Infidelity And Cheating Statistics: Who Cheats More? [2022 Data Reveal]

Let’s take a closer look at infidelity and cheating statistics – how common cheating is, who cheats more, where it often takes place, and why they do it.

infidelity cheating statistics

Infidelity is one of the most common areas of strife in relationships and marriages. Whether it happens or not – most couples have a lingering fear that their partner will cheat on them at some point or another.

So exactly how common is cheating? Do cheaters “always cheat,” or can they change their ways? Is it more common in relationships vs. marriages? Here’s the data we’ve gathered on cheating and infidelity:

Top Infidelity and Cheating Statistics You Should Know:

  • Infidelity occurs in approximately 25% of marriages.
  • 30–40% of unmarried relationships and 18–20% of marriages see at least one incident of sexual infidelity.
  • Of unfaithful people, 53% of men and 27% of women admit to infidelity with a co-worker.
  • Only 3% of people marry the people they had an affair with.
  • 76% of cheaters admit their past infidelity to a new partner.
  • 54.5% of cheaters who were caught “broke up immediately,” and 85.5% broke up overall.
  • 75% of divorces say that cheating was a factor in the divorce.
  • 45% of people who cheated on their partner in the first relationship also cheated in the second.

How Common Is Infidelity Among Couples?

Cheating occurs more often than you might think, according to these studies:

  • Cheating or infidelity occurs in approximately 25% of marriages.
    • (Family Process, 2020)1
  • 20-40% of American marriages have some form of infidelity.
    • (American Psychological Association, 2014a)2
  • 44% of American adults reported engaging in infidelity.
    • (Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2017)3
  • Between 17.4% and 32.0% of participants engaged in in-person infidelity.
    • (The Journal of Sex Research, 2021)4
  • 30–40% of unmarried relationships and 18–20% of marriages see at least one incident of sexual infidelity.
    • (Wikipedia on Infidelity, unspecified)5
  • 30-60% of men and 20-50% of women are estimated to have affairs over the course of a marriage.
    • (Journal of Research in Personality, 1997)6
  • 20-40% of heterosexual American married men and 20-25% of heterosexual married women will have an extramarital affair during their lifetime.
    • (Tsapelas, I, HE Fisher, and A Aron, “Infidelity: when, where, why.”, 2010)7

Men vs. Women: Who Cheats More?

Does this mean that men cheat more? Here’s what the data says: 

  • When asked, “Have you ever engaged in sexual activities with someone else without the consent of your main romantic partner?”. The top responses were:
    • Men:
      • 23%: “Yes, I have”
      • 71%: “No, I have not”
      • 6%: “Prefer not to say”
    • Women:
      • 13%: “Yes, I have”
      • 82%: “No, I have not”
      • 5%: “Prefer not to say”
    • (YouGov, 2020)8
  • Of cheating spouses, 90.9% of women (57,095 respondents) and 77.1% of men (24,858 respondents) admit to having an emotional affair.
    • (Truth About Deception, 2022)9
  • When asked, “Have you ever thought about cheating on your partner?”
    • Men:
      • 41%: “Yes, I have.” 
      •  28%: “No, I have not”
    • Women:
      • 39%: “Yes, I have”
      • 54%: “No, I have not”
    • (YouGov, 2015)10
    • Note: The answers “Not applicable,” “Don’t know,” and “Prefer not to say” have been removed, so answers may not equal 100%.
  • When asked, “Have you ever cheated on your partner?” Responses are by gender:
    • Men:
      • 21%: “Yes, I have” 
      • 67%: “No, I have not”
    • Women
      • 19%: “Yes, I have”
      • 71%: “No, I have not”
    • (YouGov, 2015)10
    • Note: The answers “Not applicable,” “Don’t know,” and “Prefer not to say” have been removed, so answers may not equal 100%.
  • 71.9% of men (23,169 respondents) and 53.1% (33,329 respondents) of women surveyed said they had cheated through one-night stands.
    • (Truth About Deception, 2022)9

Countries With The Highest Rate of Cheaters

Interestingly, infidelity isn’t consistent across countries. Here are the countries with the highest number of cheaters by percentage.

