Why do Happy People Cheat? (feat. Esther Perel)

I sat down with the incredible Esther Perel, relationship expert and psychotherapist, to get to the real truth about cheating.

Our conversation was mind-blowing, and taught me some huge, powerful insights into relationships that I just had to share with you…

62 Responses to Why do Happy People Cheat? (feat. Esther Perel)

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  1. clevercandy says:

    This is a DANGEROUS message. This is exactly the message that condones and reframes abuse. Are we really taking a step back to early 20th century values? This will not help women to become empowered in relationships. This is a very flawed theory. It’s like saying who cares if he hit you? He did so many other good things, so I can look beyond it.

    You have entrusted the one you are with, with your heart. They break that trust. It’s bollocks to believe that you will ever feel safe again. You won’t, and it will slowly drive you mad. And eventually you’ll be and appear crazy – meanwhile he’ll leave you because you insecurity has driven him away.

    This is teaching women to stay in harmful and abusive relationships. Not good.

  2. Britanny says:

    Where can I find the full 1 hour video?

  3. Angel says:

    I’m sorry but I absolutely don’t agree on her opinion. I don’t care if he was there for my mother, my brother or whomever. He cheated on ME and I will NEVER be able to trust him again. So I might get over it, and I might be able to forgive, but I certainly will NEVER forget and the question “when will it happen again” will ALWAYS stay in the back of my head. So I’m sorry, but I stick with the saying “once a cheater – always a cheater”. I won’t put myself in the position of possibly being cheated on by the same guy again.
    My motto is: If you want something new, you’ve got to end the thing you’ve got now first.

  4. Estrella arojado says:

    Yes nice vedeo

  5. Disappointed says:

    So disappointed that Matthew is featuring Esther Perel. Giving her horrible ideas more exposure to his huge folllwing.
    Matthew I thought you were a meaningful guy, your other posts talk about integrity and real love.
    Won’t be watching you anymore if you jump in Esther perels bandwagon- her message is so wrong on so many levels.

  6. Caroline Fabri says:

    I really enjoyed the interview you had with Esther Perel. In part, I agree with what she was saying regarding not breaking the relationship on just one aspect of the relationship; however, say that there are 5 main things in the relationship (love, trust, loyalty, honesty, etc.) that are essential, each with its own weight, the cheating part in my opinion would carry a lot of weight, as it isn’t only the act that occurred, but affects trust, self-esteem, and so much more to it. It would be, in my opinion, an aspect of the relationship that would indeed carry a lot of weight (say 70% of the ratio). So having to overcome that is longer and more difficult as it is a traumatizing event in a relationship, compared to maybe lying about something. I will certainly read her book to fully understand her perspective on this though. :)

  7. Noemi says:

    I think this is nonsense. So, a man cheats on me and I should judge him for all the other good things he brings into the relationship while he hurts me, not to mention that having sex with other people can end up in getting sexual diseases. It’s like saying “oh if your man beats you, well don’t leave him because when he doesn’t beat you he’s a good man”.
    I think women should be taught to not forgive, to not follow their hearts and stay with a man they cannot trust.
    I once read that you cannot forgive a betrayal, you just have to decide if you want to live with or without a person who betrayed you. And I think nobody is necessary to us so much that we can’t live without him (or her). Self love must always come first. And, once you forgive a cheater, he/she will do it again.

  8. Allie says:

    Something that stood out to me… “Our contract isn’t based on this.” I think this is the crux of relationships. We don’t discuss our contract so we come at it from different places, different understandings of what it is and what the parameters are. She thinks they are involved, boyfriend/girlfriend, and he thinks they are dating, seeing other people, not committed, etc. If only we could actually have a contract, get a man to discuss what we are, we could avoid a lot of misunderstandings and hurt. So we need to remember, just because we want it to be a certain way, doesn’t mean it is, and we should not assume the “contract” is as we hope.

  9. Rhonda says:

    Amazing intelligent!
    Im going to try again after 17 years still deeply in love with my ex.

