In many cases, cheating is not something people plan to do (see, why people cheat). So, when people cheat on a partner, it creates a discrepancy between how people want to view themselves and the reality of the situation. In order to reduce this stress, individuals often trivialize what they have done. New experimental research tests this out. In a hypothetical situation, cheaters, who were able to minimize their behavior by claiming “it didn’t mean anything”, felt better about themselves.
So, the next time a cheater says, “It didn’t mean anything” – it probably means a lot. It most likely means that the cheater feels better about what has happened.