Guys that cheat

Why Do Men Cheat? 9 Possible Reasons + What To Do

Nonetheless, as of right now, some research does show that men are more likely to cheat than women, with 20% of men have admitted to cheating compared to 13% of women. So we asked relationship experts about why men cheat, along with what defines cheating, signs to watch out for, and what to do if infidelity has infiltrated your relationship. Many of these behaviors might apply to people of all genders, but they can definitely be relevant to men.

9 reasons men cheat in relationships:


They're looking for a way out.

"Sometimes when men cheat, it's because they are trying to get out of a relationship, and that is a first step," relationship therapist Ken Page, LCSW, tells mbg.

Although people of all genders might do cheat for this reason, Birkel explains that men may be less likely to have difficult conversations with their partner about their own needs and the relationship. If they're looking for a way out, they may see cheating as a means to an end. "They're sort of done with their marriage or relationship, and instead of having that difficult conversation, they'll just have an affair," he says.


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They're looking for connection.

Despite what gender norms may tell us about men, cheating doesn't always happen for purely physical reasons. If they're feeling unseen or disconnected from their partner, Page says, "those things hurt and make us go into a zone where we protect ourselves," adding, "when this happens a lot over time, the impulse to think about sex with other people goes up significantly."

And generally speaking, men are "much less likely to have a good social support system" as far as close male friends, Birkel says. In those instances, the compassion and support from another woman in his life may be very welcome. "It often starts as a friendship, maybe a woman co-worker," he says, who starts to make him feel better about himself, and so an emotional connection forms.


They have sociopathic or narcissistic traits.

If a partner has cheated, there could be sociopathic tendencies or narcissistic traits involved. "[They could be] someone who just literally doesn't care about their partner's feelings," Page says. "They want what they want, and it's just that simple."

Birkel adds that often, when an opportunity to cheat presents itself, "There are certain people who don't have a good ability to be understanding of other people's emotions or the impact of their behavior on other people—narcissistic qualities."

Notably, most people have some level of narcissistic behaviors, and not every person with narcissistic behaviors is a full-blown narcissist with narcissistic personality disorder. The same can be said for sociopathy, aka antisocial personality disorder.


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Revenge cheating.

Some people act out and cheat out of anger, jealousy, or a desire for revenge, says Birkel. Even if their partner hasn't cheated on them, if they've done something to upset their partner (i.e., having a close friendship with another man, Birkel offers as an example), "They'll end up cheating to make a point," he says.


They're struggling with substance abuse.

If one partner is dealing with a substance abuse problem, instances of cheating may become much more likely. "When we become addicted like that, it creates and impulse-driven, more immature version of ourselves," Page says, noting that he's seen many relationships fall apart after one partner became addicted to painkillers after a surgery, for example.


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They're struggling with their mental health.

Similarly, Page says depression and anxiety can also increase that impulse-driven behavior, because "if depression and anxiety are intense, it can really exacerbate the need to get relief—and relief can often come in the form of someone really attractive outside the relationship. "


They're seeking validation.

Feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem can also drive someone to cheat, particularly if they're not getting that validation in their own relationship, Page and Birkel note. "If people don't feel attractive enough to their partner, they may cheat to look for external validation," Page explains. He adds that sexual issues (such as erectile dysfunction) can also drive someone to "look for someone newer and more exciting to prove to themselves that they're still sexual potent and capable."


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They're denying part of their identity.

In some cases, cheating can be the result of one partner denying their own sexual or gender identity. Someone may be struggling with accepting they are gay or bisexual, and "they want to experiment, want to explore," Page says. "This could also be true with gender identity issues. And you desire to explore sex as well as identity around that because it's a hidden part of yourself."


They're emotionally immature.

Lastly, Birkel and Page both agree that many of these reasons fall under the category of emotional immaturity. "I think that's at the core of why men cheat," Birkel says, noting that men are taught not to talk about their emotions. "By the time a man has an affair, there's already been a long period of time when there have been issues, and they've had an inability to talk about those feelings," he says. According to Page, it often comes down to simply "poor judgment, lack of willpower, lack of self-control, and immaturity."