  10. Kstrina says:

    My situation is that I am a female in a relationship with my boyfriend and I have cheated. I do love him but he did t fill my need to be appreciated and given gifts. I discussed with him about my needs not being met. He says my desire for tokens if love is just s hikddigger way if md getting things. So I chest. I did tell him I hscd chested do that he wanted to know the reason and it was because I kept giving and wasn’t getting my needs met. I have left out relatuibshio bevsuse I felt I was only his love for sex. If he really loved me what I needed to feel love he would try just because it made me Happy. I feel now. Free / years that his needs took priority. Mine were not. It felt wonderful that another man understood after I told him shattered made me happy.. so besides doing what I needed I felt we became intimate sharing and filling each other’s needs. I’m not a goldigger I only wanted small tokens just a thought that that he took time to know what I like and spent his money or time to give me something just for me.. I liked to enjoy. I know now that with experience I deserve real love.. I would of Nd ed cheated if my boyfriend had made me a priority . He only gave me things that he liked nothing I would want. So this said to me.. he just didn’t want to really get to know me. I don’t say what I did was right but when you give snd give . To your partner and communicate what is important to be happy and he devalued that it’s hurtful and makes the partner feel not worthy . So I’m glad I got an opportunity to hzvd thst experience even though it broke my trust . I feel that I learned that both partners needs are impoertant and not doing all the giving.. do I continue my love journey for happiness in love. It took a affair to make me aware my needs are important and how wonderful I felt when I experienced that.. I’m looking for the whole package .. love with the sharing and making each other the priority .. thsts the only way a true healthy relationship evolves.. that is from my heart. Kstrina

  11. Nicole says:

    Hhhmmm. … not sure how I feel about this one.
    Don’t date a guy who watches porn. Problem solved

  12. Margarita Smith says:

    Such a wonderful and difficult topic. Discussed many of these things in marriage counseling just this morning. When is the full interview going to be released and how do I watch it? Can’t wait to one day catch her live at one of her many talks and appearances.

  13. Eunice says:

    Thank you for this insight on infidelity. I was just recently cheated on and I’m still trying to get through it. It was the 3rd time in our relationship that he’s cheated and I just couldn’t take it anymore. You’d think people will change and learn from their mistakes, but I feel as though I should just give up.

  14. CasaBanana says:


  15. Janet Borders says:

    awesome ten minutes – I loved it . Although I did not have a husband that cheated over 30 years. THANKS I could see so many people I know in this situations.

  16. Carla says:

    I can completely understand Ester’s view however it makes complete sense in theory but is highly difficult to carry out in real life.
    The fact is that trust is the most important factor in any relationship especially intimate ones. That along with respect.
    Once the trust has been broken and disrespect has been shown the relationship will never be the same.
    In theory it’s great to think an affair could be a catalyst to strengthen a bond and reevaluate the weakness in a relationship but the realities of living day in day out with someone who you now have to wonder what they’re doing is highly difficult.
    From past experiences I’ve reached a level now where I’m not prepared to waste my life with someone who doesn’t conduct themselves with the same level of respect, maturity and loyalty I do so therefore if I was to find myself in a situation where my partner cheated on me I would end the relationship then and there.
    I am unwilling to waste time reliving the hurt and dealing with the fears that come with staying attached to someone who I can’t trust.

    • Mia says:

      Carla, I hear where you’re coming from, and I think you are right. But I don’t think Perel is endorsing staying after cheating. I think she is addressing the fact that it has become taboo to decide to stay. So she is offering supporting arguements for those women who do want to stay, whereas this advice obviously wouldn’t apply to a woman with your standards.

  17. Tamara says:

    Hi Matthew,

    Wow, that was quite the subject to open up. But you are right. She is great, love her already. Thank you for this interview, introduction and I’m curious for he whole hour interview.

    Like the people you interview. Keep up the good work, Matthew!


  18. Jacqueline says:

    Thanks for the video. For me it’s the fear to being cheated on that has kept me in my mind for the last few days. I am constantly in comparison mode lately. It drives me nuts. This video has helped me to stop a bit.

    I have been on the website (fasttracktomrright) to see the whole interview. Unfortunately I cannot find it.

    Could you tell me where it is?

    Thx for your help

    • MH Support says:

      Hi Jacqueline! So glad this video helped! We haven’t released the full interview yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as it’s up! – Mars

  19. Kathryn says:

    I’m so disappointed that you didn’t engage with Esther on an intellectual level of your many years and experience of relationships. But that you chose to speak for your clientele who you obviously presume to be innocent little girls instead of grown women navigating the complexities of life.
    The mock anger you presumed where blame is totally levelled at the person who “fucked up” is precisely the sort of cliched reaction Esther completely steers away from.
    She is awesome and I’m glad you got to spend some time talking to her. I think she is totally fascinating and I’m sure you are too Matt.
    Kathryn xx

  20. Gabriel says:

    Esther Perel encourages victims of infidelity to suffer more abuse. She justifies cheating as an “act of exuberant defiance”. But it’s not – cheating is emotional abuse.

