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  • Writer's pictureDiana Steen

2023 Infidelity Statistics: Are Men or Women more likely to cheat?

Some of the most adrenaline-packed–if not heart-wrenching, to say the least-files a private investigator can find themself on is an infidelity surveillance case. A suspected cheating spouse/partner, lies, cover-ups, and sneaking around. At the same time, these can be some of the most satisfying cases to crack – as a PI has to out-sly the cheater who is sneaking around. These cases are always deeply personal and emotional – sometimes even dangerous. In this blog, you’ll find surprising infidelity statistics and hear a first-hand story from one of our private investigators about what it’s like to catch a cheater in the act.

But let’s start with the age-old question: Who’s more likely to cheat –Men or Women?

Despite changing gender norms, men are still more likely to cheat than women. According to recent data gathered from the General Social Survey, 20% of married men and 13% of married women admitted to having sex with someone other than their spouse. However, infidelity rates among women are on the rise – having increased by 40% in the last 20 years. Data from married adults ages 18 to 29 says that women are slightly more guilty of infidelity. In adults 30 years and older, though – men are always more likely to cheat.

Okay, let’s break down cheating by age:

In recent years we are seeing more adults cheat into their 50s and their 60s. The highest infidelity is in men 60-69 years of age, though just a decade ago, the highest infidelity was among men in their 50s. For women, their highest infidelity rates happen at 50-59 years, whereas a decade ago, the same was true of women in their 40s.

When you interview men 65 years and older, it turns out that 25% of them admit to cheating, and only about 10% of women over 65 do.

So are married people or unmarried couples more likely to cheat?

About 40% of unmarried relationships and 25% of marriages see at least one incident of infidelity. Statistics show that those who grew up in intact families (with both biological or adoptive parents) cheat less frequently (15%) than those whose parents divorced (18%).

Yet statistics also show 70% of all Americans engage in some extramarital affair sometime during their marital life (so it depends on how you define cheating here – because it’s not always just sex).

Good point – What about Emotional Affairs?

It turns out women are more upset by emotional infidelity than men are. 73% of women said they would be very upset by emotional cheating, and 56% of men felt the same. But women also have more emotional affairs! One study found 78.6 percent of men and 91.6 percent of women admitted to having an emotional affair.

According to a Deseret News survey, women consider the following cheating:
  • An active online dating profile

  • Being emotionally attached to another person

  • Sending flirtatious messages

  • Dinner with someone you have feelings for

  • Visiting a strip club alone or with guys

  • Keeping in touch with your ex through social media

What really struck us is how many more people are cheating online these days, creating a new category of online affairs and cyber-sex cheating. According to a study in Computers in Human Behavior, 18% to 25% of Tinder users are in a committed relationship while using the app. When looking at Americans only –this amount skyrocketed to 42% admitting to being married or in a committed relationship while using Tinder. Studies show 10% of adults in a relationship find their partners online using websites such as Ashley Madison.

Not only are people finding partners to cheat with online, but some are also engaged in cybersex video chat rooms. This is more prevalent among younger adults – and studies show 90% of those who cheated with online cybersex formed an addiction to it.

Do people tell their partner they cheated?

It’s almost 50/50 whether people do or don’t tell their partner they cheat. According to Health Testing Centres, one study found 52.1% of people who cheat admit it to their partner, while 47.9% don’t admit it to their partner but do admit it to someone else. 47% of people said they admitted to cheating out of guilt. Another study that found only one-third of cheaters admitted it to their partner found women were more likely to confess than men–but they also found some evidence to suggest the women admitted in retaliation.

After admitting to cheating, 54.5% of couples broke up immediately, and only 15.6% declared to be together still.

Do the affairs last?

One-night stands and short-term affairs seem to be the norm when it comes to cheating. According to several studies, 25% of all affairs last less than one week, while 65% end in the first six months. Only 10% turn into long-term affairs.

Okay, so most affairs don’t last. But is it true, “once a cheater, always a cheater”?

According to a study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, people who cheat once were three times more likely to cheat again in their next relationships.

What’s worse – people who were cheated on were more likely to be cheated on again by their next partner!

In which jobs are you more likely to cheat?

In a Gleeden survey covering 8,000 respondents, 57% of women and 62% of men admitted to having an affair when they were away on business. The affair was with a coworker in 53% of the men and 27% of the women. Women in the medical field tend to cheat more (23%), with education ranking second (12%), while men working in trades tend to cheat more (29%), with Information Technology ranking second (12%). Entrepreneurs were equally likely to cheat among both genders (11%)

So why do people cheat?

44% of men report cheating on their partner because they wanted more sex – and excitement was reported to be a powerful motivation. 40% of women reported cheating for emotional reasons, such as needing attention or wanting to feel desired. 33% cheated on their partner to find out if they were still desirable. And get this – 11% of surveyed women cheated as revenge.

Apparently, self-image also plays a role, and stats show that 35% of women and 25% of men who are confident with their bodies are more likely to cheat.

American Sociological Review also found finances can play a role. Individuals who are economically dependent on their spouses are also more likely to cheat on their spouses. Infidelity increases to 15% when the man is dependent on the woman financially, as compared to 5% when the woman is dependent on that man.

Now for a bonus PI story about busting a cheater in the act!

One of our private investigators was asked to spy on a woman’s boyfriend who was attending a multi-day business function with his suspected lover. Intending to follow him to the function, our private detectives found themself at an international airport, watching the subject board a plane with an unknown woman. The suspecting girlfriend gave us the green light to jump on a plane to follow him to a different country! With eyes on him the whole time, our investigator confirmed the suspected affair with surveillance evidence.

But get this – the whole time the boyfriend was away cheating, he was sending the girlfriend fake photographs of himself that he had planned in advance to try to prove he was at the business function the whole time! That’s right. He was sending photos of himself in suit-and-tie at a conference while getting fresh on the beach.

Could it be happening to you?

Hiring a private investigator is the best way to find out if you’re being cheated on. This client had run it over in her mind repeatedly that something was going on and even confronted her partner about infidelity. But he made her feel crazy. Not to mention this can even put you in a dangerous situation. If you hire a private investigator to catch a cheating spouse, you can get the answers you need –and evidence that can stand in court.

When you hire a private investigative agency like Pallas Consultants, you get the experience you deserve. We deal with cases of all kinds and have a team of professional, compassionate and discreet private investigators to help you get the answers you deserve and help you through this challenging time. With decades of experience, we have invested in additional training with our team to deal with clients facing stressful and traumatic experiences.


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