Extramarital Relationships: Understanding the Cheater’s High

Extramarital Affairs and the “Cheater’s High”

If you have ever felt turned on by a person other than your spouse, you likely experienced a high even if the relationship never went beyond initial attraction.  Psychologists believe one of the reasons 10 to 20 percent of people in committed relationships have affairs is because of what they call the cheater’s high.

According to an article by Psychology Today, technology makes it exceedingly easier for married people to cheat. Researchers with the University of Washington conducted a study that concluded that getting away with cheating gives people positive emotional and psychological feelings. Although people experience a high, there are other factors to consider before engaging in extramarital romantic relationships.

Perceiving cheating as victimless

Experts say some of the participants in the study who felt positive emotions about cheating perceived the cheating as a victimless “crime.” They also didn’t anticipate a punishment because of anonymity. In reality, other people may catch a person who cheats, especially in the era of hidden cameras and cellular phones.

Experiencing moral and ethical conflicts

Another possible downside to cheating is the moral and ethical dilemma some people experience. Unethical behavior triggers negative thoughts and feelings in some people, but not always. Because of the cheater’s high, some people who cheat don’t experience bad feelings. Instead, they feel good about getting away with something taboo in society.

Before engaging in extramarital romantic or sexual relationships, consider the consequences. Play out different possible outcomes including ones that hurt other people. Also, it is important to realize that if someone catches the cheater, he or she often experiences significant anxiety and stress as intense as post-traumatic stress disorder. On the other hand, you can also weigh the rewards that go along with your sexual deceit. In the end, cheating is about circumventing rules and mental gymnastics that some people crave.

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