If you were going to have an affair, who would you choose?  Common sense says someone your husband or wife would never suspect—someone they don’t know.  But in fact, research shows that most people choose a friend, co-worker, or even a neighbor to cheat with.  “Most people who have extramarital sex do so with someone they know well,” according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Family Psychology.  People most commonly reported having extramarital sex with a close personal friend (53.5%) or neighbor, coworker, or long-term acquaintance (29.4%).

Who to Keep Your Eye On

Couple talking about having an affair

Co-workers

Some affairs happen due to pure availability.  That’s why co-workers are the choice of 36% of men and women who cheat (and admit it).  And the more successful your partner is at their job, the more likely they are to have an affair.  Not surprisingly, an equal number say they cheat while on business trips. Since most people spend as much or more time at work than at home, it’s not surprising that infidelity in the workplace is so common.

The Ex

Researches looking at college students found that about 40 percent keep in touch with an ex. For the vast majority (over 90 percent), this communication began within a couple of months of the breakup and continued to occur at least once every couple of months. Most people didn’t communicate with their ex too often, but a small subgroup—13 percent—had contact with exes several times a week.  If you partner stays in touch with their ex, you might want to keep a close eye. Staying in touch with an ex increases the likelihood your partner will cheat with them when things are not working out with you.

The Neighbor

If you suspect infidelity, start looking next door. Because infidelity is often motivated by opportunity, the next door neighbor is an obvious suspect.  While men cheat more often than women, studies show more women will cheat with a neighbor.  Maybe because men are more afraid of getting caught having an affair so close to home?  Or because the majority of men say that they would never suspect their neighbors having sex with their spouses. This might help to explain why women do it — because it’s easy.

When people are looking for something they are not getting in their current situation.  Often, they turn to those in their inner circle because it’s the easiest place to find what they feel is lacking in their marriage.   In other words, happy people don’t cheat.  Lack of intimacy, feelings of neglect or having their emotional needs ignored are big reasons people start looking outside the marriage for comfort.  And who better to talk to about our problems than someone we are already close to?