Cheating is something that often comes as a shock to many people in a relationship, regardless of the genders involved. In particular, when a woman cheats, it can leave her partner feeling betrayed, hurt and confused.

Unlike men, who typically commit infidelity when they are feeling unsatisfied and disconnected from their partners, women usually have more complex reasons for engaging in an affair. There are a number of distinct patterns for why women cheat which are important for their partners to understand in order to repair the relationship or to move on in a healthy way. Here’s a comprehensive look at why women may choose to stray from a monogamous partnership.

Women Are More Likely to Cheat for Emotional Reasons

Although sex can certainly be a motivating factor for both men and women when it comes to engaging in an affair, women are more likely to cheat for emotional reasons such as feeling a lack of connection or a need for emotional support. Oftentimes, they feel that they can’t talk to their partner about their emotional needs, or they don’t believe they are being heard.

Alternatively, a woman may turn to cheating in order to fill the emotional void created by an unfulfilling relationship. For example, if she feels taken for granted or ignored by her partner, her need for emotional connection and fulfillment could lead her to seek it out elsewhere.

Women’s Views of Cheating Are Changing

In previous generations, cheating was traditionally seen as an exclusively male indulgence. As more and more women are becoming educated and empowered, their views of cheating are beginning to change. Many women feel less guilt in engaging in infidelity due to the changing gender roles and outlooks in society. This doesn’t mean that women’s moral views on cheating are shifting, but instead the respect for their capacity for choosing the lifestyles they desire is growing.

Communication Gaps and Insecurities Can Play a Part

Poor communication and feelings of insecurity in a relationship can lead either person to feel distant, disconnected, or unimportant. Both men and women can be guilty of this, and hurt and resentment can result when the needs and wants of one partner go unrecognised or unappreciated.

In some cases, a woman may feel that her partner fails to understand her, or that he does not devote enough time and energy to making the relationship a positive experience for both parties. This can create a nagging doubt in her mind about commitment and trust, which can directly lead to cheating.

The Need for Validation and Reassurance Is Common

We all need to be validated and supported by our partners. Oftentimes, women who are emotionally unstable or have low self-esteem will cheat because they crave admiration and appreciation from a partner they can’t seem to get from the person they’re with.

For example, if a woman was to engage in a steamy affair with someone else, she may receive all of the attention and affirmation that she is unable to get from her partner in the form of compliments and lots of flirting.

Boredom and Lack of Commitment Can Lead to Infidelity

It’s no secret that the honeymoon phase of a relationship can wear off with time. If a woman feels bored or suffocated in her relationship, she may be more likely to turn to someone else to reignite a flame that may have gone out with time.

On the other hand, a woman may cheat out of a lack of commitment. If her partner isn’t willing to move forward with making commitments such as marriage and having children, she may cheat as a way to bridge that space and test her partner’s commitment by seeing if he responds with action.

Family and Cultural Pressure

For some women, cheating may be a response to family or cultural pressure. Perhaps the woman grew up in a family or community where it was expected for a woman to have multiple partners or for her to cater to her husband’s desires no matter what. In this case, cheating may be seen as a way to fulfill this obligation.

Past Relationship trauma

Relationship trauma can also lead to a woman cheating on her partner. If a woman has experienced abuse, abandonment, betrayal or neglect in a past relationship, it can create a deep distrust in all of her future relationships which can lead her to seek out an affair in an effort to feel in control of her own emotions.

From emotional neglect to family and cultural pressures, there are a variety of reasons why women may choose to stray from a monogamous relationship. While cheating can have a devastating impact on any relationship, understanding why a woman might turn to an affair can help her partner to forgive or move on in a healthy way. No matter what, it’s important that both parties open up about their communication gaps and any insecurities in order to create a healthier and more fulfilling partnership.