Men cheating on wife

This Is The Real Reason Why Men Cheat

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New research shows we've got male infidelity all wrong. - by Dr. Alicia M. Walker

Like many of us, I thought cheaters participated in cheating as a “way out” of their marriage. I assumed cheating was mate-shopping for their next partner. Why else would they seek another partner given the expense, stress of lying, and time involved? As most public cheating scandals go, a person – usually a man – feels dissatisfied in their marriage or relationship, so they cheat, get caught, and get their way out. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered a new perspective: Cheating in order to remain married.

After recognising a lack of academic research on this topic, I decided to gather my own data to learn what cheaters actually hope to accomplish by stepping outside of their marriage. I contacted Ashley Madison, the controversial married dating site that’s seen 70 million members join since its launch in 2002. With their help, I spoke with nearly 100 self-identified cheaters and learned first-hand how much grey area exists when it comes to infidelity. I also learned how wrong all those “commonsense” ideas about cheating really are.

My conversations with Ashley Madison members have produced two books, detailing the behaviors and rationales of both female and male cheaters, which, for the most part, go against what we typically believe to be true. Where a lack of sexual satisfaction at home motivates women to seek out affairs, men crave the emotional connection and support their spouse neglects to provide. I address the latter in my latest endeavour, Chasing Masculinity: Men, Validation, and Infidelity, which reveals the surprising truth about male infidelity, and flips the script when it comes to what we think motivates men to cheat.

For this research, I spoke to 46 men ranging from 27 to 70 years of age, all either married or partnered, and all very eager to share their experience with me. While these men report a fondness and deep love for their spouse, they also report a very low or nonexistent amount of validation, and an inadequate amount of attention and praise from her.

Without speaking to these men’s wives, it’s impossible to know whether they purposefully withhold praise, attention, and relational management, as the men claim. Perhaps an inequality of the division of household labour resulted in some long-held resentment on the part of their wives. Possibly it’s simply that household chores and childcare dominated their wives’ time and energy, leaving nothing left for their husbands. Regardless, these men internalised the dynamics in those relationships as a condemnation of them and their masculinity.

Their decision to cheat comes from the desire to experience the love and affection they expect to receive from their wife, but has faded over time. After years of enduring those unmet needs, infidelity became a way for them to be doted on while not having to give up a partnership that still means the world to them.

Sex naturally plays a role in the decision as well, as 76% of the men in this sample report being in a sexless marriage. However, where their own orgasms and sexual pleasure motivated women, hearing praise for their sexual prowess made men feel worthy and manly. To them, their wives treat sex as a chore and lack all enthusiasm about it. Men internalise that disinterest as, “I’m not good enough” and “I’m a disappointment. ” They feel undervalued not only as a sexual partner, but as a person. Their outside partners function as the person to whom they go for that praise and recognition. And more often than not, just one “monogamous” affair partner is all they need, unlike many women, who prefer to maintain several concurrent affairs.

That is not to say, though, that the decision to cheat functioned as the first step men took when they felt unsatisfied in their marriage. In fact, these men spent years speaking to their spouse about what was and wasn’t working for them, and asking how they could improve, but weren’t given a substantial answer – or much acknowledgement, in many cases.

Articulating that feeling of under-appreciation and asking, “Why aren’t you interested in me anymore?” can be a very hard thing to do. And when you pass that hurdle and then face a spouse who simply turns a blind eye, is the next step to file for divorce and upend your life? That’s not an option for many people, whether it be financial restraints, children, or knowing it’s not worth it to end a marriage over one missing component. As one participant told me, “I decided my marriage had too many great things about it to end things because of the lack of intimacy.”

A total disinterest in changing their home life exists as a common understanding between affair partners. That is, they prefer the life they share with their spouse. As I mentioned, these men carry a deep love for their wife and 96% of them have absolutely no interest in leaving the marriage. One participant says:

“[My outside partner and I] know that we do not desire a change in our primary partners. We are not ‘in love.’ We enjoy each other, thank each other, and go back to our lives. My wife is my best friend. I enjoy her immensely. Our personalities match well. Our goals are well aligned, as I believe are the goals of my outside partner.”