    Matthew, please distance yourself from this quack. Your overall message is for women to build more self-esteem, which is the opposite of what comes from this woman.

  21. Maya Staeva says:

    Really thought provoking!

    Where can we find it in Fast Track to Mr Right? There’s only month 1 to 6 but no new additions?


    • MH Support says:

      Hey Maya! We haven’t released the full interview yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as it’s up! It should be amazing and worth the wait ;) – Mars

  22. Albenda says:

    hello sir, i want to ask that, how can i get girl ? because i’ve been single for 2 years. And i want to know what are the clues how to get the heart of a woman.

  23. Safalta says:

    This video talks about when a man cheats on a woman… how about we get a perspective of the vice versa? Can a man grow over his partner cheating on him?

  24. Linda says:

    so true. What Mary says. Unhappy cheat. A successful relationship is definitely built on trust and communication. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a relationship.

  25. Diana says:

    Cheating is not even a solution for any issue regardless whether in relationship or in working life. In fact, there is a big player company in the world adopting cultures such as “Tell Me”, “Nurture Trust”, which tells that we need transparency and honesty to build trust for better future, improvement and to sustain in the arena of the business.

  26. E says:

    Interesting ideas, and I can understand the multiple perspectives that you are both talking about. What I would like to hear from you is how you fix and rebuild yourself after a psychologically abuse relationship. And not only did he cheat but had built another life with another woman. I found that I was the third female he had done this too. I would be interested to hear ideas on that type of subject?

  27. Mary says:

    Matthew your title is misleading/click bait. Ms. Perel even states at 3:08,”I don’t want to say it’s happy people that cheat. It’s people who are in unhappy relationships…” In other words, her clientele are people who are unhappy in their relationships and want to work on mending their relationships.

    It’s pretty simple. Why do people cheat? Answer: Because s/he is selfish and most likely, immature. There is no excuse to cheat. The only reason why the cheater apologizes is because s/he was caught, and if s/he had not been caught, s/he would still be doing it. If a person is unhappy in a relationship, s/he works it out with his/her partner or ends the relationship-not cheat.

    The majority of people think that love is the most important component of a relationship (ex. books, movies, etc…). That is not correct. Trust is the most important component of a relationship; it is the foundation of a relationship. Is it possible to have a relationship after your partner cheats on you? Well, how likely is your cheating partner able to gain your complete trust again? Therein lies your answer.

    A genuinely happy relationship is built on trust. Once trust has been established in the relationship and two people are committed to protecting that trust, there is a certain spirit of freedom that is experienced. The freedom to be who you are and know that you are accepted, faults and all, by your partner, and life tastes so much sweeter.

    So empower yourself to be the best person you can be and set and live by realistic standards.

    • Mary says:

      Note: I was miserably unhappy in a relationship with a man who cheated on me many times. I wasted my time giving him multiple chances to redeem himself. I finally ended the relationship and took a good, honest look at myself, my dating patterns, and my standards. Now, I am in a happy and healthy relationship with a good man. Empower yourself, not the cheater. You are worth it.

    • Tara Johnson says:

      This is the best but of advice anyone has ever said thank u

    • John says:

      Agree 100% Mary. I notice that most of the comments are from woman (at least looks that way by the names). Some men get cheated on as well. In my case my ex-wofe felt un-appreciated and we had on going tension between us. Ex wife is a narcissist and meeting a fellow narcissist while we were having trouble opened up the Pandora’s box. Very difficult to have a stable relationship with a narcissist
      Ex cheated on me for 2 years before she left our home. It created an incredibly toxic environment for everyone, us and our 2 boys. Her partner was also married and lying to his wife. It was ugly all around.
      I found out early on and confronted her about it. She continued to deny it, which made it worse. Situation got to the point where I’m lucky I didn’t give into some dangerous impulses.
      I understand the reasons’s she wasn’t happy, even though she’s narcissistic. She didn’t do the right thing and move out as she had nowhere to go. Her partner was still married and the ex didn’t have the courage to go out on her own.
      Once I found out I didn’t want to fix anything – I just wanted her gone. That was 2009. Now I’m very happily married and guess what – the ex won’t leave me alone. She can’t handle the fact that I got remarried.
      Long story short, there’s not always deep reasons why people cheat, I think most people are wired certain ways and they will eventually go that way. And if someone does cheat to get attention then that means they can’t handle honest communication. I think the old salesman expression is totally relevant – Caveat Emptor – buyer beware. Extreme situations (eg abuse) are different but for most of us, men or women, I think cheating just indicates that the person’s overall priority is themselves and their feelings of satisfaction. Not much you can do with that. Better off learning to accept the situation for what it is, get the leech out of your life and move on.

