The Big 5 Personality Traits That Make Cheaters Tick: Exploring their Dark Side

The Big 5 Personality Traits That Make Cheaters Tick: Exploring their Dark Side

When it comes to cheating, we often wonder what drives a person to betray someone they supposedly love. Is it a lack of self-control? A desire for excitement? Or is it something deeper, something ingrained in their personality?

As someone who has spent years studying love and relationships, I’ve come to believe that there are certain personality traits that can make someone more prone to cheating. These are the “Big 5” personality traits, which psychologists believe are the five core dimensions of our personalities.

And while most of us have a mix of these traits, cheaters tend to score higher in certain ones. In this article, we’ll explore the dark side of these traits and how they contribute to cheating behavior. So buckle up, and let’s dive into the twisted psyche of cheaters.

What are the big 5 personality of cheaters?

Cheating is a common issue in any romantic relationship, and it carries severe consequences. A person can cheat for various reasons, such as feeling unfulfilled sexually or emotionally. In most cases, infidelity is related to an individual’s personality and behavior traits. According to a 2005 study on the Big Five model of personality traits, there is a significant difference between cheaters and non-cheaters’ personality traits. Here are the top five personality traits of cheaters:

  • Poor self-control: Cheaters tend to have difficulties controlling their urges and impulses, making them more likely to cheat when given the opportunity.
  • Selfishness: Cheaters prioritize their own needs and desires above their partner’s, making them more willing to break their partner’s trust in pursuit of their own pleasure.
  • Anger: Cheaters often have difficulty managing their negative emotions, such as anger, frustration, or resentment. When conflicts arise, they may be inclined to lash out or seek solace in someone else.
  • Boredom: Cheaters may feel unsatisfied or restless in their relationship, creating a temptation to seek excitement or novelty with another person.
  • Attention-seeking: Cheaters may crave attention and validation from others, and an affair may provide a temporary boost to their self-esteem.
  • Overall, these personality traits are not exclusive to cheaters, but they may increase the likelihood of infidelity. It is important to address these underlying issues in a relationship to prevent cheating and build a healthy, long-lasting partnership.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Lack of Conscientiousness: Cheaters often lack conscientiousness, which means they don’t tend to be careful, responsible or thorough. This may be evident in their day-to-day tasks or even in their relationships, where they tend to neglect the needs of their partner.

    2. High levels of Neuroticism: Individuals who score high on this trait are highly anxious, moody and prone to negative emotions. This could manifest in infidelity as a coping mechanism to deal with their emotional instability or bottling up emotions.

    3. Low levels of Agreeableness: People low in agreeableness are often described as antagonistic, curt or critical. They have difficulty in building and maintaining long-term relationships, which contributes to their propensity to cheat on their partners.

    4. High levels of Extraversion: Extraverted individuals are outgoing and confident, which may make them more prone to taking opportunities to cheat. They might have a roving eye, be more open to suggestions and unmindful of their partner’s feelings.

    5. Low levels of Openness: People low in openness tend to be closed-minded and set in their ways. They may find it challenging to communicate, connect emotionally, or be willing to understand their partner’s perspective, leading to potential infidelity in their relationships.

    What are the Big 5 Personality Traits of Cheaters?

    Cheating in a committed relationship can be a devastating breach of trust and cause significant emotional pain and damage. Cheating is not a new phenomenon, and many factors drive people to cheat, including personality traits. A 2005 study conducted by behavioral psychology professor Todd K. Shackelford revealed an interesting correlation between a person’s personality and their tendency to cheat.

    Personality Traits Associated with Cheating

    The study found that certain personality traits are more common among individuals who cheat in their relationships. These include poor self-control, selfishness, anger, boredom, and attention-seeking behavior. Understanding these personality traits and their potential link to infidelity can help identify warning signs and address them before they lead to cheating.

    The Big Five Model of Personality Traits

    The Big Five Model is a widely recognized personality trait theory that measures five core personality traits, including personality openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Shackelford’s study found that individuals with high levels of neuroticism and low levels of agreeableness were more likely to cheat on their partners.

    Poor Self-Control

    Individuals with poor self-control are impulsive, unrestrained, and have a hard time resisting temptation. A lack of self-control is one of the most common personality traits present in people who cheat. Low self-control makes cheating more likely because it is harder for these individuals to resist the temptation of an affair.

    Key Point: Cheating is easier for people with poor self-control due to their difficulty resisting temptation and making impulsive decisions.


    Selfishness is another personality trait that can lead to cheating. Individuals who are selfish are more focused on their own desires and less concerned about the impact their actions have on others. These individuals may cheat to satisfy their own needs, regardless of the harm it could cause to their partner or relationship.

    Key Point: Selfishness can drive individuals to cheat as they prioritize their own desires over those of their partner or relationship.

    Anger and Boredom

    Cheating can also be a coping mechanism for individuals who experience emotions like anger, frustration, or boredom in their relationship. For instance, someone who is unfulfilled or resentful in their partnership may have an affair as a way to retaliate or feel more fulfilled or exciting.

    Key Point: Anger and boredom can lead individuals to cheat as a way to cope with negative emotions in their relationship.

    Attention-Seeking Behaviors

    Attention-seeking behavior can motivate people to cheat. Individuals who are insecure, crave attention and affirmation, or feel neglected may turn to infidelity as a way to feel wanted and desired. Even if the person’s partner may be doing their best to make them feel loved and appreciated, attention-seekers may feel like it is not enough or feel unfulfilled.

    Key Point: Attention-seeking behavior can lead individuals to cheat as a way to feel wanted and desired.

    Understanding the Psychology of Cheating

    Cheating is a complex behavior influenced by several factors, including personality traits, context, and individual factors such as mental health and emotional well-being. Shackelford’s study and other research can only provide insight into potential warning signs, not a foolproof method. Understanding the psychology of why people cheat and addressing any underlying issues or acknowledged challenges within the relationship can help prevent infidelity.

    Red Flags to Watch for in Relationships

    While it is important not to jump to conclusions or accusations, certain warning signs may indicate that someone is cheating. Of course, some people may exhibit these signs without being unfaithful, but some of the red flags to watch for include:

    • Behavioral changes, including distance and emotional withdrawal
    • Secretiveness and increased privacy, such as password protecting electronic devices and accounts
    • Unexplained expenses or time away from home
    • Changes in appearance or grooming habits that may indicate they are trying to impress someone new
    • Inconsistencies in their stories or inconsistencies with how much time they claim to be at work or doing other activities

    Key Point: Awareness of potential warning signs, healthy communication and regular check-ins, and addressing any relationship issues can help prevent infidelity.

    In conclusion, while personality traits do not determine whether an individual will cheat, research suggests that certain traits increase the likelihood of cheating. Understanding these traits’ potential link to infidelity and addressing underlying issues within relationships can help prevent cheating. It is essential to remember that a relationship requires trust, communication, and openness to remain strong and loyal.


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