What really counts as cheating?

There is no right or wrong answer to this, as the truth is, it's different for every couple. That's why it's a good conversation to get out of the way early in a relationship. Particularly nowadays, with polyamory, open relationships, and other approaches to dating becoming more common, along with the prevalence of porn and social media, every relationship will have different things they are OK—and definitely not OK—with.

"People have very, very different feelings about this," Page notes. "This is something that needs a lot of discussion between partners. What's most important is that one partner doesn't override the other person's needs and feelings around this."

He adds that men generally have a lower tolerance for sexual infidelity than emotional, whereas women are much more negatively affected by a partner who's emotionally cheating. Again, it's a conversation that should be had sooner than later.

In general, though, when it comes to cheating, Birkel says secrecy is often involved—and guilt. "Secrecy is often a big part of it. That's a really good clue it's something that's verging on cheating," he says, along with "any time you're feeling guilty about something you're doing."

Signs your partner may be cheating.

The following signs are by no means absolute indicators your partner is cheating. However, if a number of these signs from Birkel and Page are present, you may have a case of infidelity on your hands.

  1. They're more withdrawn, more closed off, and/or more emotionally disconnected.
  2. You notice significant changes in the way they do things (i.e., their schedule or their general behavior).
  3. You feel like you're having a hard time getting the full information from them about certain things.
  4. You bring up a particular person or instance that seems fishy, and they get very defensive, or in other cases, they're very vague and dismissive about it.
  5. They're suddenly putting more effort into their appearance, perhaps before work or before going out.
  6. They seem super enthusiastic about another person.
  7. They're more sexually apathetic toward you or less interested and excited by you.
  8. All of a sudden, your partner seems extra nice, as if they're trying to make up for something.
  9. They're not accountable for where they're spending their time (and in some cases, their money). There are big chunks of time when they don't want to talk about what they were doing.
  10. They seem more irritated by you or judgmental of you, in an ongoing way.
  11. There's been a strong downgrading of sexual interest. They may have more difficulty getting and/or maintaining an erection, as well as orgasming.
  12. And of course, physical evidence like emails or texts left open, an earring left behind, or condoms in their wallet.

What to do about infidelity in a relationship:

Decide whether you want to stay together and work through it.

How couples handle instances of cheating is completely personal. Some people are unable to accept the break in trust, and others are willing to work through it. Research shows people who cheated on a partner in a previous relationship are three times more likely to cheat1 in a future relationship, Page notes. But "something like 65% of people who work on their relationship after an affair are able to recover and feel happy in their relationship again," according to Birkel.

It can take years, and likely outside help from a sex or couples' therapist, for a relationship to recover from an affair, but it is possible if both partners are willing to do the work. And that's really the most important thing. But knowing when to walk away, too, is just as important.

Gauge if the cheating partner is actually willing to commit to change.

"One thing I'd say for sure," Page notes, "is don't assume this just won't happen again. It's a deeper issue, and there are deeper roots that need to be addressed." He adds that it's important to understand the "why." "The cheating is the tip of an iceberg, and there's some form of disconnection from self, and disconnection in the relationship, that exists when there is cheating."

And if the partner who cheated isn't willing to work on things but rather is dismissive of their partner's hurt, "to me that's not going to be a situation that's ever going to lead to a healthy relationship again," Birkel says. "And I don't think a partner of that person should tolerate that level of not caring."

Center the feelings of the person who was cheated on.

Often the partner who did the cheating may find themselves in a state of deep shame, but Birkel notes there's a difference between feeling guilty and feeling shame. "Healthy guilt is appropriate," he says, but "it's important for the person who had the affair to take some time to make it about their partner's experience and hurt," as opposed to their own feelings of being a bad person.

The bottom line.

Being cheated on is nothing short of a traumatic experience, and there can be so many reasons it might have happened in different relationships and contexts. But no matter the reason, one thing can be certain: Infidelity forces both of you to take a step back, look at what went wrong, and decide how you want to move forward from there—if at all.

