Compulsive cheating, also known as serial cheating, is a psychological issue that experts argue runs deep within the structure of the individual’s brain. In fact, it has been linked to some form of addition such as a dependency on food and drugs. Cheaters often struggle with issues of some form of addition. According to renowned psychologist Dr. Susan Edelman, “There are many psychological reasons why a person has the urge to cheat, but the best explanation is one that Bill Clinton used in explaining his affair with Monica Lewinsky. He said he did it ‘because [he] could.”
Ok great, well…not so great… because there have to be more reasons than simply a person could. After all, we all could do a lot of things but don’t. So What causes this disorder…..
Childhood Trauma/ Sex addiction.
Many trauma experts say any form of childhood abuse whether it’s physical, emotional, sexual increases the odds of a child developing some form of compulsive behaviors. So, during childhood, children might fantasize about scaping the abuse in various ways, but sadly, for many, they might develop components of compulsive/ obsessive disorders which are intrusive preoccupations.
Typically, when a person has a proclivity toward chronic cheating/sex addiction, their brain is overloaded with say viewing porn nearly daily, misreading others signals such as a good conversation or smiling often when talking with them, or taking a person’s comments as a little hint that they want to jump in the bed.
And when they are in relationships, they run the risk of having a poor sexual life due to their unrealistic fantasies that their partners cannot fulfill Patrick J. Carnes, PhD has written best-selling books on the topic of sex addiction. In his book, The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships, he writes,
“Addicts can clearly know they need to stop and cannot. Despite the consequences, they continue high-risk behavior. They become so obsessed with the behavior that all their life priorities—children, work, values, family, hobbies, friends—are sacrificed for the behavior and the preoccupation that goes with it. He adds, “The addiction becomes a way to escape or obliterate pain. The addict needs the behavior in order to feel normal…”
Chronic Psychologic disorders
Bipolar disorder has been written and spoken about for decades. And although many people have become formalized with this condition, there’s much complexity about this disorder especially when it comes to sex.
Anyone who has lived with an unmedicated bipolar person, knows how trying it can be to navigate the person’s moods swings, acts of rage, and overall mind-draining behaviors. A major challenge for untreated bipolar persons is hypersexual thoughts. When a bipolar person is in their manic phase, there’s a high chance of them engaging in inappropriate and/or risky sex. If not addressed early, these individuals can seek to fill their unhealthy sexual obsessions by looking for prostitutes, going to sex clubs, masturbating in public, and their problems are compounded because they might feel little regret for their compulsive cheating, which led to more and more problems because anxiety, depression, or shame doesn’t cross their minds.
Marcia Purse, a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate writes, “Hypersexuality is listed as one of the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder…understandably if you’re experiencing a manic episode and you succumb to your urges, you’re putting your relationships at risk, as well as yourself. Unrestrained hypersexuality can place you at an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).”
Problems with Neuroplasticity
Researchers who study the brain have long discovered and argued that Neuroplasticity plays a vital role in our overall functioning. Neuroplasticity gives us the ability to structure our thoughts, attempt to control our feelings, and act as a barrier when it comes to behaviors that we might want to think twice about.
“What we do know so far is that neuroplasticity has enabled people to recover from stroke, injury, and birth abnormalities, improve symptoms of autism, ADD and ADHD, learning disabilities and other brain deficits, pull out of depression, anxiety, and addictions, and reverse obsessive-compulsive patterns,” writes Debbie Hampton.
And for people who are overcoming any form of addiction and mental health issue, unless they are able to reconstruct parts of the brain, very often destructive habits can take over such as ongoing cheating and sex addiction.
Attachment and Relationships
All children have to develop some form of attachment with a caregiver (parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, and otherwise). Cleary, when that attachment is broken time and time again, there’s a high chance that trauma later in a person’s life can manifest itself in destructive ways such as chronic cheating and sex addiction.
Experts who have spent years studying attachment styles have discovered that we fall into one of the four types—although at any given time, we can cross over to any type.
Shahram Heshmat Ph.D writes, “One view of addiction contends that it is an attachment disorder. Evidence indicates that insecure close relationships serve as a risk factor for addiction.” She adds, “Individuals who have difficulty in establishing healthy attachments are more inclined to substitute drugs and alcohol for their deficiency in intimacy This explains why lonely people are more vulnerable to abuse drugs. These individuals may be self-medicating their feelings of emptiness and internal discomfort.”
The four attachment styles are
- Individuals with this attachment style are not only concerned with rejection, and while they enjoy being in relationships, they have enough confidence to recognize when adjustments need to be made.
- These people struggle with intimacy. They often
- The people have might be preoccupied with the desire to be close with others or in a relationship but are too anxious and insecure.
- These individuals are uncomfortable with intimacy and untrusting of others in a relationship. They often have unresolved emotions that makes them frightened by past experiences and traumas.
The reality is, chronic cheating/sex addiction requires a great deal of unpacking because there are many variables that play a factor in its cause. And treatment options are very given that many professionals are trained in different theoretical ways to treat this disorder. The purpose of this article was to provide some knowledge about why a person might struggle with chronic cheating and sex addiction. But, thankfully, there are thousands upon thousands of articles, support groups, and treatment suggestions on Google—so take comfort in knowing help is out.
Always remember, “It takes only love, patience, honesty, and understanding even to shake the hardest of hearts or turn a cheater to a Perfect Suitor.”