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30 Underlying Reasons Why Men Cheat Explained by Experts

Updated: Feb 3

Original Post Marriage.com Clinically Approved By Silvana Mici, Coach | By

Rachael Pace, Expert Blogger

Cheating is when one partner betrays the other partner’s trust and breaks the promise of maintaining emotional and sexual exclusivity with them.


Being cheated by someone you love very dearly can be devastating. People who get cheated on suffer enormously.


Can you imagine how it must feel when a person gets cheated and lied to by their partner, with whom they had dreamt of spending their entire lifetime?


They feel enraged, disappointed, and broken. The first thing that comes to their mind when they get cheated is, “Why did this happen? What made their partners cheat?”


Let’s discuss possible reasons why men cheat in a relationship and what you can do about it.


Do all men cheat?

Though both men and women cheat, statistics reveal that more men than women have confessed to having affairs after marriage. So, what percentage of people cheat?


If you ask what percentage of men cheat and what percentage of women cheat, it’s not surprising that men are 7 percent more likely to cheat than women are. This study is a proof.


If you are a victim who is contemplating reasons for infidelity in marriage, you could be perturbed and have thoughts like, “Do all men cheat? Or do most men cheat?”

It would be really unfair to label only men as cheaters. It’s not just men but every human being has a strong desire for self-gratification.


But, if this need for self-gratification exceeds the love and intimacy a person is getting from a relationship, it can lead to infidelity.


Cheating is a complex behavior influenced by individual choices, values, and circumstances. It’s important to avoid making broad generalizations about any group based on the actions of a few. 

Trust and faithfulness vary from person to person, and many individuals are committed to monogamous and faithful relationships. Reasons why men cheat are not determined by gender but by personal values, communication, and the dynamics within each relationship.



Why is it important to understand why men cheat?

Understanding the reasons why men cheat is important because it can save relationships and make them stronger. 


When we dig into the “why,” we often uncover issues like poor communication, unmet emotional needs, or just feeling unsatisfied. 

Once we know the reasons, we can work on fixing these problems, and making relationships better and more trustworthy. Plus, it gives guys a chance to grow and make better choices. 

It’s also important to get rid of the shame around cheating so people can talk about it openly and support each other. So, knowing why men cheat isn’t just about catching them but about making love last.


30 possible reasons for men cheating

Women might find themselves tormented by the questions, “Why does this happen? Why do married men cheat?”, “Why is he cheating?”


It is not just about fleeting flings. Many times, women find their husbands carrying on with long-standing affairs and wonder about reasons why men cheat and seek attention outside of marriage. “Why do people cheat in relationships?” 


To their relief, 30 relationship experts answer this question below to help you understand the reasons why guys cheat.


1. Men cheat due to a lack of maturity

What causes a man to cheat? Or why do husbands cheat? Their emotional maturity can be a reason.

Males, in general, will have a myriad of reasons why they engage in extramarital affairs. From my clinical experience, I have noticed a common theme of emotional immaturity among those who act on the emotional and physical aspects of cheating.


Lacking the maturity to invest the time, commitment, and energy to work through core issues within their marital relationship is one of the reasons why men cheat. Instead, these men often choose to engage in activities that are harmful to their significant others, families, and themselves.  


The scorching repercussions that often come with the aftermath of cheating in a relationship are not considered until after the fact. Cheating men have a visible proclivity to be reckless. It would be helpful for men who are contemplating cheating to think long and hard if the affair is worth hurting or possibly losing the ones that they proclaim to love most. 


2. Men cheat when they are made to feel inadequate

“Why do men cheat? A gnawing feeling of Inadequacy is a major prelude to an urge to cheat. Men (and women) indulge in cheating when they feel inadequate.

Men who cheat repeatedly are those who are repeatedly made to feel like they are less than others. They seek to find someone that makes them feel like a priority.


In essence, they try to fill the void that their partner used to occupy. Seeking attention outside a relationship is a sign that they were made to feel inadequate by their partners.

