Given the secretive nature of infidelity, exact figures about cheating and extra-marital affairs are nearly impossible to establish, but listed below are some of the most well supported facts about cheating.
- Some 30 to 60 percent of all married individuals (in the United States) engage in infidelity at some point during their marriage. And these numbers are probably on the conservative side, since close to half of all marriages end in divorce (people are more likely to stray as relationships fall apart).
- About 2 to 3 percent of all children are the product of infidelity. Men who are not their biological fathers unknowingly raise most of these children. DNA testing is finally making it easy for people to check the paternity of their children.
- Infidelity is becoming more common among people under 30. Many experts believe this increase in cheating is due to greater opportunity (time spent away from a spouse) and young people developing the habit of having multiple sexual partners before they get married.
- There are no definitive “signs of cheating, but in hindsight the pattern becomes clear.”
- Men are more likely to cheat than women. But, as women become more financially independent, women are starting to act more like men with respect to infidelity.
- Emotional infidelity, compared to just physical infidelity, can inflict as much, if not more, hurt, pain and suffering. Most infidelity involves both physical and emotional betrayal.
- Emotionally, it is possible to have feelings for more than one person at a time. Pragmatically, loving more than one person is difficult to do. In many cases, infidelity never gets discovered.