    • Star says:

      Actually she says, “it’s HAPPY relationships” not unhappy. just a small, but very important note.

      • Mary says:

        Went back and listened to the video again. Not able to edit first paragraph of my original comment. I was wrong; Matthew and Ms. Perel are both talking about “people in happy relationships who cheat.”

        Regardless, a person who cheats does so because s/he is selfish. (See above for my explanation).

  28. Anya says:

    Wonderful video!
    Thanks, Matthew!
    I wonder, how is it possible, to show a guy your vulnerability without scaring him off or coming across as needy
    I don’t want to be dramatic, but I come across as indifferent instead…

  29. Manuela Di costanzo says:

    That’s amazing.. Matthew how Can I see all the video?

  30. Kathy says:

    I absolutely love seeing you two together. Following you both very closely. You’re changing the world!❤️

  31. Melanie says:

    Me again….I’ve heard that once someone cheats, it’s that much easier for them to do it again. I cheated in a past relationship several times – trying to find a way out. I went through a phase where I had to “find myself” and have an inner dialogue. I came to the conclusion that cheating hurt me more than the other person, it lowered my self-esteem and I didn’t like who I was. So now I’m trying to get out of a 10-year relationship, where the guy has betrayed me multiple times and I have been totally 100% faithful and loyal, not to him, but TO MYSELF!

  32. Melanie says:

    Okay, so what if you forgive (but not forget) and he repeats the mistake?

  33. Julie MacKenzie says:

    Wonderful video….great info! Thanks Matthew! I look forward to every video…Hugs! ;) <3

  34. Selene says:

    Made me remember the text conversation that started the end of my long term relationship.
    Me:Hey, someone is flirting at me!
    Him: Flirt back!
    I really felt like he didn’t care about me and he won’t fight for me and our relationship.
    “And what? Do you want me to engage a first fight with her?” He said,(Because a girl was flirting at me) I hadn’t a clear idea about what he can do to fight for our relationship, now I know if he showed that he carer would be enough. Too late,bro!

  35. Alexis says:

    So glad you did this! I watched Ester’s ted talk years ago and read her book. Loved it and love that the two of you have done something together. I look forward to watching the rest in the fast track. Thanks! :) I would love to hear other books and authors who you are reading have influenced both of you.

  36. oldsage says:

    Infidelity, loyalty, respect…all lost when a partner ‘cheats’. Is the guilty partner repentant? Genuinely so? Or are they only apologetic because they got caught?
    Marriage or monogamy is not for everyone, so don’t make vows/promises that you cannot expect to keep.
    Scripturally, the only reason for divorce is ‘adultery’…no reason for any innocent partner to put up with a partner that breached their promise regarding fidelity. The ball is completely in their court, and the innocent party has the absolute right to play it as they determine and see fit.
    Interesting perspective from this video…thanks!

  37. michelle says:

    um no. F that…I did not stay and I NEVER would. lol. Go ladies, don’t listen to being a carpet or door mat for anyone. You’re worth more than that!!!

  38. Jenna says:

    When you take a snipet of a conversation it’s hard to get view of the big picture. It is of my personal opinion that Esther peddles a very desdructive way of thinking… funny Mathew that you called it evolved. There is no justification for cheating, period! Offering up a skill set of mental gymnastics to make your own devaluation justifiable, is not only humiliating, it is teaching the other person that your deal breakers are in fact flexible if given a good enough reason. If I am not mistaken you recently did a piece on unrequited love, and said, “Unrequited love is not love, it’s worship!” People who value you do not purposefully do things to hurt you. I am telling you from experience that Infidelity is the most painful thing I have ever been through in my life, and like so many women who are devastated and reaching for hope to save a relationship, I bought into the hope model, only to have waisted a valuable portion of my life on false promises. Infidelity is not a relationship issue, it is a character issue.

    I am often receptive to most of your advise, but on this one I am going to have to disagree. Know your worth and walk away. If someone is willing to take the chance at destroying all that you’ve built together, is that really a person who is worth fighting for? I personally say no. If you strip away all the extenuating circumstances, you are left with someone who knowingly made a choice to play a game of Russian Roulette with your heart, Home and health.