Looking for attention outside of a relationship is a prominent sign of an emerging betrayal in a relationship and the reason why men cheat.” Danielle Adinolfi, Sex Therapist


3. Men feel ashamed about their desire for pleasure

“Why do good husbands have affairs?” The answer might be – Shame. 


Why men have emotional affairs and not just physical is because of shame; this is why people cheat. I know that sounds ironic and like a cart-horse dilemma since many people become ashamed after getting caught cheating. However cheating behaviors are very often triggered by shame. I hate to be reductive and categorical, but what many men who have cheated have in common–both gay and straight–is some degree of shame about their desires for pleasure


A cheating man is often someone plagued by a strong but hidden sense of shame about his sexual desires. Many of them love and are deeply devoted to their partners, but over time they develop an intense fear of their desires being rejected.  


The closer any of us gets to someone we love, the more familiar and familial the bond becomes, and therefore the more difficult it is to seek pleasure as individuals–especially when it comes to sex and romance–without potentially hurting the other person in some way, and feeling shame as a result. 

 

Rather than risk the shame of exposing their desires and getting rejected, many men decide to have it both ways: a safe, secure, and loving relationship at home; and an exciting, liberating sexual relationship elsewhere. This is the answer to the question, “Why do men cheat?” 


As a therapist, I help people navigate the challenging task of negotiating sexual needs with their partners rather than resort to cheating or unnecessary breakups.  In many cases, couples decide to stay together as a result.  


In some cases, frank and transparent dialogue about conflicting desires may lead to necessary separation. But openly negotiating sexual needs is better for everyone involved than deceiving your partner and breaking the mutually recognized rules of the relationship.” Mark O’Connell  Psychotherapist


4. Men sometimes have an intimacy disorder

Why men cheat and lie in a relationship can be related to a deeper issue in their romantic life.


When thinking about why do men cheat on their wives, any sign of your man grappling with intimacy issues could be a red flag.


Men cheat because they have an intimacy disorder, whether they commit online cheating or in person.


They likely don’t know how to ask for intimacy (not JUST sex), or if they do ask, they don’t know how to do it in such a way that connects with the woman, who answers, “Why do men lie and cheat?” So, the man then looks for a cheap substitute to soothe his needs and desires for intimacy.” Greg Griffin, Pastoral Counselor


5. Men cheat because they choose to

Nothing “makes” men cheat on their partners; men cheat because they choose to.

Cheating is a choice. He will either choose to do it or choose not to.


Cheating is the manifestation of unresolved issues not dealt with, a void that is unfulfilled, and the inability to fully commit to the relationship and his partner. A husband cheating on his wife is not something that just happens. It is a choice that the husband has made. There is no justified explanation for why men cheat. Dr. Lawanda N. Evans, Counselor


6. Men cheat due to selfishness

“On the surface, there are many reasons why men cheat.  


Such as: “Grass is greener,” feeling desired, the thrill of the conquest, feeling trapped, unhappiness, etc.  Underneath all those reasons and others, it is pretty simple, selfishness.- the selfishness that hampers commitment, the integrity of character, and honoring another above self.” Sean Sears, Pastoral Counselor


7. Men cheat due to a lack of appreciation

Why do guys cheat even if they love you? They might be sensing a lack of appreciation.

“While there are numerous stated reasons, one theme that runs through them for men is the lack of appreciation and attention.


Many men feel they work hard for their families. They internalize their emotions and can feel they have been doing much and not receiving enough in return. This explains why men cheat.

The affair offers the opportunity to receive admiration, approval, new attention, seeing themselves anew in someone else’s eyes.” Robert Taibbi, Clinical social worker


8. Men seek love and attention

Why do men have affairs? Because they might be seeking more attention.

“There are a few reasons “Why men cheat,” but the one that sticks out for me is men like attentiveness. In relationships, cheating rears its ugly head when there is a lack of feeling loved and appreciated. 


Oftentimes, especially in our fast-paced rush, rush rush, society, couples get so busy that they forget to care for each other.

