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chelle21689's avatar

Do you think most people cheat and feel guilty?

Asked by chelle21689 (7502points) May 16th, 2010

I know this girl who is close friends with my cousin. She’s been married for 5 years and my cousin found out that she has a boyfriend that her husband doesn’t know about. My cousin asked why she cheats and if anything was wrong with her marriage. The lady said that nothing is wrong with their marriage, it’s like perfect, they’re very happy together and that she loves him. But she feels like she wants more…in a way of being greedy. Having a “bad” boy…so she cheats on him and doesn’t feel bad about it. Her husband trusts her completely and has no clue.

I’ve met a couple people who cheat just because they want more. Do you think most people are like this? Cheat because they just want more and it has nothing to do with their relationship? Makes me feel bad because her hubby trusts her and has no idea.

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49 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Extra pair copulations are very common. It was previously thought that women had less of them than men, but this is probably an artifact due to under-reporting. It is an adaptive mating practice, which refreshes the gene pool.

filmfann's avatar

I think it depends on who you are inside. I am not someone who would be comfortable

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tinyfaery's avatar

I’d like to think that most people do feel guilty for cheating, even if that person never admits it or displays any behaviors that might reveal the guilt. True sociopaths are rare.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I honestly feel that if someone did cheat on someone else, they would naturally feel some sort of guilt somehow. Unless of course they didn’t have a conscience. My first wife cheated on me and when I found out about it at the tail end of our marriage, it felt like someone kicked me in the stomach repeatedly, as hard as they could.

Cheating is something that I just could never bring myself to do because I know how much it can hurt someone and the dire consequences for the relationship that could occur from doing it. I’m of the opinion that if someone is in a poor relationship, getting counseling or ending the relationship would be preferable to cheating on your mate. If you’re in a good relationship and you’re cheating anyway, that seems to me to be very unusual and unhealthy for the relationship.

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bongo's avatar

I hope that she does feel gulty, it would show she is human and compassionate. I also think that she would be very upset if things were the other way round with her being the faithful one and her husband cheating. surely she could imagine how she would make him feel and if that doesnt make her feel bad I have no idea what would. The last thing you want when you are in a good relationship is to make your SO upset and cheating would make him distraught.
she obviously cant see past her own viewpoint.
Open relationships do work for some people but only when the both know the score. this way she is just treading all over her husband and taking his love for granted.

dpworkin's avatar

It would be nice to think that people felt guilt about these issues, but for the most part they are impulsive acts, ill-understood by the people who do them, have a deep and long evolutionary history, and lack of guilt over an epc certainly does not imply sociopathy.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I would hope that she does feel guilty, but she may not. I have a family member that decided (after 12 years of marriage) to cheat on her husband. Then, when she found out she was pregnant, she left her husband and kids behind to go live with her “boyfriend”. Her husband had a vasectomy, so she knew it wasn’t his. The only thing she feels guilty about is leaving her kids, she doesn’t care about what it did to her now ex-husband. It’s sad, but it is possible for some people not to feel guilty.

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chelle21689's avatar

I hope he finds out one day. He even sticks with her when he found out she couldn’t have babies.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think most people cheat.

As to why people do cheat, I suspect their reasons are as varied as they are.

eden2eve's avatar

Many people have personality disorders, such as Borderline Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or are Sociopaths, as previously mentioned. And some are just so selfish that they are capable of doing things to people they claim to love and seem to escape feeling any remorse.

Others, who are not in the categories above, would feel guilty and remorseful. Perhaps some feel that something is missing, and impulsively try to fill the need. Many lose something precious to them and have deep regret later.

dpworkin's avatar

@eden2eve I’m sorry, but I couldn’t disagree more strongly. A vanishingly small minority of people have personality disorders of the type you mention (Axis II, Cluster B) and comparatively huge numbers of people engage in extra-marital or extra-couple relationships. You are really misinforming people and perhaps should do some research before making flat, unsupported assertions.

Jeruba's avatar

Maybe I’m just naive or old-fashioned, but I don’t believe most people cheat. Of those who do, I have no idea how many feel guilty, but I hope most of them do.

dpworkin's avatar

@Jeruba I recommend some research over a mere expression of belief. Here is one place to begin:

The evolution of desire: Strategies of human mating : image: New York: Basic Books. 262 pp. Hardback. ISBN 0–465-07750–1.
Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 17, Issue 3, September 1994, Pages 449–450
H. J. Eysenck

j3fr0's avatar

People who cheat should be burned at the stake.. oj.. These Mario Kart cheaters are doin my head in… =P

Jeruba's avatar

@dpworkin, I don’t feel a need to advance my knowledge in this subject since it doesn’t touch me in any way. My interests lie elsewhere. My belief was identified as such so it could be evaluated accordingly.

dpworkin's avatar

Ahh, a soaring defense of useless misinformation: “It’s not my problem.”

marinelife's avatar

@dpworkin What are you on about?

“About one in five adults in monogamous relationships, or 22 percent, have cheated on their current partner.” Source

That is by no definition “most people”, which is what @jeruba said. Your comment was really out of line.

dpworkin's avatar

Those are the ones who have admitted to it, in one study. I have seen different studies which I trust more. That’s what I’m “on about”. Empirical evidence. I’m sorry you think that a defense of sound information is “out of line”, perhaps that reflects a difference in our priorities.

Jeruba's avatar

@dpworkin, were you characterizing me as defending useless misinformation? If so, I’m disappointed in your estimation of me and surprised at your instantly belligerent stance.

