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What is Cheating in a Relationship? Types, Causes, and Effects

What is Cheating in a Relationship?

Cheating or infidelity is one of the most widely used terminologies in a relationship. However, not everybody that mentions the word knows what it means in a relationship.

It can occur to both men and women.

In this article, we will look at how cheating can be defined, its causes as well as effects.

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What is Cheating in a Relationship?

According to Webster’s dictionary, infidelity is when you engage in a sexual or romantic relationship aside from your partner.

The reason why cheating or infidelity is not clearly defined is that it usually involves several things. This means cheating goes beyond just sexual involvement, it covers so many other things.

To put it in our own way, cheating is an act of unfaithfulness exhibited in any partnership.

6 Types of Cheating

Anytime there is an act of cheating or infidelity in a relationship, it often can be classified under a given category. There are several of those categories, but we will look at the 6 major types.

The six types of cheating are:

  • Physical Infidelity
  • Emotional Infidelity
  • Cyber Infidelity
  • Financial Infidelity, and
  • Micro-Cheating

Let’s shed more light on the items above.

Physical Infidelity

This simply involves any physical or sexual connection outside the relationship. Emotional components may or may not be present in this case.

Emotional Infidelity

This is when one of the partners in a relationship et attached emotionally or intimately to another person. This type of infidelity does as much damage as done by physical infidelity.

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Cyber Infidelity

This type of infidelity involves the viewing of erotic content on the internet. This can be either through watching pornographic content or engaging in messaging groups or apps with sexual content.

Financial Infidelity

In this case, one partner withholds his financial earnings information from the other. They keep money in accounts or cash that the other partner knows nothing about.


This is when one partner engages in things like flirting without the intention of straying beyond the relationship borders. Things like stalking your ex on social media is a typical examples.

Causes of Cheating in a Relationship

What causes chatting in a relationship can be varied and complex, with personal factors being the major drive. A prominent cause is a lack of sexual satisfaction or the lack of sexual relations entirely. Other salient factors include open communications, reciprocating affections, and validation.

If any of these or other factors fall short, the relationship is likely to get exposed to cheating.

The major reasons why people cheat may include one or a combination of the following:

  1. Lack of affection
  2. Emotional unavailability
  3. Negligence
  4. Avoidance of conflict
  5. Fear of intimacy
  6. The quest for variety
  7. Lack of commitment
  8. Sel-esteem
  9. Pride
  10. Resentment

Effects of Cheating

Infidelity’s effect in a relationship can affect both parties. This is the disastrous aftermath of cheating in a relationship. Once exposed, both the person that cheated and the person who cheated upon feeling a ripple effect that may lead the partnership coming to quit.

The most common effects of cheating include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger issues
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sel-loathing

Commom Therapy for Treating Infidelity

Here are the most common forms of therapeutic treatment for cheating or infidelity in a relationship. In most cases, the treatment would involve both partners.

The three methods used by therapists in treating infidelity include:

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Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)

This metod is used to increase attachment between the couple. Basially, it is aimed at medning the broken bond in the relationship.

The therapists studies the problem and identifies a healtheur pattern to adopt in other the medn the wounds.

Integrative Appraoch

This therapy involves the couple passing through three phases:

  1. Managing the aftermath of the initial crisis
  2. Understaing the factors that led to cheating, and
  3. Deciding to move forward together or part ways

The Gottman Method

This method helps couples to pick up from conflict and make a meaningful relationship out of it. It adopts the “Atone, Attune and Attach” model.

During “Atone”, the offending partner resmorsefully accepts faults. For “Atune”, the couples try to get manage the conflict and get in “tune” with each other. Finally, the “Attach” phase entails rebuilding connections and intimacy.


Cheating in a relationship is very har to deal with due to the numerous reasons that make someone to cheat.

Now that you have learned about cheating in a relation, it is good if you try and avoid it in your relationship. Learning what cheating is and the various types can help you prevent your relationship from going into crisis.

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