These men were in real pain before they decided to cheat, both from the neglect they were facing and the realisation that the reality of marriage didn’t line up with their expectations. For many, part of that pain persists knowing that the woman who’s now satisfying their needs isn’t the one woman they ultimately want that satisfaction from: Their wife.

Would these men be happiest with just their wife? Contrary to the common “men can’t resist temptation” narrative, yes, they would be (most men actually enjoy monogamy and are often far less interested in the idea of an open marriage than women are). But circumstances change and reality sets in. Infidelity works as a viable path for them to preserve their happiness and ultimately their marriage.

During the process of putting Chasing Masculinity together, people constantly told me, “I can tell you right now why men cheat, you don’t have to write a book about it.” As it turns out, I did. If I hadn’t, the unfortunate perception we have of men – specifically cheating men – may not have been adequately questioned and challenged.

Alicia M. Walker, PhD is an assistant professor of sociology at Missouri State University and writer. Her latest book, Chasing Masculinity: Men, Validation, and Infidelity, is available now.

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12 Reasons Why Happily Married Men Cheat

In This Article

Infidelity is always a terrible thing to have to go through in a relationship. It’s also more commonly done by men than women. The Institute for Family Studies (IFS) reported from the recent General Social Survey that 20% of men cheat on their spouses compared to 13% of women. 

The heartbreak and frustration it causes can be very damaging and you’re often left wondering how a once happy affair went wrong. This article can help explain why do happily married men cheat.

12 reasons why do happily married men cheat

Why would a happily married man cheat? It’s a question that has no clear answer to it but, as a rule, men rarely cheat because they’re unhappy. There’s a variety of reasons why a man would cheat, and it’s not always the same for everyone. So, we’ve compiled the top reasons why a happy husband would resort to infidelity.

1. Lack of needs being met

What usually causes problems in marriage is when a person’s needs in a relationship aren’t being fully met. They could be overall happy with their partner but still feel a sense of dissatisfaction. They are unable to fully resolve this and have their needs met in a healthy manner, so they decide to look for it in someone else.

2. Poor personal boundaries

Do happily married men cheat? Sometimes, not of their own volition. Not having any limits in relationships or with other people regarding what behavior would be acceptable or unacceptable may increase the chances of men being involved in affairs. 

If he’s someone who’s overly compliant and has difficulty saying ‘no,’ he might find himself in an affair even if he may not have wanted one in the first place. 

Related Reading: 10 Personal Boundaries You Need in Your Relationship

3. Insecurities

Everyone has insecurities but sometimes how we handle them may not be as healthy as we would like. Your husband could be a great spouse and a great father to your kids and because of that he could be under a lot of pressure to keep your family happy.

They’re unable to talk about these insecurities and address them in a way that’s healthy, so they look for ways to have it resolved in secret through an affair.

Related Reading: 16 Signs of Insecurity in Relationships

4. Wanting self-exploration

A married man cheating on his wife is also usually someone who feels stifled in their ability to express themselves in their relationship. For them, infidelity is a chance to explore parts of themselves that they never got to experience or have repressed a long time ago. 

It’s also not a case of wanting to change who they are, fundamentally, as a person. It’s more so them wanting to feel free and unburdened long enough to feel like they’re growing and experiencing life. In cases like these, they’re not looking for another person in their life. Instead, as cheesy as it may sound, they’re searching for themselves.

Related Reading: 5 Ways Being Self-Aware Can Help Improve a Relationship

5. The allure of doing what they shouldn’t

Why do men have affairs? Sometimes, it’s simply because they know they shouldn’t that tempts them to do exactly the opposite. It’s the allure of the ‘forbidden fruit.’ 

Therapist Esther Perel once said that affairs are rarely about attraction and sex, it’s more about the thrill and the desire of getting what we’re not supposed to have.

6. Wanting to feel less dependent and vulnerable

It may be surprising, but emotions do play a part in a man’s infidelity. This is also related to the insecurities your husband might have. For the most part, men find it hard to truly express their emotions and be vulnerable, even to themselves. 

