Infidelity Statistics on Men, Women, and Relationships

Updated May 6, 2020
pensive woman

Current research indicates that both men and women are almost equally likely to cheat on their partner, a statistic that used to heavily favor men in the past. Infidelity statistics may not show the whole picture as people sometimes feel a stigma about reporting cheating, but the numbers can give you an idea of the prevalence of cheating in relationships.

What Percentage of Married Couples Cheat?

Finding the exact percentage of married couples that cheat is difficult because most studies rely on self-reporting. While research indicates men and women cheat at fairly close rates, it appears married men still cheat more than women. When you put the data together, about 15-20% of married couples cheat.

  • The rate of cheating increases with age for both married men and married women.
  • In a study titled America's Generation Gap in Extramarital Affairs, 20% of older couples noted that they had cheated during their marriage.
  • About 14% of couples under the age of 55 reported adultery in their marriage.
  • Most people who cheat have been married for 20 to 30 years and are between the age of 50 and 60.
  • More than 50% of cheating spouses, both men and women, on a Truth About Deception (TAD) survey say they confessed to their spouse about their affair.

Statistics on How Many Married Men Cheat

What percentage of married men cheat? According to the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), about 20% of married men report cheating on their spouses.

  • Men in all age groups from 30 to over 80 are more likely than women to be guilty of infidelity in a marriage.
  • Married men report their highest rate of infidelity in their 70s.
  • Black men report cheating on their wives more than Hispanic or White men.
  • An ongoing online survey about cheating at TAD shows that men are more likely to report cheating on their spouse multiple times.
  • Married men are about 25% more likely to report having one-night stands than women.
    shady texting by man in bed

Statistics on How Many Married Women Cheat

The IFS shares that approximately 13% of married women report cheating on their spouses.

  • Women ages 18-29 appear slightly more likely than men of the same age to be guilty of infidelity in a marriage.
  • Married women report their highest rate of infidelity in their 60s.
  • Married women are about 15% more likely to report having emotional affairs than men.

What Percentage of Marriages Survive Infidelity?

Many people wonder what percentage of couples stay together after one cheats. While adultery is no longer a deal breaker in many marriages, infidelity is one of the top cited reasons couples decide to get divorced.

  • According to the American Psychological Association (APA), infidelity in the United States accounted for 20-40 percent of divorces.
  • According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one partner in 88% of couples studied cited infidelity as a major contributing factor.
  • The vast majority of couples from the NIH study who divorced only had one partner share infidelity as a major issue.
  • People who are under 30 and over 70 were the least likely to divorce after an affair compared to those in their 50s and 60s.
  • The APA also cited that 42% of divorced individuals reported more than one affair.
  • In a Gallup poll, researchers noted that more than half of partners say they would leave their spouse and get a divorce if they found out their spouse was having an affair.
  • About 31% of married partners would stick it out and not divorce a cheating partner.
  • Women are more likely to initiate divorce (for any reason) says Psychology Today.

Statistics on Second Marriage From Affairs

Finding the percentage of affairs when one partner was married that last can be a challenge. Statistics aren't favorable for affairs resulting in marriages. In fairness, most second and third marriages fail regardless of why the first one ended.

  • Dr. Jan Halper, in her book on successful men, noted that only three percent of men who engaged in extramarital affairs actually married their mistresses.
  • According to noted marriage counselor Frank Pittman, men who do marry their paramours, have a divorce rate as high as 75%.
  • In an overview of infidelity research from the Zur Institute, it was found that most affairs don't go beyond the "falling-in-love" phase and are short-term.
removing ring

Affair Statistics for Unmarried Couples

Cheating statistics for unmarried couples are much harder to come by than statistics for married couples. However, research indicates unmarried people cheat at almost double the rate of married couples.

  • Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher shares that 60% of single men admit to trying to woo an individual away from another relationship to be with them.
  • About 53% of single women admit they've tried to get another person to leave a committed relationship for them.
  • A 2018 study of unmarried men and women found that 44% of people (men and women) engaged in infidelity.

Statistics on the Reasons for Infidelity in Relationships

While there are a variety of factors in any relationship that might lead a spouse or partner to cheat, studies have found that financial instability can contribute to adulterous behavior.

  • American Sociological Association (ASA) noted that 15 percent of men who are financially dependent on their spouse will cheat.
  • The ASA also noted that young men are more likely to cheat if there is a financial earning discrepancy and men are least likely to cheat if he earns at least 70% of the household income.
  • The more a woman earns, the less likely she is to commit adultery.
  • Married women are about 25% more likely than men to say they cheated because of marital problems.

Why Infidelity Leads To Divorce

Cheating can leave both partners feeling confused, angry and grief stricken within a marriage. Divorce rates tend to be quite high after an affair has taken place with studies indicating about half ending in divorce with many partners noting a feeling of betrayal. If you or your partner have cheated, take time to think about whether ending the marriage or trying to preserve it is the best choice for both of you.

Infidelity Statistics on Men, Women, and Relationships