Why Do Guys Cheat on Girls? Five Reasons to Consider

Why Do People Cheat on People They Love?

It's really hard to understand why people cheat on people they love. Sometimes, people decide to cheat because they feel unloved, or like they have fallen out of love, with their partner. Sometimes, they feel the romance is gone from their relationship, and having an illicit romance gives them a sense of excitement. Sometimes they are feeling deep shame, pain, and regret, and they don't feel like their partner can know about it, so they turn to another person. Other times, there may not appear to be a logical reason your partner has hurt you in this way.

Regardless of what happened, or the reasons they give you, remember not to take on the responsibility or blame. If you've been cheated on by your spouse or partner, their choice to be unfaithful was not your fault. It is their responsibility to understand where they went wrong and accept the consequences of their behavior. Rather than running back to them at the first sign of regret or apology, it's important for you to take the time and space you need to heal. After all, re-entering into a relationship with someone whose dishonesty hurt you so deeply may not be emotionally safe. Talking with a mentor or counselor can help you understand and heal from the pain of cheating in a safe space with someone you can trust. 


This is not an "every-guy thing," you know. Lots of boyfriends are honest, they keep to their promises, and they do. not. cheat. When it is time for a dating relationship to end, they end it and move on. In other words, they don't start something with another girl while they are still in a dating relationship.

Some of you girls are already thinking On what planet do those guys live? I've never known a guy like that. If that is the case, maybe you need to start hanging around with a different group of guys.

If you have a history of dating cheaters or know way too many girls who have, then you might need to rethink how you pick your boyfriends. We'll get to that later.

And, yes, I know girlfriends can cheat too, but today we are going to talk about boyfriends.

Reasons Guys Cheat

There is lots of advice floating around in books, blogs, and everyday conversations about why guys cheat. But if you haven't figured this out yet, you will eventually discover that many reasons are really not that complex.

The male approach to dating lies somewhere between that of a caveman and a mechanical engineer, often more like the caveman. So, I have simplified the WHY of cheating by whittling it down to five things. This is not intended to be a complete list, mind you. But understanding these few simple things about guys could help you a lot.

Boyfriends Cheat Because They Want Out of the Relationship

Dustin wrote: I think the 2 main reasons why guys cheat goes like this:  1) Guys get stuck with a clingy girl. He figures maybe she'll change over the course of a few months. He really likes the girl for a lot of her character traits but notices that she's not going to let him go.

Miss Insecurity is dating Mr. Self-Confident, and with that relationship, she is trying desperately to plug some pretty big holes in her own self-esteem.  She becomes obsessed with her boyfriend. You know how that usually turns out...clinginess, jealousy, anger, tears. But Miss Insecurity doesn't want to press Mr. Self-Confident too hard about his commitment. She would prefer to assume (or in some cases, dream) he is as committed to her as she is to him.  But Mr. Self-Confident isn't committed at all and is in fact, trying to figure a way out.

One reason guys cheat is that they want out of the relationship, but aren't man enough to just break up, so they cheat in order to have an excuse to get out.

(BTW, guys have to deal with insecurity just as much as girls.)

Dustin continued: 2) Guys just want sex from a girl. The girl isn't willing to give them sex just yet, so they stick around. They wait for a while, giving promises of everlasting love until they finally get what they want. Then they stick around a little longer and say Hey! I've met this other girl (who I've had sex with without you knowing) and I just don't see things working out between Yeah.

Boyfriends Cheat Because Their Relationship Goals are Different

Then there are guys who are very willing to talk about the relationship. They make lots of promises, using words like,  "I love you," "you're so beautiful," and "spend our lives together."

The girlfriend might be saying the same words, but there is a difference. Some girls give a lot and put up with a lot in order to get what they want most...the relationship. And most often, in the end, they end up with a broken heart.

On the other hand, some guys (including the ones more likely to cheat) come at it from the other direction. They get excited about the relationship too, but only because the relationship is the way to get what they want...usually sex.