Conversations become centered on logistics, “Who’s picking up the kids today,” “Don’t forget to sign the papers for the bank,” etc. Men, like the rest of us, seek love and attention.

If they feel ignored, bullied, or nagged at constantly, they will seek someone out who listens, stops and compliments them, and makes them feel good, as opposed to what they felt like with their own partner, a failure. 


Men and emotional affairs go hand in hand when there is a lack of attention from the spouse. 

Emotionally cheating on your partner is, nonetheless, a form of cheating.” Dana Julian, Sex Therapist


9. Men need their egos stroked

“The one most common reason is personal insecurity which creates a huge need to have their ego stroked.

Any new “conquest” gives them the illusion that they are the most wonderful, which is why men have affairs. But because it’s based on external validation, the moment the new conquest complains about anything, the doubts are back with a vengeance, and he needs to look for a new conquest. This is why men cheat.


On the exterior, he looks secure and even arrogant. But it’s insecurity that drives him.” Ada Gonzalez, Family Therapist


10. Men become disillusioned with their marriage

“Often, men cheat on their wives because they have become disillusioned with their marriage. 

 

They thought that once they were married, life would be great.  They would be together with their spouse and be able to talk all they wanted and have sex when they wanted, and live in an unencumbered world together.  

However, they begin to do life together with work, financial responsibilities, and having children.  All of a sudden, the pleasure is gone.  


It appears that everything is about work and taking care of other people and their needs.  What about “my needs!”  This is why married men cheat. Men become jealous of those little ones in the house who are consuming all of their spouse’s time and energy.  

She doesn’t seem to want or desire him anymore.  All she does is take care of the kids, running everywhere with them and not paying attention to him. 


It is because they begin to look elsewhere for that person who will give them what they need, both – attentiveness and sexual admiration. They are under the assumption that another person can and will meet their needs and make them happy.  

They believe that it is not up to them but up to someone else to make them feel loved and wanted.  After all, “they deserve to be happy!” Debbie Mcfadden, Counselor


11. Men cheat if they have a sexual addiction

Sexual urges are one of the biggest reasons behind what makes a man cheat in a relationship.

“There are numerous reasons why men commit infidelity. One trend we have witnessed over the past 20 years has been an increase in the number of men who have been diagnosed with sexual addiction.


These individuals misuse sex to distract themselves from emotional distress that often is the result of past trauma or neglect.


They struggle to feel affirmed or desired, and this is the explanation for why men cheat.

They often have feelings of weakness and inferiority, and nearly all of them struggle with the ability to bond with others emotionally.


Their inappropriate actions are driven by impulse and the inability to compartmentalize their behaviors. Men who undergo counseling for sexual addiction learn why they abuse sex – including cheating – and with that insight can deal with past traumas and learn to emotionally connect with their spouse in a healthy way, therefore significantly reducing the likelihood of future infidelity.” Eddie Capparucci, Counselor




12. Men desire adventure

“Why do people cheat on people they love?


For the desire for adventure and thrill, risk-taking, and excitement seeking.

When husbands cheat, they escape from the routine and blandness of everyday life, the life between work, commute, boring weekends with kids, in front of the TV set or computer.

The way out from responsibilities, duties, and the specific role they have been given or adopted for themselves. This answers why men cheat.” Eva Sadowski, Counselor


13. Men cheat for various reasons

First, we have to recognize that there is a difference between why men cheat:

  • Variety

  • Boredom

  • The thrill of the hunt/danger of an affair

  • Some men have no idea why they are compelled to do it

  • No moral code for marriage

  • Inner drive/need for attention (need for attention exceeds normalcy)

The reasons men give for why husbands cheat will help you understand men’s views on affairs:

  • Their partner has a low sex drive/is not interested in sex

  • The marriage is collapsing

  • Unhappy with their partner

  • Their partner isn’t who they used to be

  • She gained weight

  • Their wife nags too much is trying to change him or is a “ball-buster”

  • Better sex with someone who understands them better

  • The chemistry is gone

  • From an evolutionary perspective– they weren’t designed to be monogamous

  • It’s just skin on skin– just sex, baby

  • Because they feel entitled/they can


At the end of the day, however, even if their spouse is intolerable at many levels, there are much better ways to address the issue.


