Why do Happy People Cheat? (feat. Esther Perel)

I sat down with the incredible Esther Perel, relationship expert and psychotherapist, to get to the real truth about cheating.

Our conversation was mind-blowing, and taught me some huge, powerful insights into relationships that I just had to share with you…

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62 Replies to “Why do Happy People Cheat? (feat. Esther Perel)”

  • Wonderful video!
    Thanks, Matthew!
    I wonder, how is it possible, to show a guy your vulnerability without scaring him off or coming across as needy
    I don’t want to be dramatic, but I come across as indifferent instead…

  • Matthew your title is misleading/click bait. Ms. Perel even states at 3:08,”I don’t want to say it’s happy people that cheat. It’s people who are in unhappy relationships…” In other words, her clientele are people who are unhappy in their relationships and want to work on mending their relationships.

    It’s pretty simple. Why do people cheat? Answer: Because s/he is selfish and most likely, immature. There is no excuse to cheat. The only reason why the cheater apologizes is because s/he was caught, and if s/he had not been caught, s/he would still be doing it. If a person is unhappy in a relationship, s/he works it out with his/her partner or ends the relationship-not cheat.

    The majority of people think that love is the most important component of a relationship (ex. books, movies, etc…). That is not correct. Trust is the most important component of a relationship; it is the foundation of a relationship. Is it possible to have a relationship after your partner cheats on you? Well, how likely is your cheating partner able to gain your complete trust again? Therein lies your answer.

    A genuinely happy relationship is built on trust. Once trust has been established in the relationship and two people are committed to protecting that trust, there is a certain spirit of freedom that is experienced. The freedom to be who you are and know that you are accepted, faults and all, by your partner, and life tastes so much sweeter.

    So empower yourself to be the best person you can be and set and live by realistic standards.

    1. Note: I was miserably unhappy in a relationship with a man who cheated on me many times. I wasted my time giving him multiple chances to redeem himself. I finally ended the relationship and took a good, honest look at myself, my dating patterns, and my standards. Now, I am in a happy and healthy relationship with a good man. Empower yourself, not the cheater. You are worth it.

    2. Agree 100% Mary. I notice that most of the comments are from woman (at least looks that way by the names). Some men get cheated on as well. In my case my ex-wofe felt un-appreciated and we had on going tension between us. Ex wife is a narcissist and meeting a fellow narcissist while we were having trouble opened up the Pandora’s box. Very difficult to have a stable relationship with a narcissist
      Ex cheated on me for 2 years before she left our home. It created an incredibly toxic environment for everyone, us and our 2 boys. Her partner was also married and lying to his wife. It was ugly all around.
      I found out early on and confronted her about it. She continued to deny it, which made it worse. Situation got to the point where I’m lucky I didn’t give into some dangerous impulses.
      I understand the reasons’s she wasn’t happy, even though she’s narcissistic. She didn’t do the right thing and move out as she had nowhere to go. Her partner was still married and the ex didn’t have the courage to go out on her own.
      Once I found out I didn’t want to fix anything – I just wanted her gone. That was 2009. Now I’m very happily married and guess what – the ex won’t leave me alone. She can’t handle the fact that I got remarried.
      Long story short, there’s not always deep reasons why people cheat, I think most people are wired certain ways and they will eventually go that way. And if someone does cheat to get attention then that means they can’t handle honest communication. I think the old salesman expression is totally relevant – Caveat Emptor – buyer beware. Extreme situations (eg abuse) are different but for most of us, men or women, I think cheating just indicates that the person’s overall priority is themselves and their feelings of satisfaction. Not much you can do with that. Better off learning to accept the situation for what it is, get the leech out of your life and move on.

      1. Went back and listened to the video again. Not able to edit first paragraph of my original comment. I was wrong; Matthew and Ms. Perel are both talking about “people in happy relationships who cheat.”

        Regardless, a person who cheats does so because s/he is selfish. (See above for my explanation).

  • Interesting ideas, and I can understand the multiple perspectives that you are both talking about. What I would like to hear from you is how you fix and rebuild yourself after a psychologically abuse relationship. And not only did he cheat but had built another life with another woman. I found that I was the third female he had done this too. I would be interested to hear ideas on that type of subject?

  • Cheating is not even a solution for any issue regardless whether in relationship or in working life. In fact, there is a big player company in the world adopting cultures such as “Tell Me”, “Nurture Trust”, which tells that we need transparency and honesty to build trust for better future, improvement and to sustain in the arena of the business.

  • so true. What Mary says. Unhappy cheat. A successful relationship is definitely built on trust and communication. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a relationship.

  • This video talks about when a man cheats on a woman… how about we get a perspective of the vice versa? Can a man grow over his partner cheating on him?

  • hello sir, i want to ask that, how can i get girl ? because i’ve been single for 2 years. And i want to know what are the clues how to get the heart of a woman.

