Do men cheat more often than women? Should you confess if you've had an affair? Is cheating always about sex? Read on for the top 12 infidelity myths and the truth, or lack of it, behind them
Myth 1: People cheat because they're unhappy at home
If you're female, this is usually the case. Women in long-term marriages who are having affairs report low satisfaction with their marriage. For men, on the other hand, that's not necessarily the case.
Many men who love their partners and have great sex at home rarely turn down an opportunity for a bit on the side if they think they can get away with it. In one study, 56 per cent of cheating men surveyed said their marriages were very happy. Only 34 per cent of unfaithful women agreed.
Myth 2: Men cheat much more than women do
This used to be the case, but now the infidelity scales are balancing out. Why? Women cheat for the same reason as men: it's someone new. It's naughty (and therefore nice). But there are other reasons women cite. The affair was a 'reward' for being an unappreciated wife and mother or for putting up with a partner who wasn't affectionate, didn't listen or ignored them. It was an 'ego boost' – gone are the days when we'd treat ourselves to a new lipstick or haircut to cheer ourselves up!
We're still not as blas about affairs as men – women are more likely to feel guilty – but given that studies show we're much better at lying, we're also more likely to get away with it. It's also a myth that it's men who try to turn friendships into affairs. Most unfaithful men see affairs as high opportunity and low involvement.
On the contrary, it tends to be women who push platonic relationships from friendship to love and fantasy to reality, according to psychologists. Women get more emotionally involved and are keen to test out friendships to determine if they'd make for better relationships than their current situations. So she's often seeking a potential soul mate; he's just having fun.
Myth 3: Affairs are mostly about sex
Some affairs are about sex and most certainly include sex because sex with someone else is forbidden, making it very appealing. But sex is not always the reason people cheat. Affairs are a way for people to get something they're not getting from the relationship they're in. It's that simple.
What's not so simple is defining what it is that's missing. In fact, often the cheating partner isn't aware of it. Some people are searching for something they lost as a child, others for lost youth. Some people cheat on 'perfect' partners because they're sick of perfection. It's not always about sex.
Myth 4: If he cheats on you, he doesn't love you
It may feel that way, but it's not necessarily the case. It does, however, mean he doesn't respect you enough to honour the commitment you've made to one another and that he has a different value system than yours.
Some people are more than capable of separating sex from love and physically sleeping with someone else doesn't affect their love for you. Generally, men tend to have sex-based affairs, not emotional or 'love-based' affairs. But, the decision you need to make is whether his definition of love is enough for you.