I offered my personal belief with qualifier and did not class it as information at all. I also acknowledged that more might be learned, without challenging your learning. I defer to your learning. Calling it belief explicitly lets anyone know that it is not to be relied upon as fact.

dpworkin's avatar

I didn’t mean to be belligerent. I am merely sick unto death of unsupported flat assertions on Fluther. I apologize for having incorrectly included your post.

Jeruba's avatar

It is absolutely true that this is my belief. I offered no support because I don’t call it fact. I do know the difference. But I think I will make an effort to stay out of your way today.

dpworkin's avatar

Was that an insufficient apology? Tell me how to make amends, and I will try.

perspicacious's avatar

I feel kind of like @Jeruba. “Maybe I’m just naive or old-fashioned, but I don’t believe most people cheat. Of those who do, I have no idea how many feel guilty, but I hope most of them do.”

Narl's avatar

Okay, I’ll say it. I’ve cheated and not felt guilty.

marinelife's avatar

@Narl That’s sad.

SeventhSense's avatar

I don’t think so but I think that may be due to the fact that I have never cheated on someone I was in an exclusive relationship with. And I’ve been met some dynamite women so it’s served me well.

eden2eve's avatar

@dpworkin , that wasn’t merely a supposition on my part. I have much personal experience with these types of disorders, and have done a great deal of research.

This report from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) discusses the prevalence of personality disorders.

“Science Update
October 18, 2007
National Survey Tracks Prevalence of Personality Disorders in U.S. Population

NIMH-funded researchers recently reported that roughly nine percent of? U.S.adults have a personality disorder as defined by the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-IV. Many people with personality disorders were also found to have co-occurring major mental disorders. These findings are from the first nationally representative survey of the prevalence of personality disorders and were published in the September 2007 issue of Biological Psychiatry.”

So let’s see.. that translates to roughly one out of ten Americans suffering from a personality disorder. Do you consider that to be “a vanishing small minority”? If so, I couldn’t disagree with you more.

dpworkin's avatar

In your original post you spoke of pathological narcissism and soiciopathy (Antisocial Personality Disorder.) I happen to know the epidemiology and the prevalence for these two diagnoses. The survey I posted early suggests that the likeliness of an episode of extra-pair copulation in any one couple is approximately 50%. Kindly provide the proof that the majority of these people are pathological narcissists or sociopaths. One’s personal experience is generally not considered empirical evidence, but I am wondering how you happen to know so many severely disturbed individuals.

Trillian's avatar

I can not answer for “most” people. I don’t believe that anyone can know the heart of another, especially a load of strangers who participated in a survey that does not allow for complete answers.
I know that my SO cheated on me and not only did not feel guilty, he blamed me.
I know that cheating is something that I abhor and would not engage in myself.
Does that make a 50% of people surveyed?

meagan's avatar

No. They don’t feel guilty. Thats why they do it. Usually the reason why people even call it a “relationship” is so that they can get regular sex from you later on. Its all about the sex.
Sex is why we’re all here. And we’re all wired to be obsessed with it. Theres no ooey gooey love. Its just sex.

SeventhSense's avatar

@meagan
At 21 that’s what it seems like but that’s far from the whole picture. It’s just an assurance of the continuation of the species. Love is way more than sex.

meagan's avatar

@SeventhSense Cheating doesn’t have an expiration date. It doesn’t stop when youre “young”.

SeventhSense's avatar

@meagan
It’s the second sentence I took issue with.
I must sleep g’night..I’ll respond tomorrow if necessary.

JeffVader's avatar

I suspect most people who cheat dont really feel to much guilt. Or at least not so much that it stops them. I believe people cheat because they’re in the wrong relationship.

eden2eve's avatar

@dpworkin
I stated that many people have personality disorders. This would include other disorders not mentioned in my post.
Nowhere in that post did I say that the majority of cheaters have them. I suggested that the above mentioned disorders, as well as extreme selfishness, might prevent individuals from having remorse over their actions. Two different conditions. One (selfishness) being far more common.
Please read more carefully before jumping to unwarranted conclusions.
As to the reason I know so many with these disorders, I married the wrong person. These conditions can, and do in my experience, have a genetic (or familial) correlation.

Evian's avatar

Trust me, people who are in exclusive relationships, good or bad, and cheat, are first cowards, and second devoid of caring. If that is what defines mental illness then there you have it. In addition, the one who is cheating doesn’t have a clue what love is. They know about manipulation, greed, lust. They are sad, broken people.

dpworkin's avatar

My, aren’t we judgmental.

Evian's avatar

You study them, but I know these liars in person. So, yes, I am a bit judgemental. No apologies.

dpworkin's avatar

Anecdotes =/= data.

paulie67's avatar

In general people tend to put the blame of an affair at the door of someone who is having the affair and the un beknowing as a victim..well there are many reasons for having affairs ..I am not trying to justify it but reasons like a sexless marriage or a partner who does’nt give 100% into a marriage do cause people to stray away from the home.

How can someone be expected to stay loyal to someone who does’nt have sex anymore , never treats them nice and dis respects their partner ..people sometimes cannot afford to leave the marital home for financial reasons so is it wrong that a partner in a relationship does’nt seek his or her needs else where?

Evian's avatar

If you are lying to your partner it is wrong – plain and simple! How is fulfilling your “needs” behind your partner’s back either nice or respectful? How is using your partner for financial gains nice or respectful? If it isn’t working for you lying manipulating and using your partner isn’t the way to go. What should happen is an open honest conversation where you express your unmet needs, and TRUST that you and your partner will work it out. And if it doesn’t work, then it is time to do the right thing and end it.

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