Top 10 countries with the most cheaters:

  1. 71%: United States
  2. 68%: Germany
  3. 66%: United Kingdom
  4. 61%: Thailand
  5. 57%: Brazil
  6. 57%: France
  7. 53%: Russia
  8. 49%: Japan
  9. 46%: Romania
  10. 44%: Australia
    • (OutrageMag, 2020)11

(Values are the percentage of people who admitted to cheating out of 1,000 respondents.)


Infidelity in America by Age and Race

Does cheating vary depending on age?

  • When asked, “Have you ever cheated on your partner?” grouped by age and race.
    • Age
      • 18-29 years old:
        • 16%: “Yes, I have” 
        • 68%: “No, I have not”
      • 30-44 years old
        • 20%”Yes, I have”
        • 65%: “No, I have not”
      • 45-64 years old
        • 22%: “Yes, I have”
        • 72%: “No, I have not”
      • 65+ years old
        • 22%: “Yes, I have”
        • 70%: “No, I have not”
    • Race
      • White
        • 18%: “Yes, I have”
        • 74%: “No, I have not”
      • Black
        • 27%: “Yes, I have”
        • 56%: “No, I have not”
      • Hispanic
        • 25%: “Yes, I have”
        • 56%: “No, I have not”
    • (YouGov, 2015)10
    • Note: The answers “Not applicable,” “Don’t know,” and “Prefer not to say” have been removed, so answers may not equal 100%.

Infidelity in the Digital Age

Has cheating gotten easier with the internet being widely accessible? It seems like that might be the case:

  • 80% of people become addicted to an online affair if they have one. 
    • (WECT (Worcester Emergency Communications Team), 2011)12
  • 25.7% of women surveyed say they have used an online service to cheat on their spouses.
    • Compared to 20.9% of men say they have used an online service to cheat on their spouses.
    • (Truth About Deception, 2022)9
  • 40.0% of women and 30.6% of men say they have engaged in cybersex: chatting sexually with someone other than their spouse.
    • (Truth About Deception, 2022)9
  • 14.1%-26.6% of participants in another study say they engaged in online infidelity.
    • (The Journal of Sex Research, 2021)4

How Long Does an Affair Usually Last?

Most affairs aren’t long-term relationships, with over 60% ending in under a year, according to these studies: 

  • The “in-love” stage of a love affair typically lasts between 6 and 18 months, occasionally as long as three years.
    • (Denise Bartell, Ph.D., 2009)13
  • 25% of affairs last less than a week.
    • (WECT (Worcester Emergency Communications Team), 2011)12
  • 65% of affairs ended within the first six months.
    • (WECT (Worcester Emergency Communications Team), 2011)12

Where Do Most Infidelities Take Place and With Who?

When someone is cheated on, one of the most common questions asked is how they met and how they knew the person they cheated with. According to these studies, co-workers or friends are the most common culprits:

Of people who were unfaithful:

  • 62% of men and 57% of women admit to infidelity on a business trip.
    • (Gleeden, 2017)14
  • 53% of men and 27% of women admit to infidelity with a co-worker.
    • (Gleeden, 2017)14
  • 24% of men and 13% of women admit to having sex with someone they cheated with at their place of work.
    • (Gleeden, 2017)14
  • When asked how they met the person they cheated with or were tempted to cheat with, respondents said: 
    • Women
      • 40.6%: “They were a friend”
      • 33.3%: “At work”
      • 17.5%: “Out and about”
      • 12.4%: “In a bar”
      • 7.1%: “On social media”
      • 4.7%: “On a dating app or website”
      • 4.2%: “On a business trip or vacation”
      • 0.7%: “At school”
      • 0.2%: “On a website specifically for cheating”
    • Men
      • 32.9%: “They were a friend”
      • 28.6%: “At work”
      • 21.8%: “Out and about”
      • 19.5%: “In a bar”
      • 14.9%: “On a dating app or website”
      • 7.3%: “On social media”
      • 6.9%: “On a business trip or vacation”
      • 3.0%: “On a website specifically for cheating”
      • 0.3%: “At school”
    • (Superdrug, unspecified)15
  • Only 3% of people marry the people they had an affair with.
    • (WECT (Worcester Emergency Communications Team), 2011)12

So if most people don’t end up sticking with the person they cheat with, do they end up telling their spouse?