    • Lisa says:

      Jenna your reply was articulate and well expressed. But I would respectfully disagree with your opinion of Esther. She doesn’t condone infidelity. She ellucidates the various reasons and circumstances in which it can happen.. which is part of the human condition. Anyone in a relationship that has encountered infidelity needs to make a decision based on their individual situation. Since I wasn’t cheated on, it could sound hypocritical of me to say I could forgive a single act or two of indiscretion. But I know in my heart I would have fought for my marriage had this ever occurred. Sadly I can’t ever test the theory because after 32 faithful years (high school sweethearts) he died from cancer. The fact that this involves sex makes it a highly charged subject. But I forgave him for other betrayals that happened in out time together (lies that affected us financially mainly) and he forgave me when I made a multitude of mistakes as well..errors in judgment,acting out/immaturely, my character flaws. I would have taken the opportunity to try to repair what led to the act and tried to salvage all the other wonderful things we shared together (parenting two boys, working as partners and confidantes in life, etc.). I think that was what Esther was saying. I wouldn’t want to give up my friend and teammate in life only because he messed up as a sexual partner (although serial infidelity would be an indication something else was going on). I’d never wish anyone the pain of betrayal from cheating, but I can unequivocally say there is grief that can be much worse to live with. Blessings to all who read my humble opinion.. L

  39. Ana Moon says:

    Infidelity means losing confidence and without confidence there’s no real relationship. It’s not a crisis, it’s a final blow.

  40. Linda says:

    I love that you interviewed her. Heard her being interviewed in the Tony Robbins podcast. Look forward to see the whole interview :) Yayy! Thank You Matthew

  41. Laura says:

    I agree, that especialy long life relationship is more value that to quit it just for an affair… but if affair seems to bean option to have not one stand affair but rather complementery relationship( In the firs is something esentional missinig and a new one offers different quality of person – not just that is the newand more triggering… but for example you live with an introvert gor 20 years and than have an affair with kind extrovert andthet is the most atractive point of an affair….i will choose to stay for some time with intimate relationship and expirience it as long as possible :-)

  42. Faizah says:

    This is the most interesting aspect I have ever heard regarding relationship. It’s like I have been given new lenses.

  43. Rani Henderson says:

    Loved this video, I have always loved Esther, cannot wait to see the full hour!

  44. Candy says:

    This woman is brilliant. This is such a difficult topic. I guess each of us will have to decide what we will accept in a relationship. And of course that will change over time depending on how the relationship has developed. Isn’t it lovely Matthew is tackling difficult subjects. I agree that reading her material is crucial in keeping a relationship on track.

  45. Misti McCain says:

    Everyone thinks I’m crazy that I have always felt this way. I broke it off with my lover for not respecting my need for sleep when I worked 65 hours a week to put myself through my masters but I quickly got over an affair he had. He made a drunken mistake because he was lonely with me working so much, but he chose time and again to bring friend around while I was sleeping only four hours a day. I understand that people make mistakes but I can’t abide disrespect. An affair needs to be taken in context. It’s nice to know another woman feels this way. All my friends think I’m nuts to be so logical.

  46. Deniz says:

    Hi, I can’t see the full interview in my Fast Track area. How it is named?

  47. Luky Cawarra says:

    I adore Esther and I’m so happy you guys got together.
    Can’t wait to see the full interview <3

  48. Angel says:

    That is flat out b/s. Yes, I will “throw away” a relationship – no matter HOW well it went before he cheated on me. It’s not fair to throw it away? Well, guess what! It’s bot fair to cheat on me either! If someone cheats on the other one then there is clearly something wrong in the relationship in the first place. She said “maybe the other one tried to say something for a long time” – well he/she shouldn’t have tried but actually should have said clearly what’s bothering them. Once someone cheats on me, I will NEVER be able to trust that person again and I’ll NEVER stay in a relationship in which I can’t trust my partner for 100 %.
    I might be able to forgive but I’ll never forget. You seek something outside our relationship – fine with me, but then there’s no relationship with me anymore. Period!

  49. A. says:

    Wow, I love Esther’s fire! Woke me out of my complacency. I was telling my mom something similar on Thanksgiving. How men want smart women but then try to bullshit them. You wanted a smart woman? Well, you’ve got one and she sees through your crap, buddy!

    We all have that fire. Fight for yourself. And fight for that relationship only if you clear-headedly can see it’s *worth* fighting for.

    Wisdom to know the difference. ;-)

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