Why do men have affairs psychology

13 Reasons Why Men Cheat

Source: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

After almost three decades of working with couples decimated by infidelity, I can tell you that men who cheat on a beloved wife or girlfriend can be amazingly creative when they try to explain why. Sometimes cheating men tell me, and the women they love, that their behavior doesn’t really count as cheating, because it didn’t involve actual sex. Other times, they find ways to blame others for their choices—their spouse, their boss, even the other woman.

[Yes, I understand that women also cheat. I have written about that numerous times, including here. However, this post is about cheating men.]

As a therapist, I find most of the reasons that cheating men use to justify their infidelity fascinating—because almost all of these reasons imply that cheating was the only logical solution to their relationship issues and other life problems. I often find myself thinking, “Sure, cheating is an option, but only one among many. How about taking up a hobby, or volunteering to make the world a better place, or actually talking to your significant other about what you’re feeling and how the two of you might be able to craft a more fulfilling relationship? Wouldn’t any of those choices be better than lying, manipulating, and keeping important secrets from a woman you truly care about?”

But most men don’t have that type of insight. So when confronted, they minimize, rationalize, and justify their behavior with statements like:

  • Every guy wants to have sex with other women. And when the opportunity arises, he takes it.
  • It’s a man’s biological imperative to have sex with as many women as he can. Why should I be any different?
  • If I got enough (or better) sex at home, I wouldn’t need to cheat.
  • I’m not doing anything that most of my buddies don’t do. If you don’t believe me, ask them.
  • If my wife hadn’t gained so much weight—or if she was nicer to me, or more attentive—I wouldn’t have even thought about going elsewhere.
  • If my job wasn’t so stressful, I wouldn’t need the release I get from online sex.
  • Cheating? Really? I mean, who would rationally call getting a lap dance in a strip club infidelity? It’s just what guys do for fun.
  • My dad looked at magazines and went to strip clubs, and that wasn’t a big deal. Well, I have webcam chats and interactive sex. What’s the difference?
  • If the police had been out chasing actual bad guys, I wouldn’t have gotten caught in that prostitution sting. Why don’t they go after some real criminals?
  • I’m only sexting and flirting. Where’s the harm in that? I don’t meet up with any of these women in person. It’s just a game.

In the therapy business, we have a name for this type of reasoning: Denial. From a psychotherapy perspective, denial is a series of internal lies and deceits people tell themselves to make their questionable behaviors seem OK (at least in their own minds). Typically, each self-deception is supported by one or more rationalizations, with each one bolstered by still more falsehoods. In the eyes of an impartial observer, such as a therapist, a cheating man’s denial typically looks about as solid as a house of cards in a stiff breeze, yet these men will doggedly insist their rationale is sound.

This, of course, begs the question: Why? Why do men really cheat? And why do they sometimes continue cheating after they’re caught, even in the face of profoundly unwanted consequences like divorce, loss of parental contact, loss of social standing, and the like?

The truth is that all sorts of dynamics can play into a man’s decision to engage in infidelity. Generally, though, his choice to cheat is driven by one or more of the following factors:

  1. Immaturity: If he does not have a lot of experience in committed relationships, or if he doesn’t fully understand that his actions will inevitably have consequences like hurting his partner, he may think it is fine to have sexual adventures. He might think of his commitment to monogamy as a jacket that he can put on or take off as he pleases, depending on the circumstances.
  2. Co-occurring Issues: He may have an ongoing problem with alcohol and, or, drugs that affect his decision-making, resulting in regrettable sexual decisions. Or maybe he has a problem like sexual addiction, meaning he compulsively engages in sexual fantasies and behaviors as a way to numb out and avoid life.
  3. Insecurity: He may feel as if he is too old (or too young), not handsome enough, not rich enough, not smart enough, etc. (An astonishing amount of male cheating is linked, at least in part, to a mid-life crisis.) To bolster his flagging ego, he seeks validation from women other than his mate, using this sextracurricular spark of interest to feel wanted, desired, and worthy.
  4. It’s Over, Version 1: He may want to end his current relationship. However, instead of just telling his partner that he’s unhappy and wants to break things off, he cheats and then forces her to do the dirty work.
  5. It’s Over, Version 2: He may want to end his current relationship, but not until he’s got another one lined up. So he sets the stage for his next relationship while still in the first one.
  6. Lack of Male Social Support: He may have undervalued his need for supportive friendships with other men, expecting his social and emotional needs to be met entirely by his significant other. And when she inevitably fails in that duty, he seeks fulfillment elsewhere.
  7. Confusion About Limerence versus Commitment: He might misunderstand the difference between romantic intensity and long-term love, mistaking the neurochemical rush of early romance, technically referred to as limerence, for love, and failing to understand that in healthy, long-term relationships limerence is replaced over time with less intense, but ultimately more meaningful forms of connection.
  8. Childhood Abuse: He may be reenacting or latently responding to unresolved childhood trauma—neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, etc. In such cases, his childhood wounds have created attachment and intimacy issues that leave him unable or unwilling to fully commit to one person. He might also be using the excitement and distraction of sexual infidelity as a way to self-soothe the pain of these old, unhealed wounds.
  9. Selfishness: It’s possible that his primary consideration is for himself and himself alone. He can therefore lie and keep secrets without remorse or regret, as long as it gets him what he wants. It’s possible he never intended to be monogamous. Rather than seeing his vow of monogamy as a sacrifice made to and for his relationship, he views it as something to be avoided and worked around.
  10. Terminal Uniqueness: He may feel like he is different and deserves something special that other men might not. The usual rules just don’t apply to him, so he is free to reward himself outside his primary relationship whenever he wants.
  11. Unfettered Impulse: He may never have even thought about cheating until an opportunity suddenly presented itself. Then, without even thinking about what infidelity might do to his relationship, he went for it.
  12. Unrealistic Expectations: He may feel that his partner should meet his every whim and desire, sexual and otherwise, 24/7, regardless of how she feels at any particular moment. He fails to understand that she has a life of her own, with thoughts and feelings and needs that don’t always involve him. When his expectations are not met, he seeks external fulfillment.
  13. Anger, Revenge: He may cheat to get revenge. He is angry with his mate and wants to hurt her. In such cases, the infidelity is meant to be seen and known. The man does not bother to lie or keep secrets about his cheating, because he wants his partner to know about it.

For most men, no single factor drives the decision to cheat. And sometimes a man’s reasons for infidelity evolve as his life circumstances change. Regardless of his true reasons for cheating, he didn’t have to do it. There are always other options: couple’s therapy, golf, being open and honest with a mate and working to improve the relationship, or separation or divorce. A man always has choices that don’t involve degrading and potentially ruining his integrity and the life he and his significant other have created. Still, knowing why he cheated can be helpful in terms of not repeating the behavior in the future.

The 8 Reasons Why People Cheat

Source: BAZA Production/Shutterstock

Cheating. It’s the ultimate relationship violation, and one of the most notorious relationship killers. But all affairs aren’t created equal. Some of these relationships are brief trysts, others are longer affairs. A partner’s infidelity can end the relationship, but not always. To understand how these different outcomes come about, we have to go back to the beginning. Why are partners unfaithful in the first place?

In the quest for answers, the most common culprit is to diagnose what’s missing from the relationship, especially sexually. But that type of blame game is an oversimplification that misses a lot of what’s really taking place. In fact, a recently published study by Dylan Selterman, Justin Garcia, and Irene Tsapelas found that only half of the cheaters reported having vaginal intercourse. Certainly, sex is part of the picture, but if cheating isn’t entirely about sex, then what’s motivating people to be unfaithful?

The Many Motivations for Cheating

Lots of reasons. The same study sampled 495 individuals who admitted to cheating in their relationship. To understand their actions, researchers gave them 77 items that all essentially asked: Why did you do it? The analysis revealed eight key motivations, most of which didn’t involve sex at all. For example, many said they cheated due to anger, lack of love, low commitment, esteem, situation, and neglect. Importantly, the reasons why they cheated not only impacted their affairs but their primary relationship as well.