Confessing Infidelity

Most affairs end with a confession or being “caught” – and it turns out it’s most often done by the person cheating:

  • When asked, “Have you ever cheated on a relationship?”
    • 22.1%: Yes, but I never admitted it to my partner.
    • 24.0%: Yes, and I admitted it to my partner.
    • (Health Testing Centers, 2021)16
  • Percentage of people admitting past infidelity to a new partner:
    • Yes: 76%
    • No: 24%
    • (Health Testing Centers, 2021)16
  • How long people wait before telling their partner they cheated:
    • Total:
      • 47.7%: Within a week
      • 26.6%: Within a month
      • 25.7%: 6 months or longer
    • Men:
      • 46.9%: Within a week
      • 27.4%: Within a month
      • 25.7%: 6 months or longer
    • Women:
      • 48.0%: Within a week
      • 26.0%: Within a month
      • 26.0%: 6 months or longer
    • In a relationship:
      • 52.4%: Within a week
      • 27.2%: Within a month
      • 20.4%: 6 months or longer
    • Married:
      • 29.2%: Within a week
      • 22.9%: Within a month
      • 47.9%: 6 months or longer
    • (Health Testing Centers, 2021)16
  • Reasons for admitting to cheating:
    Note: The top 3 reasons have been displayed for breakdowns by gender and relationship status.
    • Total overall: 
      • 47.0%: “Guilt”
      • 39.8%: “I wasn’t happy and needed to let them know”
      • 38.6%: “I thought they had the right to know”
      • 23.7%: “They knew I was cheating or caught me cheating”
      • 23.3%: “I thought they might find out through someone else”
      • 16.9%: “I was afraid they’d catch me”
      • 12.3%: “We were getting more serious in the relationship”
      • 11.0%: “I thought I might have an STD and they would find out or need to know”
    • Men
      • 50.9%: “Guilt”
      • 38.4%: “I wasn’t happy and needed to let them know”
      • 27.7%: “I thought they had the right to know”
    • Women
      • 52.8%: “I wasn’t happy and needed to let them know”
      • 43.9%: “Guilt”
      • 39.0%: “I thought they had the right to know”
    • In a relationship
      • 52.7%: “Guilt”
      • 41.5%: “I thought they had the right to know”
      • 38.3%: “I wasn’t happy and needed to let them know”
    • Married
      • 46.8%: “I wasn’t happy and needed to let them know”
      • 27.7%: “I thought they had the right to know”
      • 25.5%: “Guilt”
    • (Health Testing Centers, 2021)16

Getting Caught in the Act

Are people caught in the act, or do they confess on their own? Here’s what one survey of cheaters found:

  • When asked, “How did your spouse discover the truth?“. The top responses are:
    • 56.7%: “I confessed on my own” – 14,692 respondents
    • 21.5%: “Spouse investigated” – 5,563 respondents
    • 8.3%: “I confessed when accused” – 2,157 respondents
    • 8.0%: “Accidental discovery” – 2,060 respondents
    • 4.5%: “A third party told my spouse” – 1,174 respondents
    • 1.0%: “Other” – 250 respondents
    • (Truth About Deception, 2022)9
  • 47.8% of women (30,017 respondents) and 39.0% of men (12,554 respondents) who have cheated say their partner found out about it.
    • (Truth About Deception, 2022)9

More often than not, it seems like cheaters confess to their infidelity on their own, without a push from a third party or getting “caught.” So what happens when their partners do find out?