It’s why marriage becomes scary because it’s all about being vulnerable and dependent on one person. To feel less vulnerable, he’ll often resort to having an affair as a way of spreading out the intimate details of himself and not feeling completely emotionally dependent on one person.

Check out the importance of vulnerability in the relationships:

7. Instant self-gratification

Does a happy man cheat? Yes, he most certainly does but not because of a lack of satisfaction. Most of the time, it’s tied with their ego.

As most people have figured out, selfishness is often the driving factor for men to have an affair. He may be happily married but cheating on his wife because of that need for instant satisfaction that his wife might not be able to give him at that exact moment.

Related Reading: Unlocking the Secrets to Marriage Satisfaction

8. Thinking they can get away with it

A lot of men cheat because they think they can get away with it. They justify it by telling themselves that they’re a good guy, a good husband, and a good father so the cheating shouldn’t be a big deal. 

They fail to understand that their wives don’t really see it that way and thus fail to realize the devastation their infidelity brings.

9. Immaturity

This is often one of the leading reasons men cheat. When someone lacks experience and lacks the maturity needed to work through the core aspects of a relationship, it can often lead to them thinking there is room for fluidity in their faithfulness and loyalty to their wives. 

They’ll then come up with a lot of justifications for their actions that are often masked in denial. They lack the emotional maturity to realize that their actions have consequences.

Related Reading: 10 Signs of Emotional Immaturity and Ways to Deal With It

10. Novelty of the experience

It’s a common thing to wonder why happily married man has an affair, and a lot of the time, the answer to that question is the adventure and thrill of going behind your wife’s back. 

Being in an established relationship means the comfort of reliability and routine, and some men are happy with that. But then, eventually, they’ll crave the excitement that being in an affair brings.

11. The crime of opportunity

Even someone in a strong and happy marriage can end up becoming vulnerable when an opportunity arises. This is usually the case when a husband cheats on his wife with someone he’s known, like a colleague he finds attractive, instead of a complete stranger. 

They often justify it by saying that the opportunity was right there and they felt like they couldn’t just let it pass them. 

12. Body image

Sometimes, cheating is a way for men to prove to themselves that they ‘still have it.’ It’s directly tied to selfishness and wanting their ego to be stroked.

By being involved in an affair with someone else, it makes them feel good knowing that, even outside of marriage, they are still desirable and attractive to other people. 

Can a cheating husband still love his wife?

It’s very common to hear men who have cheated on their wives claim to still love them. Other people may see it as genuine, yet other people might see it as just a way to appease their wives and not get into further trouble.

This question of whether an unfaithful husband can still love his wife is complicated and doesn’t really have a clear-cut answer. Love is a complicated emotion in the first place, and infidelity isn’t always as straightforward as most people think it is. 

Why do men have affairs if they are happily married? As mentioned in the previous section, there are a variety of reasons that compel men to cheat and not all of them indicate the man falling out of love with his wife.

Having intimate and sexual connections with others is usually why married men cheat. They see their affairs as something that doesn’t need any deep emotional bond. This means that there’s no real romantic connection between them. 

It may not necessarily mean that he’s stopped loving his wife, but it does signify that he failed to respect and honor her the way he should have.

Why do married men cheat yet still stay with their wives?

There are a few reasons why men who have affairs still choose to stay with their wives:

There have been cases of men still being in love with their wives despite being unfaithful to them. They cheat because they crave the excitement or have deep desires that aren’t being met and may be too ashamed to ask their wives for what they need. 

Married men who cheat fear that if they leave their wives to pursue their affair, or if their wives find out about the affair, then divorce is the likely choice she’s going to make. 

The financial implications and the stress going through a divorce brings are things they do not want to deal with, so they choose to stay married instead of admitting their infidelity.

Despite the selfishness that having a relationship on the side exhibits, a lot of men still care about how their wives would feel about their infidelity. The same can’t be said for those who lack emotional maturity, but most men choose to stay with their wives because would rather not cause them any unnecessary pain.

How does couples’ counseling help deal with infidelity?

No matter what the reason may be, cheating is still wrong and can cause great pain to the other party. It leaves you frustrated and wondering why do guys cheat when they are happy. 