There are a lot of reasons why people cheat on their romantic partner.

Source: (Selterman et al., 2020)

The Anatomy of an Affair

Motivations for cheating impacted the length of affairs. When people cheated due to anger, lack of love, or variety, their affairs were longer, while those motivated by the situation had shorter affairs. Women also had longer affairs on average than men. Affairs were also longer and more emotionally satisfying when participants felt closer to their affair partner.

In the affairs, most (62.8 percent) admitted to expressing affection for the new partner and having sexually explicit dialogue (61.2 percent). Roughly 4 out of 10 (37.6 percent) had intimate conversations, while 1 in 10 (11.1 percent) said: “I love you.” Those who reported less emotional connection in their primary relationship had more intimacy with their affair partner, perhaps as a way to seek out missing fulfillment. The key motivation for greater emotional intimacy with affair partners was lack of love in the primary relationship. Similarly, when the affair was prompted by lack of love, individuals found the affair more intellectually and emotionally satisfying, but much less so when the situation motivated the affair.

Much of the sexual activity in affairs involved kissing (86.7 percent) and cuddling (72.9 percent). Mutual masturbation (53.5 percent), oral sex (46.4 percent, vaginal sex (53.3 percent), anal sex (6.1 percent), and no physical contact (5.7 percent) were all less common. Individuals were more satisfied sexually with their affair partner when they cheated due to sexual desire and variety, as well we lack of love, but not when they were cheating because of the situation. Men and women reported similar frequencies of sex with the affair partner and did not differ in their sexual satisfaction levels.

Do People

Want to Get Caught?

We typically think of cheating as a clandestine enterprise, the success of which depends on not getting discovered. But some cheaters aren’t as careful as others, perhaps intentionally. Those cheating due to lack of love went on more public dates like going out to dinner or the movies. Kissing in public and other public displays of affection were more common for those motivated by lack of love, wanting to boost their own self-esteem, and those seeking more variety. Again, not exactly secretive behavior. Clearly, these individuals weren’t as concerned about getting caught and may have even wanted to get caught (i.e., the affair was an exit strategy). In each case, situational cheaters were less inclined to cheat out in the open, perhaps because they had no plans of ending their primary relationship.

Confessions of a Cheater

Why people cheat impacts how they handle it. For example, many cheaters confessed their affair. In fact, there was almost a 50/50 split between disclosers and secret-keepers. Women were more likely to fess up than men. Overall, those who came clean were more likely to have cheated initially out of anger or neglect, and not because of sexual desire or variety. Those motivations suggest that the confessions were likely a form of retribution and more about being nasty than noble. However, those who came clean were also more likely to form a committed relationship with the affair partner.

Cheating’s Aftermath: The Affair Partner

What happened with the affair partner? The affairs rarely resulted in real relationships with only one out of 10 of the affairs ultimately turning into a full-fledged committed relationship (11. 1 percent). More commonly, people only saw that person occasionally (31.1 percent), with another third (29.9 percent) staying friends with their affair partner, and the remaining 25.5 percent shutting the affair partner out and having no contact with them. Those who cheated for situational reasons, or for reasons of variety, were less likely to have transitioned into a serious relationship and more likely to see their affair partner occasionally.

Cheating’s Aftermath: The Primary Relationship

For the primary relationship, surprisingly only 1 in 5 (20.4 percent) ended because of the affair. Near equal numbers (21.8 percent) stayed together despite their partner finding out, while slightly more (28.3 percent) stayed together with their partner never discovering the infidelity. The remaining relationships broke up for non-cheating reasons.

The reasons why people stray helped determine the relationship’s fate. The affair was more of a relationship killer when cheating was due to anger, lack of love, low commitment, and neglect, but not when infidelity was due to the situation. Though an emotionally impoverished primary relationship was the primary reason to end the relationship, having better as well as more frequent sex with the affair partner was also a factor.