It's pretty simple..  she wants a relationship, so much so, that she is willing to offer sex to get it. He wants sex, even if he has to give some relationship to get it. But cheating violates the relationship, not the sex.  To put it bluntly...guys cheat because the relationship was never their was the sex.

Boyfriends Cheat Because They Aren't Strong Enough to Resist the Temptation

Boyfriends who cheat don't always do it with a plan in mind. Remember, guys are not that complex. You probably know about some girls who stalk guys like sexual predators- they try in every way they can to get them to cheat. Unfortunately, some guys just don't have what it takes to refuse.

Boyfriends Cheat Because of the Influences Around Them

Check this out...when it comes to being faithful to wives and girlfriends, one of the most important factors is a guy's parents. Generally speaking, guys who grow up in homes where their parents cheat, find it much easier to do the same thing.

Counselor Gary Neuman asked 200 cheating and non-cheating husbands about why they cheated. He found that 77% of cheating men have a good friend who also cheated.  Some guys give in easily to the temptation to cheat because that is what their friends and family do. You should not judge a guy by what those around him do, but don't underestimate the power of influence.

 Boyfriends Cheat Because They Got Away With it Before

Do you remember Tiger Woods? He was married to one of the hottest women on the planet, but he was a big-time cheater with lots of women.  (BTW, only 12% of cheating husbands in the Neuman study said that the women they cheated with were more physically attractive than their wives.)

The guy cheated once, then twice, then three times. It became easier and easier to give in, harder and harder to say no. If you are dating a guy who cheated before, there is a good chance he will cheat on you too, even if from the beginning he never planned it that way. If he has cheated more than once, it is even more likely that it will happen again.

Bears Repeating - This is Not ALL Men

These five reasons don't paint a very favorable picture of let me reiterate, this is NOT all men.  And while it might be hard for a cheater to change his ways, it's not impossible.  I believe sometimes people are truly ashamed of a choice they made and would like to undo the past.  In fact, if you are the Cheater here are 5 Life-Changing Steps for you! My point in this blog is to point out things to look for and consider if you find yourself in a relationship with someone who cheats.

Giving it a Reason Doesn't Make it Hurt Any Less

Just because you may now be able to determine the reason your boyfriend cheated on you, it doesn't mean it hurts any less. In fact, it might hurt even more. So I want you to know, right now, that you can and will get through this. Many others have walked this path before. You might learn some tough lessons through the process, but you can come out on the other side of this stronger and ready for a healthy relationship.

In the meantime, God wants to help heal your broken heart. He promises this in the Bible:

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. Psalm 34:18 MSG

The only condition is that you need to look to God for help, pray to Him and share your feelings with Him

God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him.  When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Psalm 34:4-8 MSG

God is waiting to comfort you in your pain. It's up to you whether or not to accept it.

You know they are cheating on you, but what are you going to do next? Read - Your BF/GF is Cheating on You...Now What? 

10 fraudulent schemes that lie in wait for drivers on the road

Bandits from the main road are not just a catchphrase, but a bitter reality. On city roads and on highways, scammers are waiting for drivers who use cunning tricks to get other people's money.

Dmitry Sharov

studied scammers

Author profile

Here are 10 most popular scenarios.

Theft from the salon

The essence of the divorce is simple: fraudsters trick the driver into getting out of the car and losing concentration. At this time, one of the accomplices quietly opens the door and takes everything that is not lying well from the salon.

To distract the driver, thieves puncture the tires of his car, insert a plastic bottle between the wheel and the fender liner, place a stone behind the cap, or plug the exhaust pipe with a potato.

What to do. Lock the doors when you get out of the car, even if no one is around. Set the alarm so that only the driver's door opens when unlocked.


I love people

Trick car accident

Let's say there was accident . The driver, who is not at fault, is asked to meet them, as the car of the culprit suffered much more damage in the accident. In order not to repair the car at his own expense, the cunning driver offers to make himself right on paper. He promises to compensate for the repair of the damaged car when he receives money from the insurance company.