Trying to come to terms with it can lead to a lot of emotional distress, both for the couple and the therapist they choose to go to after the affair.

But the role of a couples’ therapist is crucial in order to properly guide the husband and the wife through this overwhelming crisis. The American Psychological Association has reported that using EFT or Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples counseling has a 75 percent chance of success.

Even couples who were perfectly happy and in sync with one another need an expert to guide them through the amount of betrayal, mistrust, and hurt that came out of the affair. It’s important to properly navigate through them in order to have a chance at rebuilding the relationship if they both want to, and healing from it. 

Therapists do not only have to figure out the root cause of the issue and its treatment but they have to find a way to provide the necessary tools needed to rebuild that trust and confidence and create an environment where the clients can properly work through their issues.

Wrapping up

Now, you’re no longer left wondering, ‘Why do happily married husbands cheat on their wives?’ Knowing and having an idea of the root cause of the issue is a step towards acceptance and healing from it. 

Having this information also means that you can do what you can to save your marriage while you still can. Of course, you can’t exactly guarantee your husband’s faithfulness because, at the end of the day, it still boils down to the choices he makes. 

But there’s no harm in trying to cultivate a much deeper bond with him, whether it’s through your physical or emotional connections. If a man knows that what you can offer him in your relationship is something he can’t get from anyone else, then he’s less likely to cheat. 

In cases where he does end up cheating, couples counseling is an effective way to work through any issues both of you have that could be the cause of his infidelity. At the same time, you won’t have to deal with your emotional distress on your own because you’ll be able to talk about it with a professional.  

Whatever the reason for the affair, the heartbreak it causes is just as devastating. The pieces of advice shared in this article help provide an insight into how the mind of a cheating husband works and hopefully give you an idea of the things you can do to prevent any infidelity from happening.  

Why men cheat: anonymous confession

654 202

Treason Man and woman

Why am I cheating? Because infidelity sharpens memory. Everything fades into the background when I look at the naked back of an unfamiliar woman, slightly bending on the sheets in the rays of the evening sun in a country hotel room. This is the most honest choice I can make. I'm here alone in defiance of all the codes and rules that I pretend to obey. Contrary to common sense, back thoughts and wisdom of years, at this moment I do not regret anything. I want to be here. I upvoted it, announced it, and I can feel the blood running through my veins. I'm alive. I am equal to myself. nine0003

Men are considered unfaithful because they have the opportunity to do so. It's true, it's easy to change. We leave almost no evidence. The checklist doesn't require much—wash here and there, enlist the sympathy of the woman you're sleeping with, choose the right meeting place, and keep track of the time. But by and large, infidelity is very easy to hide. More often than any man is able to admit, she has no consequences.

Cheating is a male need, because sex should not be predetermined and planned

But men cheat not because they can, but because they have to, they need it. This is a man's need. She makes us change again and again. Because sex should not be predetermined and planned. This is not a story about two individuals who are destined to meet in a dark night, this is a matter of chance.

You probably know that love for life is a lie, and monogamous love is a lie. If you are changing, these ideas will guide you. This does not mean that you are incapable of love. This doesn't mean you don't want what love or even marriage has to offer. Paradox. You live according to your beliefs and do not deceive yourself. But you have to conform to the common lie. nine0003

And you have to follow the rules. You should only sleep with those who have the same risks. The phrase "You don't shit where you eat" makes sense when you have an office romance. You never use the word love, even in the context of making love. You don't have sex with people who are too young to fall in love with you or schizophrenics. Don't brag about your association with a celebrity. You stay away from the wives of your friends. If you have a mistress in another city, then you do not visit it just for sex. These rules are the fruits of hard experience, and there are many more. I change spontaneously. nine0003

Loyalty is a test that forces you to ignore your abilities, drowns out any feeling of victory

At home, I am attentive to family responsibilities. It's like a test, and men need tests. Loyalty is a test that confronts a man with his own instincts, forces him to ignore his abilities, drowns out any feeling of victory. Marriage takes the average guy away from everything he once knew about himself. And some guys pass this test. They succeed. And I like to listen to their nonsense. All those "I love my wife so much" conversations that moralistic assholes have over cocktails. I don't interfere, I don't touch them. Men don't fight over such things. nine0003

I love my wife too, but that's nobody's business. And as a rule, this nonsense is carried by people who drop in on the way home to a strip club, watch porn in their offices and periodically visit dating sites, cheating according to the quota allocated to them. I don't do anything like that. My home life is clean. I'm better focused on her than they are. I fit better with what surrounds me - my family, my wife, my work. In a way, this is true because I'm not afraid to change.