    1. Hey Maya! We haven’t released the full interview yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as it’s up! It should be amazing and worth the wait ;) – Mars

  • Esther Perel encourages victims of infidelity to suffer more abuse. She justifies cheating as an “act of exuberant defiance”. But it’s not – cheating is emotional abuse.

    Matthew, please distance yourself from this quack. Your overall message is for women to build more self-esteem, which is the opposite of what comes from this woman.

  • I’m so disappointed that you didn’t engage with Esther on an intellectual level of your many years and experience of relationships. But that you chose to speak for your clientele who you obviously presume to be innocent little girls instead of grown women navigating the complexities of life.
    The mock anger you presumed where blame is totally levelled at the person who “fucked up” is precisely the sort of cliched reaction Esther completely steers away from.
    She is awesome and I’m glad you got to spend some time talking to her. I think she is totally fascinating and I’m sure you are too Matt.
    Kathryn xx

  • Thanks for the video. For me it’s the fear to being cheated on that has kept me in my mind for the last few days. I am constantly in comparison mode lately. It drives me nuts. This video has helped me to stop a bit.

    I have been on the website (fasttracktomrright) to see the whole interview. Unfortunately I cannot find it.

    Could you tell me where it is?

    Thx for your help

    1. Hi Jacqueline! So glad this video helped! We haven’t released the full interview yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as it’s up! – Mars

  • Hi Matthew,

    Wow, that was quite the subject to open up. But you are right. She is great, love her already. Thank you for this interview, introduction and I’m curious for he whole hour interview.

    Like the people you interview. Keep up the good work, Matthew!


  • I can completely understand Ester’s view however it makes complete sense in theory but is highly difficult to carry out in real life.
    The fact is that trust is the most important factor in any relationship especially intimate ones. That along with respect.
    Once the trust has been broken and disrespect has been shown the relationship will never be the same.
    In theory it’s great to think an affair could be a catalyst to strengthen a bond and reevaluate the weakness in a relationship but the realities of living day in day out with someone who you now have to wonder what they’re doing is highly difficult.
    From past experiences I’ve reached a level now where I’m not prepared to waste my life with someone who doesn’t conduct themselves with the same level of respect, maturity and loyalty I do so therefore if I was to find myself in a situation where my partner cheated on me I would end the relationship then and there.
    I am unwilling to waste time reliving the hurt and dealing with the fears that come with staying attached to someone who I can’t trust.

    1. Carla, I hear where you’re coming from, and I think you are right. But I don’t think Perel is endorsing staying after cheating. I think she is addressing the fact that it has become taboo to decide to stay. So she is offering supporting arguements for those women who do want to stay, whereas this advice obviously wouldn’t apply to a woman with your standards.

  • awesome ten minutes – I loved it . Although I did not have a husband that cheated over 30 years. THANKS I could see so many people I know in this situations.

  • Thank you for this insight on infidelity. I was just recently cheated on and I’m still trying to get through it. It was the 3rd time in our relationship that he’s cheated and I just couldn’t take it anymore. You’d think people will change and learn from their mistakes, but I feel as though I should just give up.

  • Such a wonderful and difficult topic. Discussed many of these things in marriage counseling just this morning. When is the full interview going to be released and how do I watch it? Can’t wait to one day catch her live at one of her many talks and appearances.

  • My situation is that I am a female in a relationship with my boyfriend and I have cheated. I do love him but he did t fill my need to be appreciated and given gifts. I discussed with him about my needs not being met. He says my desire for tokens if love is just s hikddigger way if md getting things. So I chest. I did tell him I hscd chested do that he wanted to know the reason and it was because I kept giving and wasn’t getting my needs met. I have left out relatuibshio bevsuse I felt I was only his love for sex. If he really loved me what I needed to feel love he would try just because it made me Happy. I feel now. Free / years that his needs took priority. Mine were not. It felt wonderful that another man understood after I told him shattered made me happy.. so besides doing what I needed I felt we became intimate sharing and filling each other’s needs. I’m not a goldigger I only wanted small tokens just a thought that that he took time to know what I like and spent his money or time to give me something just for me.. I liked to enjoy. I know now that with experience I deserve real love.. I would of Nd ed cheated if my boyfriend had made me a priority . He only gave me things that he liked nothing I would want. So this said to me.. he just didn’t want to really get to know me. I don’t say what I did was right but when you give snd give . To your partner and communicate what is important to be happy and he devalued that it’s hurtful and makes the partner feel not worthy . So I’m glad I got an opportunity to hzvd thst experience even though it broke my trust . I feel that I learned that both partners needs are impoertant and not doing all the giving.. do I continue my love journey for happiness in love. It took a affair to make me aware my needs are important and how wonderful I felt when I experienced that.. I’m looking for the whole package .. love with the sharing and making each other the priority .. thsts the only way a true healthy relationship evolves.. that is from my heart. Kstrina

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