You seem to have nothing to lose and help a good person. But this is not so. Here are the consequences of such a decision.

  1. To change the culprit, you need to rearrange the machines. Inspector DPS or an insurance agent may see signs of auto-fraud in this and accuse you of fraud.
  2. After the accident that you are at fault, your accident-free driving rate will change and the cost of insurance will rise.
  3. Your machine may have hidden damage that cannot be diagnosed on the spot. Then they will have to pay from their own pocket.


How to draw up a Europrotocol in case of an accident

What to do. Do not agree to the fraud offered by the culprit of the accident.

Punishment for alcohol in the car

The driver just sits in the car and drinks, he does not have to go anywhere, the engine is turned off. Suddenly, traffic police inspector comes up and draws up a protocol for drunk driving. Sometimes a violation can be recorded if the driver simply approaches the car with a bottle of alcohol to pick up something from the passenger compartment. As a result, a fine and deprivation of rights for a period of one and a half to two years. Despite the fact that the Code of Administrative Offenses refers specifically to drunk driving, courts rarely take the side of drivers.

Part 1 12.8 Administrative Code

What to do. Do not drink while driving, even in a car with the engine not running. When drawing up the protocol, require the employee DPS to comply with all formalities.

Passengers with a surprise

A person is voting by the road. The driver decides to give him a ride, but "in gratitude" he quietly leaves a bundle with something forbidden in the car. Later, the police stop the driver and find a bundle: everything indicates that the prohibited substances belong to the owner of the car. In the role of policemen - disguised swindlers, accomplices of the passenger. They will offer not to initiate a criminal case if they are paid a "reward". This drama has a predictable ending: a confused driver gives money to scammers.

What to do. Closely monitor the actions of passengers and check the cabin before they get off. Ask the policemen who stopped you to show documents.


They are cheating you

A rigged collision

A man unexpectedly throws himself under the wheels of a car. Witnesses quickly appear, and the "victim" writhing in pain offers to compensate for the harm caused. Such a divorce scheme is found in the parking lots of shopping centers, when drivers drive backwards from a parking space. It is unlikely that this will happen on the track: scammers choose cars moving at a minimum speed - it is so difficult to get injured, but there is everything to make the collision look believable.

Sometimes scammers do not need acting skills: it is enough to hold an already broken iPhone or an expensive watch in your hand and demand money from the driver for repairs.

What to do. Call the police. Do not talk to a fraudster, do not explain anything to him and do not make excuses. For all claims, offer to resolve the issue according to the law. Police officers already know these guys, so most likely the “victims” will disappear even before they arrive.


How to save money on your car

Fake accident

This is a classic car scam that has one goal: to make the victim the culprit of the accident and demand money from her to repair the car. Here is how scammers can put their car under attack:

  • cut the car and brake hard;
  • A car in front of you at a traffic light suddenly reverses and hits you with its bumper;
  • a car in the oncoming lane blinks its headlights, letting you pass to change lanes, but as soon as you start a maneuver, it abruptly breaks off, and traffic accident with an obvious culprit ready;
  • the driver moves into another lane because the accomplices of the car diverter drive slowly in front or insistently demand a pass from behind. At this moment, the second car from the blind zone accelerates sharply and is exposed to impact;
  • in the parking lot, someone else's car makes it difficult to get out, but a well-wisher appears who directs the driver directly into the bumper of another car with tips. The "assistant" quickly disappears, but the owners of the car appear and demand money;
  • scammers on the move “lock” the victim from both sides. One car begins to approach dangerously and ignores all signals. Trying to avoid an accident, the driver drives a little into the neighboring lane. At this moment, the second car is exposed to impact.

What to do. Do not panic, do not pay money and look for witnesses. Call DPS and don't believe in scammers' tales about an uninsured event.


Car enthusiasts

Threats demanding money

The option of hitting a pedestrian or someone else's car can be continued. The driver pays the "victims" and then receives threats from them demanding money for allegedly running away from the scene of the accident .

