. They feel that if they can do it without getting caught then it doesn't hurt anyone. Cheating is the solution that they see and the one they choose. They may not want to hurt the person they are with, but at the same time they are not satisfied with their current relationship. They feel stuck and cheating is their only way out.
November 27th, 2019 5:08pm
Well, it has been forced onto women that if they break up with someone and break their heart for no obvious reason, they are a horrible person, and don't deserve to have someone. But, if they cheat it gives the guy a reason to break up with her, making it the man's choice. Or, they simply find that they love both men, or, she feels the one she's having the affair with can give her something the other can not. She may not see a way out of the first relationship, and makes her see cheating as her only choice.
December 25th, 2019 7:04am
Women cheat because of lack of communication. Sometimes we all need space and men are more possessive to provide them with that. I am a guy myself so i know it better. Communication is the key for a good relationship. You must be able to talk about anything and everything. And in no way it will a woman's fault if she is not able to share her heart. Its your responsibility to make her feel secure and respect her opinion no matter how it is. Women are never afraid of being corrected but they dont like rejection. When you laugh out at their opinions, stands or decisions, you make them feel bad or may be disrespected even if that wasn't your intention. She cheated because she couldn't say it that she has lost an interest in you. But along with this know a thing that even you are not at fault. You are the way you are. Few improvements can take place but you cant change your personality. So worry not. She isnt with you because you two werent the perfect people for each other. So keep seeking till you meet your best person of life.
December 26th, 2019 1:09pm
Not all women cheat. Not all men cheat either. But there is no one answer to why one does cheat. It can be many different reasons. If you have been cheated on, it is not your fault. Just that person has different morals and ideas to why they decided to cheat. Asking them will always end with either you being blamed for their own made up reason or because they lack empathy. But even if there is some blaming to why you were cheated on. Do not take it fully to heart but take it as there is some ounce of truth. Use it to improve yourself and not become cynical. Lastly, talk to someone and give yourself time to heal because your trust will be broken. You will find yourself with future partners lacking trust because of the damage you received from being cheated on. Once you feel you can trust again. Try again.
February 22nd, 2020 8:29pm
I believe that cheating is not exclusive to just women, as men cheat in relationships, as well. When an individual cheats instead of breaking up with someone, they are choosing their desires above anything else. Our desires, our *feelings*, are very important to listen to. When we act in ways that could potentially hurt our partners or ourselves, we are subconsciously hurting ourselves without even realizing it. To answer your question, I believe a person cheats on someone without breaking up because there is a desire to avoid the direct confrontations and feelings associated with breaking up with someone. Sometimes, we still care about the people we are with, even if it means we don't want to be romantically involved with them anymore. So to protect their feelings, we hurt ourselves and act out in ways that could potentially hurt our partners. When we do this, we are subconsciously sabotaging ourselves and the relationship. The best course of action is to acknowledge our feelings and make the decisions that are in our best interest, even if they are difficult. Focusing on the bigger picture can help you focus on your needs and what you want, rather than what you have lost.
February 22nd, 2020 10:23pm
That’s a tough one depending on the female you are dating. But there are multiple factors to consider, but what type of person is she would diagnose a possible cause of why You might find it hard to believe but she feel trapped in the relationship depending on who she is with at the time she might find some flaws which she dislikes or you might remind her of her father. This might be a bit of both her needs aren’t being fulfilled and also inability of confront the said person and addicted to coitus is another cause of why.
March 20th, 2020 12:48am
This is not at all a gendered phenomenon. People of all genders cheat presumably because they do not have enough empathy to end their relationship first. If they were to consider the other persons feelings then they would realize that it is best to end it first. Another reason might be that they do not feel brave enough to end things first, thus prioritizing their own comfort in the situation over the other persons. Again, this demonstrates a lack of empathy for the other person. I personally believe it is bare minimum human decency to break up with someone first in these situations.
March 21st, 2020 1:58am
People cheat for lots of reasons. Fear of confrontation, dishonesty to the self, wanting to escape to a different fantasy, low self esteem, boredom, or external factors where they cannot formally leave. Other times, the second relationship was formed because the other party is not aware they are drifting into an affair boundary with a colleague or a friend they had spent too much time with. Another may be because they see marriage or relationship as a set of duties they tick off and then they can "go have fun." Of course, some people just don't care but most of these people are not within the norm.
May 9th, 2020 11:53am
Women may cheat instead of breaking up because they feel that they aren't in a happy relationship, but are too nervous or anxious to tell their partner. They may also have just felt that they have made a mistake, and that it wasn't a purposeful action. They can also feel very upset, anxious, nervous about telling their partner or disappointed in themselves for what they feel they have done is very wrong and will ruin the relationship that they are in if they are happy in that relationship with their current partner. They don't feel that they can talk about it.