Cheating is when the body asserts its superiority over the soul, the triumph of genetic need, the victory of the desired over the obligatory

You learn a lot when you cheat, and you also laugh a lot. Sometimes you open up more with a woman you've spent 45 minutes with than with someone you've lived with for 45 years. You are not required to change, you are free to choose. It worries. Because more than anything, betrayal is when the body asserts its superiority over the soul, the triumph of the genetic need, the victory of the desired over the obligatory. nine0003

This does not mean that cheating is good or that I am promoting infidelity. I don't care how you live. I'm just explaining why men cheat. It's the mathematics of their reproductive system, a by-product of longer life, exhausting work, high overload. This is the consequence of an instinctive refusal to sacrifice one's own needs in the name of a flawed and outdated marriage apparatus.

Text: Xenia Diakova-Tinoku Photo Source: Getty Images

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Which men cheat: August 31, 2021, 21:30

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Which men cheat

August 31, 2021, 21:30


It is conditionally possible to divide men into those who fundamentally strive to remain faithful to their beloved, and those who allow affairs on the side. The conditionality of this division is caused by numerous nuances in this matter. Sometimes there are men who themselves tend to change, but being in a relationship with a woman who satisfies them in everything, they don’t look at others. And sometimes a man who knows how to be faithful is capable of treason, being unhappy in an existing relationship. nine0003

  • Hook man . Invariably self-confident and always knowing what a woman needs. Such often have a large arsenal and do not seek to create a family, wanting to have freedom and not have "luggage". In his freedom, such a man does not allow restrictions. He can have a family simply because "it's necessary." However, he does not stop walking around women after marriage. Such a man is constantly trying to prove to himself: "But I can still do it."
  • Gentleman . Not very different from the above, but quality is important to him, and he is not interested in quantity. Likes active, bright, extraordinary women. Sometimes such a man falls into his own network, meeting a similar egoist. Then he will play enough and return to the family until the next "crusade" happens. Nevertheless, he is not inclined to leave the family in principle.
  • Narcissus . He tends to choose "victims" for himself, guided by the principle "I need everyone to praise and admire me." Divides women into two extreme categories: beautiful and ugly. For them to attribute a woman to the latter, it is enough for her simply not to appreciate his masculine beauty. Marries, as a rule, also only because "it is customary." Usually he marries a "ugly woman", because he needs to justify his campaigns by the fact that his wife is allegedly not very good for him. nine0056
  • A man "in the full sense of the word." This category is the most numerous. Considers himself polygamous. Accordingly, the only woman is not enough for him. For this reason, he can run around with an unhappy look, because he feels the need to tell about his "exploits" to his friends, who should praise him. However, a representative of this category is usually very afraid of losing a family. Therefore, it can be quickly "pinned down" if the wife begins to pack her bags with the words "I find out - I'll go to my mother ..."
  • Watcher . The most sophisticated category of "walker". He can try to push his wife against his mistress, watching the "cinema" arranged by him. This is a kind of game for him.
  • Abusers, i.e. men prone to violence. They enjoy psycho-emotional, sexual and other physical violence against their own wives. In the perception of such a man, a woman is not a person. She is his victim or a means to achieve his goals. Abusers use women to satisfy their own emotional or vital needs. After squeezing everything that is possible, the abuser can move from one woman to another. However, sometimes he leaves the first in the role of the mother of his children and housewife. nine0056

Which men do not cheat

Theoretically, it is possible to single out men who are not capable of cheating. Of course, their division into categories is similar to the previous one, very conditional. Much depends on the specific situation.