It is possible to imitate an escape from the scene of an accident without prior setup. To do this, scammers on a pre-damaged car catch up with the victim. While several tough guys are yelling at the driver, their accomplice inflicts similar damage on the body of the victim's car. Even the most confident person under pressure will believe that he could hit someone else's car and not notice it.

What to do. Do not forget to renew the policy OSAGO in time. If there is no damage, take a receipt for the absence of claims. Do not transfer money until accident is clearly documented. Registration according to the European protocol of even minor damage will save you from problems in the future.

If the second participant in accident says that he does not have OSAGO or that he drank and does not want to lose his license, call the police.


How to contact the police

If muscle guys are chasing you with claims, don't be provoked, lock yourself in your car and call the police. If you really didn’t notice how you damaged someone else’s car, the second participant in this accident , chasing you, also left the scene of the accident and violated the law. If you have not offended anyone, calmly stand your ground - your case will be confirmed by a trace examination.

Black smoke trick

Smoke comes out of the car and the driver decides to stop. Immediately, a well-wisher appears who offers help. His verdict is to go to the service, and he just knows a great one nearby.

Black smoke may be the result of the tricks of this "well-wisher". In the parking lot, he injected oil through the radiator grill onto the engine of your car and is now trying to lure you into a service where his accomplices will take money for repairs that will not happen. The most impudent ones are also bred for a tow truck, which "just passed by."

What to do. Wait for the smoke to dissipate and wipe off foreign liquid with a cloth.


What to do if your car has been evacuated


An unpleasant surprise awaits the driver of the car: a padlock with a note from scammers is attached to the disks or the door handle, in which they promise to give the key for a ransom.

What to do. Do not transfer money. Look for the key under the bumper or somewhere nearby. If there is no key, cut the lock yourself. If you can’t get rid of the lock, wrap it with a bandage, rag or tape and contact the nearest auto repair shop for help.


What to do if extortionists come to you

Robbery on the road

This is the worst possible situation on the road, because drivers risk not only money, but also health. There are several dangerous scenarios:

  • the driver stops for the night at the curb and wakes up in the company of dashing guys;
  • the driver is slowed down at night by a swindler dressed as a traffic police officer . As soon as the car stops, strong guys jump out of the bushes;
  • bandits throw spikes on the road and wait for the car with broken wheels to stop;
  • the driver is pushed to the side of the road by dangerous maneuvers.

What to do. Do not stop if traffic police officer slows down at night not at the checkpoint or in a civilian car. Drive on flat tires to a safe place.

In any unclear situation, call 112. After calling the police, turn on the emergency gang or the "Panic" mode on the alarm to attract attention. Do not get out of the car and block the doors, despite the threats of scammers. If they need a car, they won't break windows or pick locks.

Here's what else every motorist needs to know:

  1. How authorized dealers cheat.
  2. How gray dealers cheat.
  3. What to do if your car is stolen.

Dan Ariely on what makes us lie - T&P

People tend to find excuses for everything they do, from petty scams to multi-million dollar corruption. Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, talks about the circumstances that provoke people to cheat and the impact this has on the global community.

Usually people try to combine two opposite behavioral patterns: on the one hand, we try to behave in such a way that it is not disgusting to look in the mirror, on the other hand, we are all capable of deception in situations when it is beneficial for us. You may argue that this is not the case, that you can either be honest or be pleased with yourself - but thanks to the flexibility of perception and the ability to rationalize one's own actions, both are possible. And as long as we retain the ability to find rational reasons, to justify our own behavior, it is quite possible for us to cheat and remain in agreement with ourselves at the same time. It turns out that the higher our ability to find rational reasons for our actions, the more dishonest we can be, continuing to consider ourselves good. The rule also works in the opposite direction - the less we are capable of rationalization, the more honestly we behave.