The bottom line is that a wife can make a man cheat about as much as she can make him abuse alcohol or drugs– it doesn’t work this way.” David O. Saenz, Psychologist


14. Men cheat because of the darkness in their hearts

“One of the most common reasons men cheat on their partners centers on darkness in their heart or mind, where factors including lust, pride, the enticements of an affair, and personal frustrations with their partner or life, in general, make them susceptible to being unfaithful.” Eric Gomez, Counselor


15. Men cheat for avoidance, culture, value

“There is no one defining factor that determines infidelity.  

However, the three areas listed below are strong factors working in unison that can determine if one makes a choice to cheat on their spouse.


Avoidance: fear of looking at our own behaviors and choices. Feeling stuck or not being sure of what to do represents a fear of making a different choice.


Culturally ingrained: If society, parents, or societal leadership condones infidelity as a value where we may no longer see cheating as a negative behavior.


Value: If we see maintaining marriage as an important value (outside of abuse), we will be more open and willing to make new choices that work towards maintaining the marriage.

These are the reasons that explain why men cheat.” Lisa Fogel, Psychotherapist


16. Men cheat when their partners are unavailable

Men (or women) cheat when their partners are unavailable to them.

Both partners are particularly vulnerable during a reproductive journey, including loss or fertility challenges, especially if their grief paths diverge for long periods of time.

The weakness that comes through is why men cheat.” Julie Bindeman, Psychologist


17. Men cheat when there is a lack of intimacy

“It is because of intimacy.


Cheating is a result of a lack of intimacy in a marriage.  

Intimacy can be a challenge, but if a man is not feeling fully “seen” in his relationship or not communicating his needs, it can leave him feeling empty, lonely, angry, and unappreciated.


He may then want to fulfill that need outside the relationship.

It’s his way of saying, “Someone else sees me and my value and understands my needs, so I’m going to get what I need and want there instead.” Jake Myres, Marriage and Family Therapist


18. Men cheat when there is a lack of admiration

The single most common reason is this.


I see why men look outside the relationship for companionship as a perceived lack of admiration and approval by their partner.


It is because they tend to base their sense of self on how the people in the room view them; the outside world serves as a mirror of self-worth. So if a man encounters disapproval, disdain, or disappointment at home, they internalize those emotions.


So when a person outside the relationship then provides a counter to those feelings and shows a different “reflection” to the man, the man is often drawn to that.

And seeing yourself in an encouraging light, well, that’s often very hard to resist.” Crystal Rice, Counselor


19. Men cheat for ego inflation

“Why do happy people cheat?


I believe that some men cheat for ego inflation. It feels good to be considered desirable and attractive to others, unfortunately, even outside of marriage. The mindset of a cheating man is to feel powerful and alluring. This is sad but is the reason that tells why men cheat.” K’hara Mckinney, Marriage and Family Therapist


20. Infidelity is a crime of opportunity

“While there are numerous reasons that could explain why do men cheat on their partners, one of the most common reasons is that it is a ‘crime’ of opportunity.


Infidelity does not necessarily signal something wrong in the relationship; rather, it reflects that being in a relationship is a daily choice.” Trey Cole, Psychologist


21. Men cheat when they feel their woman is unhappy

“I believe men cheat because men live to make their women happy, and when they no longer feel that they are succeeding, they seek a new woman that they can make happy.  

Wrong, yes, but true why men cheat.” Terra Bruns, Relationship expert


22. Men cheat as an emotional element missing

“In my experience, people cheat because something is missing. A core emotional element that a person needs is not being met.


Either from within the relationship, which is more common, or someone comes along that fills that need.

But it can be something missing from within a person.

