Cheating: Who's doing it and why

MSNBC.com/iVillage survey finds it's easier to promise fidelity than keep it

"The fallout from affairs is not as much fun as the fling," says Leiblum. "When affairs come to light, the damage to the relationship is quite substantial. It can take months and even years to lessen the toxic effect of disbelief, anger, hurt and betrayal and even then it’s not totally gone."

A 29-year-old woman who has been on the receiving end of such a betrayal agrees. "When someone cheats on you, it destroys your self-worth."

Love keeps us true

What about the true blue among us? What motivates those who stay faithful? It’s not lack of opportunity. Only 8 percent of men and 4 percent of women say they’ve never had the chance to fool around.

For the most part, love does keep people faithful. While 68 percent of men in a monogamous relationship say they've desired someone else and 43 percent of women have had the hots for another person, they're not lighting their fires with someone else's match.

More than three-quarters of participants say they are too much in love to be unfaithful and 68 percent don't want to risk losing their partner. Love of one's partner was also one of the main reasons why people stopped cheating (20 percent).

Even among couples that have been together for more than 30 years, four-fifths of women and two-thirds of men report being faithful during the entire relationship.

For some, remaining faithful is the ultimate symbol of dedication. "She is the love of my life," writes one 31-year-old man about his wife. "I searched years to find her and I would never want to ruin what took so long to find."

© 2007 MSNBC Interactive

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