I am sure that people cannot be strictly divided into "big" and "little" deceivers. In the study that was included in my book, we conducted a survey among 30,000 respondents. Of these, we found only 12 of those who are ready to cheat big. These 12 people stole $150 from me. And 18,000 turned out to be “petty” scammers, and they collectively caused me $36,000 in damage. And this, in my opinion, reflects well the situation in society as a whole. Undoubtedly, there are bandits from the high road who are ready to go to the end in their deceit, but these are a minority. The amount of corruption that exists in society now comes from the actions of not bad, in general, people who consider themselves good workers, but in fact deceive - each a little bit. They are causing serious damage to the economy.

It's amazing what rationalization can do. You can’t allow yourself such thoughts in a restaurant and convince yourself that the purpose of the food on your plate is to be eaten, that the chef prepared it only for this, and that not the most pleasant guys work in restaurant holdings.

There is a joke. The boy Johnny returns home from school with a note from the teacher saying that Johnny stole a pencil from his desk mate. Johnny's dad is shocked, terribly annoyed and says, "Johnny, what's going on? Never dare to steal pencils from your desk mate! You're under two weeks of house arrest. In the end, if you needed a pencil so much, you could tell me about it - I would bring you a bag of pencils from the office.

That's pretty interesting. After all, if we, for example, steal 10 cents from a change box in a store, we will feel like thieves. But if we take a pencil from someone, then the sensations will be completely different. Even if we take these 10 cents to buy a pencil with them, we will still feel like thieves. But just taking someone's pencil is an action, as it were, abstracted from money, not connected with it. This comes from the fact that our society is becoming more and more cashless. Credit cards, e-wallets, mortgage-backed securities, options - let's consider them as phenomena that express the psychological distance between you and other people, you and money itself. Is it possible that it is the case that the greater this distance, the more dishonorable we are able to behave and not blame ourselves for it? It seems that the banking system is designed in such a way as to encourage such behavior. It is so multi-layered that, while working in it, you stop seeing specific people whom you ultimately influence - even if you influence the entire global economy.

For the last year and a half that I've been working on the book, I've been doing this experiment. When I go to a restaurant, I ask the waiters a question: is there a way to eat in this restaurant and then leave without paying? I usually say - look, I'm not going to do this, however, if I was going to, what advice would you give me. There is always an adviser with a brilliant offer. However, when I ask how often this happens, the waiters answer - almost never. From time to time someone rises from the table without paying the bill and begins to slowly move towards the exit, but the waiters usually stop such a person - he replies that he forgot to pay, and this is where the problem ends. That is, people almost never leave a restaurant without paying the bill.

The situation is quite different with illegal downloads on the Internet. My book came out about a month ago, and in the first 2 days after the release, it was illegally downloaded 20,000 times. It's funny that this book is just about fraud. When you talk about this with young people, it turns out that virtually every one of them has illegally downloaded music on their computer - and at the same time they do not feel like criminals. Moreover, when I was talking about this to another audience, one young guy stood up and said that he saw nothing wrong with it - because musicians want their music to be heard more than anything in the world, and record labels are the embodiment of evil. Moreover, this guy was not going to buy licensed copies of these artists in principle - so, in fact, he did not harm anyone. And actually everyone does it. Listen to this guy, as if he does not break the law at all, does not download unlicensed content, he fights for freedom! He develops the world, makes it better!

It's amazing what rationalization can do. You can't allow yourself to think like that in a restaurant. You cannot convince yourself that the purpose of the food on your plate is to be eaten, that the chef prepared it only for this, and that not the most pleasant guys work in restaurant holdings. Some of your actions are easier to justify to yourself, some are harder.

So, we talked about what makes people lie and cheat more often. And what is less common? What can reduce our ability to rationalize? What can make a person analyze his actions more deeply, remind him of moral values? We have done several experiments. And we got, in my opinion, quite optimistic results. During one of them, we went to UCLA and asked 500 students to remember the 10 Bible commandments.

We gave them the opportunity to deceive us, spy on us, cheat us, but no one took advantage of this opportunity. Moreover, when we asked those who consider themselves atheists to swear on the Bible, and then remember the 10 commandments, and also gave them the opportunity to copy, they did not. We assume that some kind of stop signals are triggered in a person’s head at the moment when we think about morality. And even if we do not think about our own moral code, we kind of control ourselves more carefully.