For example, a person who didn’t get a lot of attention in their younger years feels really good when they get special attention or are showing interest. This is why men cheat.” Ken Burns, Counselor


23. Men cheat when they don’t feel valued

“While there are, of course, some men who are just entitled jerks, who don’t respect their partners and simply feel they can do whatever they want, my experience is that men cheat chiefly because they don’t feel valued.


This can come in many different forms, of course, based on the individual. Some men may feel devalued if their partners don’t talk with them, spend time with them, or participate in hobbies with them. Others may feel devalued if their partners stop having regular sex with them. Or if their partners seem too busy with life, household, children, work, etc., to prioritize them.

But underlying all of that is a sense that the man does not matter, that he is not valued and that his partner no longer appreciates him.


This causes the men to seek attention elsewhere, and again in my experience, most often, it is first this seeking of attention from another (that is often referred to as an “emotional affair”) that then leads to sex later (in a “full-blown affair”).


So if you don’t prioritize your man, and don’t make him feel valued, then you shouldn’t be surprised when he seeks attention elsewhere.” Steven Stewart, Counselor


24. Men cheat when they can’t connect with themselves

“Why men cheat is because of their inability to emotionally connect to their wounded inner child who is searching to be nurtured and affirmed that they are enough and deserving of being loved simply due to their inherent worth and preciousness.

Since they struggle with this concept of worthiness, they continuously chase an unattainable goal and move from one person to the next.


I think this same concept applies to many women too.” Mark Glover, Counselor


25. Men cheat when their needs are not met

“I do not think that there is a common reason why men cheat because everyone is unique, and their situation is unique.


What happens in marriages to cause problems, such as an affair, is that people feel emotionally disconnected from their partner and do not know how to get their needs met in a healthy manner so they look for other ways to fulfill themselves.” Trish Pauls, Psychotherapist


26. Men miss being adored, admired, and desired

“Why men cheat is because they lack the very feeling that drew them into the long-term relationship they are in.  The feeling of being adored, admired, and desired is the romantic ail that feels so intoxicating.  


At around 6-18 months, it is not uncommon for the man to “fall off the pedestal” as reality sets in and life’s challenges become a priority.


People, not just men, by the way, miss this short and intense phase.  This feeling, which play supon self-esteem and early attachment deprivation, counteracts all insecurity and self-doubt.  

It gets deeply rooted in the psyche and lives there, waiting to be reactivated.  While a long-term partner can provide other important feelings, it is nearly impossible to replicate this original insatiable desire.  


Along comes a stranger, who may immediately activate this feeling.  

Temptation in full swing can hit hard, especially when one is not being elevated by his partner on a regular basis.” Katherine Mazza, Psychotherapist


27. Men cheat when they feel unacknowledged

“There’s no one single reason why men cheat, but one common thread has to do with feeling unappreciated and not taken care of well enough in the relationship.

Many people feel they’re the ones doing most of the work in the relationship and that the work isn’t seen or rewarded.


When we feel like all our effort goes unacknowledged, and we don’t know how to give ourselves the love and admiration we need, we look outside.

A new lover tends to be adoring and focuses on all our best qualities, and this delivers the approval we’re desperate for—approval that’s lacking from both our partner and ourselves. ”Vicki Botnick, Counselor and Psychotherapist


28. Different circumstances under which men cheat

“There are no simple answers to this question as to why men cheat because each man has his own reasons, and each circumstance is different.

Also, there certainly are differences between a man who gets caught up in multiple affairs, porn addiction, cyber affairs, or sleeping with prostitutes and a man who falls in love with his co-worker.


The reasons for sex addiction are embedded in trauma, while often, men who have single affairs cite a lack of something they need in their primary relationships.

Sometimes they miss passionate sex, but just as often, they report that they don’t feel seen or appreciated by their wives. Women get busy running the household, working in their own careers, and rearing the children.


At home, men report that they often feel neglected and taken for granted. In that state of loneliness, they become susceptible to the attention and adoration of someone new.

