Why do men cheat? This is not to say women don’t, but why do men do it? Can it be prevented?
First, here are a number of possibilities why:
1. ADDICTION. As I have said in my book Men – The Gods of Love, sex has been taught men as a replacement for all the disallowed emotions. “Big boys don’t cry”, and are shamed if they do, or if they express any sort of feelings perceived as weak. Yet, all men have all feelings, so sex becomes the surrogate for everything they need, including a simple hug and encouragement. Understanding this explains why sex is so important for men and becomes an addiction for many men. Addictions are simply any behavior that replaces or distracts one from feeling any feeling. So even if the partner is perfect, if he can’t feel and express his feelings, he cannot accept in the love and will never feel fulfilled. Then he will look to fill his inner emptiness with outer fulfillment, read that SEX. Of course, this won’t work, so he will try harder, with different partners. He is doomed to fail, as any addiction will ultimately fail. This is the essence of the addiction.
2. Opportunity. There is a saying “men are only as faithful as their options.” Men don’t get offered sex as often as women, so when the opportunity does arise, it can be very difficult for them to turn it down. This does not excuse their lack of courage and integrity. Men can just simply say, “no thank you.” Also, what sort of woman would sleep with a man in relationship? Do you really want this in your life? She will do it again.
3. Ego boost. If men no longer feel attractive to the opposite sex and a woman shows interest in them, they may allow her to stroke his ego and more. There is a thrill in being chased and it means one is desirable. This swells the egos often expressed sexually. It also may be a way to attempt to gain back any lost vitality and youth. Like a drug any “gains” dissipate rapidly. (See #1)
4. Grown apart. Maybe the two of you didn’t have as much in common as you thought. He’s met a woman who has more in common with him, whether it is football, golf, or is just more fun and is seemingly interested in him, not the role as partner he plays. This too is an illusion for both. Compatibly under the sheets comes into play here too. But underlying all this is their connection has been shown to be more act than fact. Their roles are no longer fulfilling for either.
5. You argue a lot. Men will sometimes cheat to get away from an overly critical or argumentative partner. Who wants to be around someone who is constantly bitching about something? Especially when there is an appreciative partner in the wings. Why are you bitching anyway? Find ways to create what is needed. Bitching just sucks the energy from a man. He is being shamed as not doing it right, again. Does this sound positive or conducive to relationship building to you?
6. Fallen out of love. Sometimes, people become comfortable in an unfulfilling relationship. They don’t know how to get out of it and don’t want to leave their “comfort zone.” They may stay in the relationship because of children or financial reasons; or simply because they said they would, keeping their word. These men still feel like they are missing out on something, some exciting feeling, love perhaps, and they seek it elsewhere. In their minds, this is as close to win-win as they can get. They are keeping their word – partially, while getting what they think they need.
7. Your sex life has died. If a man has a disinterested partner or isn’t getting enough sex to fulfill him, there is a good chance he will have an affair. Just because you got him, does not mean you stop giving to him. It takes an effort to keep your sex life from becoming boring, or non-existent. Yet, this is not uncommon. Both partners need to be open and communicate about this.
8. Exploration. Some men cheat because they want to try new sexual things that their current partner will not try. This is trying to fill a void with something that will never fill it. Also, trying new things is not wrong, but not honorable if outside of a committed relationship. Men, if you are not honorable, you’ll feel it deep inside, like it or not, and it WILL affect your self-esteem. As a result, any goodness you experience will be rejected on the inside, because you feel dirty about how you got it. You then may try to experiment more to fill that void and this only lower your self-esteem further. It’s a viscous cycle (See #1). Always keep your word. If its not working, say so, take honorable action to correct what isn’t. Then, if this fails, end it and move on cleanly.
9. Revenge. Men and women sometimes cheat if they find out their partners were cheating on them, or are withholding from them. How else are they supposed to heal those hurt feelings, but through good old-fashioned sex? Of course, this heals nothing, but at least explains their “logic.”
10. New, different and exciting. Some men get tired of having steak for dinner every night and want to try tuna. The same goes for sex with a woman. That’s why men don’t necessarily cheat with women who are more attractive than their partners, just different. This newness is exciting and he may feel his vitality is supported in this way. This is symptomatic of a dull but comfortable relationship or sex addiction. Both partners need to take action to find out what’s missing. Communication is key here.
11. Rebellion against authoritative rules. If a man has a rebellious attitude, he may cheat to see if he can get away with it, while thinking “what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” He enjoys the thrill of “forbidden fruit” (See #1) and feels a taste of something different is a good thing. If his relationship is satisfying, then he needs to work on what he has come to believe that makes cheating OK, it’s not. Otherwise, he will never feel it’s enough. He must deal with his issues and blocks.
12. Enabling. If you have forgiven a cheating man a couple of times, they are more than likely going to cheat again, because you’ve communicated that cheating is OK. If it’s not, then take appropriate action, and if forgiveness is in the cards, remember, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” Trust but verify. If you can’t trust him, then don’t think the leopard will change his spots. For some, like many political or trophy wives, this is a part of the bargain. If it’s not working renegotiate you bargain. Try a real relationship.
Preventing cheating is usually a lot easier than most imagine. But it takes work to know a man. Most women are shocked when they find out their man has cheated. I have spoken with many and when I asked them about their man and his needs, it came down to they didn’t know – and weren’t looking. It was all about them and the fairytale they viewed how their life was supposed to be. This does not make what he did right, but sheds new light on why he continues, and what role she played in creating his wandering urges. He felt ignored, unseen. His needs, his soul went unacknowledged. He was a bit part player in her play. His commitment became a casualty of the play. Neither knew how to be in relationship. If you find yourself in this situation, time to wake up, work with a therapist, join a group that deals with relationships, and absolutely get my books.
A well-loved man won’t stray, why would he? So find out what’s missing in you, your relationship and him. Then talk about it. If he won’t, it may be time to move on, but tell him this is the only option you see left, ask him again to communicate with you because you love him and want to keep the relationship. Maybe you will get him to talk. But remember, you can lead a horse to water…