Outcomes of Infidelity

When a partner confesses to or is caught cheating, you wouldn’t expect that relationship to last long. But, here’s what studies have shown happens – it might surprise you!

  • Outcomes of couples after the cheating incident:
    • 54.5%: “We broke up immediately”
    • 30.0%: “We tried to stay together but broke up eventually
    • 15.6%: “We are still together”
    • (Health Testing Centers, 2021)16
  • Relationships that stayed together after a cheating confession:
    • By Affair Type:
      • 12.7% stayed together after a long-term affair
      • 19.1% stayed together after a one-night stand
    • By Relationship Status:
      • 13.6% of those who stayed together were in a relationship
      • 23.6% of those who stayed together were married
    • (Health Testing Centers, 2021)16
  • When asked, “Have you ever taken a partner back after they cheated on you?” respondents say:
    • 25%: Yes, I have
    • 55%: No, I have not
    • (YouGov, 2015)10
      Note: The answers “Not applicable,” “Don’t know,” and “Prefer not to say” have been removed, so answers may not equal 100%.
  • Of people who had to follow a set of rules after cheating:
    • Total:
      • 55.7%: “Let my partner look through my phone”
      • 48.5%: “Avoid certain friends”
      • 43.3%: “Limitations on going out”
      • 39.2%: “Let my partner access my social media”
      • 30.9%: “End the other relationship”
      • 28.9%: “Withhold sex”
      • 27.8%: “Can’t communicate with the opposite sex without permission”
      • 23.7%: “Get tested for STDs”
      • 19.6%: “Limit alcohol or substance intake”
    • Men:
      • 57.5%: “Limitations on going out”
      • 50.9%: “Withhold sex”
      • 50.0%: “Let my partner look through my phone”
      • 37.5%: “Avoid certain friends”
    • Women:
      • 58.9%: “Let my partner look through my phone”
      • 57.1%: “Avoid certain friends”
      • 44.6%: “Let my partner access my social media”
    • (Health Testing Centers, 2021)16
    • Note: top 3 responses used for each gender.
  • When asked, “Did your partner implement rules or consequences you needed to follow or fulfill for you to stay together after you cheated?” :
    • In a relationship:
      • Yes: 47.5%
      • No: 52.5%
    • Married:
      • Yes: 61.0%
      • No: 39.0%
    • (Health Testing Centers, 2021)16
  • 75% of divorces say that cheating was a factor in the divorce.
    • (WECT (Worcester Emergency Communications Team), 2011)12
  • 27.78% of divorces were caused by infidelity in another study.
    • (American Psychological Association, 2014b)17

The Reasons and Predictors of Infidelity

People cheat for a lot of different reasons, but here’s what studies have shown are the most common ones:

  • When asked, “Why did you cheat on your partner?”
    • Total:
      • 35%: “I felt flattered by the attention”
      • 42%: “I felt emotionally deprived in my relationship”
      • 36%: “I was dissatisfied with my sex life”
      • 10%: “I enjoyed the thrill of cheating”
      • 15%: “I was unable to commit to one another”
    • Men
      • 31%: “I felt flattered by the attention”
      • 38%: “I felt emotionally deprived in my relationship”
      • 44%: “I was dissatisfied with my sex life”
      • 10%: “I enjoyed the thrill of cheating”
      • 15%: “I was unable to commit to one another”
    • Women
      • 39%: “I felt flattered by the attention”
      • 47%: “I felt emotionally deprived in my relationship”
      • 27%: “I was dissatisfied with my sex life”
      • 10%: “I enjoyed the thrill of cheating”
      • 15%: “I was unable to commit to one another”
    • (YouGov, 2015)10
      Note: Respondents can select all that apply.
  • Top 5 reasons Americans have been tempted to cheat or have cheated:
  • Women
  1. “My partner stopped paying attention to me.”
  2. “The other person was really there for me.”
  3. “I was having doubts about my relationship.”
  4. “The other person was really hot.”
  5. “I was bored.”
  • Men
  1. “The other person was really hot.”
  2. “People were hitting on me.”
  3. “I was having doubts about my relationship.”
  4. “My partner and I weren’t having sex.”
  5. “My partner stopped paying attention to me.”
  • (Superdrug, unspecified)15
  • The top predictors of in-person infidelity or cheating are:
    • Relationship satisfaction
    • Solitary desire
    • Dyadic desire
    • Relationship length
    • Some kind of sexual activity (vaginal sex, anal sex, or oral sex)
    • (The Journal of Sex Research, 2021)4
  • The top predictors of online infidelity or cheating are:
    • Never having had anal sex with their current partner
    • Relationship length
    • Solitary desire
    • (The Journal of Sex Research, 2021)4