At work, they are looked up to, feel powerful and worthy, and may cultivate a relationship with a woman who notices that.” Mary Kay Cocharo, Couples Therapist


29. Modern romantic idea is the cause of infidelity

“Why men cheat is because they focus on the romantic idea, which is practically a setup for infidelity.  


When a relationship inevitably loses its initial luster, it is not uncommon to long for the passion, sexual thrill, and idealized connection with another that was present when it began.  

Those who understand and trust the evolution of love that exists in a truly committed relationship will rarely find themselves tempted to cheat.” Marcie Scranton, Psychotherapist


30. Men seek novelty

“Recent research shows that men and women cheat to about the same degree.  The common reason why men cheat is to seek novelty.

  

The common reason women cheat is because of frustrations in their relationship.” Gerald Schoenewolf, Psychoanalyst


Dr. Kenneth Rosenberg, an addiction psychiatrist and author of ” Infidelity: Why men and women cheat,” says science can help explain why some spouses cheat. Watch the video:



What to do if your man is cheating on you?

Discovering that your partner is cheating can be incredibly painful. While every situation is unique, here are some simple steps to consider if your man is cheating:

  • Talk openly: Initiate an honest conversation. Ask him about your suspicions and listen to his side of the story.

  • Trust your instincts: If the evidence is clear, trust your gut. Ignoring the signs can prolong the pain.

  • Seek support: Reach out to friends or a therapist for emotional support. You don’t have to go through this alone.

  • Consider counseling: Relationship counseling can help both of you communicate and decide on the best way forward.

  • Assess your future: Ultimately, decide if the relationship is worth salvaging or if it’s time to move on and prioritize your well-being.


Common myths about why men cheat

We’ve all heard a lot about why men cheat, but not everything you hear is true. Let’s debunk some common myths about the reasons behind infidelity:

Myth: Men cheat for more sex: While physical attraction can play a role, men often cheat due to emotional or relationship issues, not just the desire for more sex.

Myth: Men cheat because they’re unhappy: Happiness in the relationship isn’t always the issue. Men might cheat for various reasons, including boredom or opportunity.

Myth: Men cheat when they’re drunk or away: Cheating isn’t always impulsive. It can be a planned decision made when sober and even when they’re close by.

Myth: Men cheat because their partner isn’t attractive: Attractiveness is subjective, and many men cheat even when they’re with someone they find attractive.

Myth: Men cheat because they want to leave the relationship: Cheating doesn’t always mean they want to end the relationship. It’s more complex and often tied to personal issues and not necessarily a desire to leave.


Commonly asked questions

Cheating is a sensitive and complex topic in relationships. Here are some straightforward answers to common questions about cheating

  • Is cheating ever justified?

Cheating is generally not justified. Open communication and addressing relationship issues are healthier alternatives to infidelity.

  • What are the consequences of cheating?

Consequences of cheating can include trust issues, emotional pain, and damaged relationships. It can lead to breakups and even legal issues in some cases.

  • How can I tell if a man is cheating?

Signs may include unusual behavior, increased secrecy, changes in routine, or decreased intimacy. Trust your instincts but communicate openly for clarity.

  • What should I do if I think a man is cheating?

Approach the issue calmly and honestly. Share your concerns and ask for clarity. Communication is key to resolving doubts.

  • How can I prevent my partner from cheating?

Preventing cheating involves building a strong foundation of trust and open communication in your relationship. Address problems as they arise, keep the connection strong, and prioritize each other’s needs.


Approaching the issue properly

Now that you know the various reasons why men cheat and lie, you must make an honest effort to take care of the critical aspects to save your marriage, if you’re willing to. 

Of course, you can do nothing if it is done deliberately by your husband to get rid of you or hurt you.


But in other cases, when you know that your husband is a great person, try to cultivate a deeper bond, friendship, and love. No man in his right mind would want to ruin a relationship that offers him all this and more.


These pieces of useful advice will help women identify the reasons why men cheat and perhaps give them some insight into how men think and what they can do to prevent them from cheating.

 
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