In a 2017 Gallup poll, only 9% of Americans said infidelity was morally acceptable. If you've never cheated, then you might have a hard time understanding what drives a person to break the bonds of trust in a relationship. What inspires someone to jeopardize their existing partnership for the sake of one night with a stranger? How does someone live with themselves while secretly dating multiple people at once?
As it turns out, there's actually a specific personality trait that tends to crop up in the psychological profiles of people who repeatedly cheat on their partners.
Experts seem to agree: cheating and narcissism go hand in hand
True narcissism is more than simply liking what you see in the mirror.
The American Psychological Association considers a narcissist someone who is convinced that they warrant special treatment and repeatedly takes advantage of others to satisfy their own desires.
The narcissist feels that the normal rules shouldn't apply to them, and that what they want should supersede anything else. They also perceive their own attractiveness, sexual prowess, and intelligence to be above average.
Being in a relationship with someone who operates this way is a perfect setup for infidelity.
"People who have been conditioned to always think about what makes them happy and content - and believing their needs being met is the most important thing - are more likely to be serial cheaters," Sydney-based clinical psychologist Jacqui Manning told Mamamia.