How Many Cheaters Cheat?

Is the saying “Once a cheater, always a cheater” true? Here’s what studies have shown:

  • 45% of people who cheated on their partner in the first relationship also cheated in the second. 
    • Of those who had not cheated in the first,  just 18% cheated in the second.
    • (Psychology Today, 2017)18
  • When Americans who cheated were surveyed on how many times they’ve cheated:
    • “Once”
      • 59.9% of Men
      • 68.2% of Women
    • “Two or more times”
      • 40.1% of Men
      • 31.8% of Women
    • (Superdrug, unspecified)15

If just under half of the people who cheat do it multiple times, they must not have much of a problem with it… right? Well, it’s not always so simple.


How Many Americans Regret Cheating in a Relationship?

It turns out that most people regret cheating, even if they’ve cheated multiple times:

  • When asked if they regretted cheating:
    • People in a relationship:
      • Yes: 72.7%
      • No: 27.3%
    • Married people:
      • Yes: 67.4%
      • No: 32.6%
    • (Health Testing Centers, 2021)16

Conclusion

Studies like these show that cheating and marital infidelity are unfortunately fairly common, despite people who do it feeling guilty and regretting their actions. Almost all affairs end poorly, and almost no one ends up with the person they cheat with. And based on these studies, it’s probably not going away any time soon. 

Footnotes

  1. Family Process, 2020. An article on Infidelity in the time of COVID-19.
  2. American Psychological Association, 2014a. A study of 134 American married couples.
  3. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2017. A study of 484 American participants
  4. The Journal of Sex Research, 2021. A study of 891 Americans in study 1 and 202 Americans mixed-sex couples in study 2.
  5. Wikipedia on Infidelity, unspecified.
  6. Journal of Research in Personality, 1997. A study of 214 American married individuals
  7. Tsapelas, I, HE Fisher, and A Aron, “Infidelity: when, where, why.”, 2010. A meta-study on infidelity.
  8. YouGov, 2020. A survey of 1,342 U.S. adults
  9. Truth About Deception, 2022. An ongoing survey of 95,083+ worldwide respondents. Survey results are updated each morning due to their source in the form of a quiz that is ongoing.
  10. YouGov, 2015. A survey of 1,000 American respondents.
  11. OutrageMag, 2020. A survey of 30,000 respondents from 30 countries.
  12. WECT (Worcester Emergency Communications Team), 2011. An NBC affiliate, according to various studies cited in an article on affairs.
  13. Denise Bartell, Ph.D., 2009. Psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay in a 2009 article by WebMD.
  14. Gleeden, 2017. A survey of 8,201 Gleeden (worldwide, a dating site for married people) members.
  15. Superdrug, unspecified. According to an article of 2,000 Europeans and Americans by Superdrug, The UK’s Number 1 Digital Health Service.
  16. Health Testing Centers, 2021. A survey of 441 American respondents. Note: Manually calculated this statistic from the study
  17. American Psychological Association, 2014b. A study of 134 heterosexual American married couples. Statistics manually calculated based on data.
  18. Psychology Today, 2017. An article by Scott M. Stanley Ph.D. of Psychology Today.
Dainis Graveris

Dainis Graveris

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