millennials cheating cheat why study research

These are the main reasons why millennials are cheating on their partners

We usually hear scandalous stories of infidelity surrounding older generations who've hit their mid-life crisis or given up on their marriage. But cheating happens across all demographics, and for a variety of reasons. While no case of cheating is the same, research has found exactly why younger people seem to do it – and it's nothing to do with a (quarter?) life crisis.

According to a study recently published in the Journal of Sex Research, it comes down to two main things. They analysed feedback from 104 "emerging adults" (AKA, millennials) who reported that they had cheated in the past six months. The study found that young people cheat mainly for one of two reasons – issues of independence or interdependence.

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What do those two big I words mean? Well, cheating related to independence comes down to the fact that millennials are discovering what it is to be more independent and therefore wish to have more autonomy in their relationship – not far from the rebellious teenager stereotype, huh?

The interdependence cheaters are a whole other story. This term refers those who won't stand for relationships with unequal effort put in. Sounds great, right? Well, yes, but it also makes them more likely to cheat. The study found that millennials in a relationship where they felt neglected, underappreciated or where the spark was gone would be more like to stray away and find the attention elsewhere if their partner wasn't putting in enough effort. It's a lot to do with how deserving of attention millennials feel.

millennials cheating cheat why study research Credit: Nappy

"Attention is a form of love, it is a behaviour that sustains love on a daily basis — an essential nutrient," LA psychotherapist Brandy Engler, PhD, told Women's Health.

"Millennials have strong beliefs about deserving attention and love and are less shy about seeking attention than previous generations, in my observation," she says. "Getting little or fragmented attention is not going to fly with millennial women. They are more likely to leave or to cheat than previous generations."

The researchers said it was all related to the attachments we form to people close to us in our childhood years – memories not that distant for millennials. Those of the independence infidelity category were thought to be "anxiously attached" to their partner because their desire to be independent were unmet. This meant they were more likely to push their partner away, interestingly, out of fear of losing them.

millennials cheating cheat why study research Credit: Pixabay

The interdependent millennials were "avoidantly attached", meaning because they sought a relationship where each person was equally as dependent on the other, that they were led to cheat because they had trouble getting close to their partner.

But still, while majority of respondents either cited the independence or interdependence issues as reasons why they were unfaithful, 40 per cent of respondents gave unsurprising excuses such as getting drunk, being exceptionally attracted to someone else, and finding the thrill of an affair too tempting.

Well, looks like we're all capable of making the same mistakes, no matter the age.