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Relationships are built on trust, and at the very least, we expect fidelity from our partners. Still, most of us have been burned by cheating at one time or another, whether in the early stages of a relationship or after a much more long-term commitment. There is no foolproof way to predict whether your partner will cheat, and people have different motives behind their choice to stray. However, experts suggest that certain personality types may be more likely to have a wandering eye—and even act on it.
Personalities can be categorized using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is based on different types of preferences, likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. According to the Myers&Briggs Foundation, Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, developed the MBTI questionnaire based on Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung's theory of "dichotomies."
Jung identified four "dichotomies" associated with personalities, meaning people either lean toward Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I); rely on Sensing (S) or Intuition (N) when taking in information; are either Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) when making decisions; and are either Judging (J) or Perceiving (P) when dealing with the outside world. These individual letters join to form 16 different combinations, identified by four-letter acronyms. And while there is no Myers-Briggs Type that is better than another, relationship experts suggest that some personalities could be more likely to cheat than others. Read on to find out the five personality types you may want to be wary of.
People who are extroverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving (ENFP) generally have a more outgoing and devil-may-care attitude.
"These combinations result in a person who is a charmer, isn't short of options, and doesn't like to play by the rules," Shashank Verma, founder of Reboot Love Life, says. ENFPs love meeting new people and friends, thanks to their extroverted side, and their intuitive and feeling nature makes them good with other people, Verma adds. But while these traits are generally positive, they could also contribute to a tendency to cheat.
ENFPs are not interested in focusing solely on their partners, and this can make you feel like you might not "hold a place in their life," Verma says. "Trying to curb an ENFP will only result in your getting dumped or cheated on."
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Another extroverted and perceiving personality type could have a tendency to look outside of their relationship, but these individuals are also sensing and perceptive. Sandra Myers, relationship expert and co-founder of Select Date Society, explains that these personality types "love seeking out excitement and are natural thrill-seekers."
With such a spontaneous nature, ESTPs might not think before they act, leading them to make rash decisions when it comes to their relationships. "They are action-oriented and often act in the moment," Myers says. "ESTPs are impulsive and tend to be sensation-seeking, often leading with their desire to experience new things through action."
Myers adds that not all ESTPs are going to to be unfaithful, and many have no problem with monogamy. In addition, they may engage in flirtatious behavior and banter but avoid "taking it too far."
The only introverted personality type to make the list, INTJs are also intuitive, thinking, and judging. Unlike extroverts, these types reject societal standards and norms, Callisto Adams, PhD, certified dating and relationship expert at HeTexted.com, says.
According to Adams, INTJs could particularly dislike social constructs surrounding relationships, like monogamy and marriage. "This characteristic of their personality makes them a bit likely to have thoughts of cheating, or confessing their 'inappropriate thoughts' for someone else to their partner," she says.
If they do cheat, INTJs might also be more subtle when showing warning signs, making themselves emotionally distant or less affectionate. "We're talking about this very smart personality, so they're more likely to show subconscious signs rather than make conscious mistakes such as having a shirt smell differently," Adams explains.
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Extroverted, sensing, feeling, and judging people are also more inclined to cheat, according to a survey conducted by the personality type dating app So Syncd. When asking 1,000 users, 38 percent of ESFJs admitted to having cheated on a partner, which Jessica Alderson, co-founder and relationship expert at So Syncd, attributes to their desire for connection.
"ESFJs are more likely to cheat because they are unhappy and feel unsupported in their relationship," Alderson says, adding that extroverts, in general, reported being more likely to cheat.
"This is because, quite simply, they meet more people," she adds, again stressing that not all ESFJs are going to carry out affairs.
Per the same So Syncd survey, ESFPs were the second-most likely to cheat on their partner. Just one letter off from ESFJs, these individuals tend to be more perceptive than judging, meaning they are more flexible and adaptable than their rigid counterparts.
According to survey findings, 33 percent of ESFPs said that they had cheated on a partner, and much like ESFJs, this could be due to their desire to "live in the moment," instead of considering the consequences of their actions, Alderson notes.
"ESFPs are always on the lookout for new experiences and the novelty of cheating can appeal to people of this type," she says. If your partner identifies as an ESFP, take some comfort in the fact that a majority of ESFP survey respondents—67 percent—said they had not ever cheated on a partner.