After the students, we decided to pay attention to the Catholics. We went to Catholic priests and asked them if the understanding that you can confess your sins and then be justified and forgiven should not contribute to more sinfulness and deceit? Shouldn't people in this situation go and sin right on the road to confession? The priests answered no. I have three options for how the confession mechanism can work. With the first option, you think something like this: “Here I want to rob a store, but I must admit that this is not the most pleasant thing to do, and when I tell the priest about this, he will think badly of me. And the benefit I will derive is not worth the inconvenience." We have not found evidence for this theory.

The second theory is confirmed by our experiment about 10 commandments. You go out after confession, you feel good, you feel like a great person and you want to keep this feeling longer - and we found evidence that this happens.

Imagine that you are a banker. And imagine that I pay you $5 million a year to think that mortgage-backed securities are a cool banking product. Do you think you can resist thinking about them that way?

But the most interesting version is this: when we gave people the opportunity to steal something or cheat, they constantly balanced in their minds between two states: to be good - to lie a little, to be good - to cheat. And at some point, as if some kind of toggle switch worked, they abruptly switched and began to behave dishonestly all the time. We called this switch point what the hell effect. That is, on the one hand, in order to have a good opinion of yourself, it is not necessary to be a crystal decent person. On the other hand, the thought that you are not so good can also bring pleasure.

It is said that this principle also works with diets: you start strictly following a rigid diet, and then there comes a point and you break it. You think, “Damn it! Today I'm not on a diet - I'll probably eat a burger and fries, but I'll be back on a diet tomorrow. Or Monday, or next month. And, in general, it is not clear, if you can deceive all the time, then why stop? If, according to the Catholic version, you will end up in hell anyway, why all this? It seems to me that perhaps Catholicism stumbles a little here. And it's a pretty good hook. If a person is lying and disingenuous all the time, perhaps he needs the opportunity to start everything from scratch. We conducted various experiments, among Catholics and non-Catholics, giving people the opportunity to confess their deeds, to ask for forgiveness - regardless of what they believe. And what happened? The scam level has dropped. The “starting from scratch” method proved to be successful.

I think this is an idea we can thank religion for. The only question is how to project this effect on secular society. Shouldn't we create conditions for, say, bankers so that they can apologize from time to time and start everything from scratch? People will still sin, and nothing can be done about it. How can people be made to feel decent and virtuous again after the fall?

Let me summarize. Seriously, it's all about the conflict of interest. And the conflict of interests entails that we cease to objectively assess the surrounding reality, our own behavior and begin to justify our actions. Imagine that you are a fan of some football team. And now you are watching a match with her participation and see that the referee awards a free kick to your goal. Is there at least one chance that you will not start to think that the judge is a fiend, an unprofessional, a blind idiot, and so on? Unlikely. There is nothing you can do about it.

Now imagine that it is, say, $5 million and see how the remnants of objectivity leave you. Imagine that you are a banker. And imagine that I pay you $5 million a year to think that mortgage-backed securities are a cool banking product. Do you think you can resist thinking about them that way? I am certainly not suggesting that you can start thinking of something objectively monstrous as something very good just because of the money. But, most likely, you will push the boundaries of your assessment somewhat. And what will happen if, in addition, everyone around you claims that mortgage-backed securities are the best thing in the world?

And this is also an important thing, if we consider it in the context of the global financial crisis. People who make decisions are in situations in which many of these factors influence their vision. But we sincerely believe that they are obliged to overcome them. We tend to divide people into good and bad. And it seems to us that if you kick out these bad people, then everything will be fine. But the reality is that we can all be not the best guys under the pressure of certain kinds of circumstances. And it seems to me that the very structure of the banking system is such that people who are related to it begin to behave dishonestly. And this problem cannot be solved by replacing conditional bad people with good ones. The question is to change the motivation system. Because if we don't change the incentive system, we won't get off the ground.

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