Overall, these findings show that cheating isn’t as simple as seeking out sex. In particular, there appear to be two main motivators for cheating: the situation and a broken relationship (i.e., lack of love), with the latter leading to more serious affairs. While we can use these findings to identify warning signs in our own relationship, there’s a better way. These findings show the importance of strengthening our relationship’s emotional connection. Not only will that negate a major motivation for infidelity, but also help us have a more satisfying and committed relationship.

Facebook image: BAZA Production/Shutterstock

news, men, betrayals, women, family, psychology, love and family

News of Belarus / Love and family


26. 10.2020 09:00

[email protected]

A married woman spends a lot of time at home and household chores.

This is understandable, because she needs to take care of her husband and children, create comfort in the house. All this helps her to maintain harmony in relationships with loved ones, to make marriage happy. nine0015

But often in the life of a married woman there are men who are not averse to having an affair with her. They are not stopped even by marital status, the presence of a husband. Why is this happening? In fact, there are several good reasons for this.

No obligations

If a lady has a husband, she will not spend much time and energy on controlling what her lover is doing.

This will allow the young person to spend time with friends in peace, to plan the weekend. In a word, he will receive as much attention from a woman as he needs, but at the same time remain free. nine0003

Ease of relationship

There is no room for claims on the side in novels. Lovers meet when it suits both of them. A woman does not make scenes, tantrums about why a man cannot meet her at any moment. Namely, such calmness is what many men need.

Financial freedom

A woman who has a family will not demand any gifts, because their appearance will be difficult to explain to her husband. As a result, the lover does not think at all what to give her. He receives from the relationship only what he needs, for example, vivid emotions, intimacy. nine0003

No talk about marriage

Young people generally don't like to discuss this topic. A married woman had a wedding, she is not going to get divorced. This only says that a lover can just enjoy the moment, not think about a topic that is not very pleasant for him.

No domestic problems

They are the cause of discord in many families. If a man has an affair with a married woman, then he can be calm: her husband solves everyday problems, he also makes comments to her about cleaning. In a word, there is nothing to worry about. nine0003


If a married woman pays attention to a young man, it means to him that he is capable of something, that he is interesting and attractive. If a man manages to achieve the location of a strange lady, then his self-esteem immediately rises.

Apparently, there are many advantages for men in an affair with a married woman. Only a married lady should decide whether an affair on the side is really important to her.

The fact is that it can be a fleeting hobby, but it can destroy family relationships. But it is they who are the priority of the not free young lady. nine0003

Photo: Pixabay

Author: Sergey Tumanov

  • men
  • cheating
  • women
  • family
  • psychology

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Why do people have affairs on the side: 7 main reasons for cheating

While some enter into a relationship behind the back of their spouse or lover intentionally, others take this step not quite consciously. Therefore, in many such couples, both partners cannot understand why this happened. Marriage consultant Rachel Glick offered to dig deeper and named seven reasons for infidelity. nine0003

Misconceptions about love

Many who cheat on their partners report that they have fallen out of love. Often this is due to a decrease in the level of hormones that "seethed" at the beginning of the relationship. Couples are mistaken in believing that feelings should remain as bright and strong as at the beginning of a relationship, forever. This is not so, relationships are being rebuilt, and feelings become calmer, but at the same time deeper. Moreover, it is important to work on them so that they bring joy and a sense of satisfaction. nine0003

More opportunities and the underestimation of borders

Over the past decades, men and women have become quite close, they began to work closer and interact more with each other. Therefore, the opportunities for treason have expanded. Because of this, many people in a relationship don't understand the need to be on the lookout to avoid a surge in the dopamine hormone. It can happen due to a little attention from the opposite sex. Then innocent flirting is able to cross the line and turn into a romance, if you don’t change your mind in time. nine0003

Lack of emotionality and self-care

Secret relationships excite. And many of those who decide to cheat have fallen victim to this intoxicating effect because they suppressed emotions or failed to cope with the anxiety and pain in their family. Therefore, an affair on the side may seem right because of the instant feeling of happiness and a surge of emotions. For a large number of people, this state of affairs can develop into an addiction used to further alienate from repressed feelings. nine0003

Having children

Many couples experience a loss of intimacy and some of their former fun with the birth of a child. There is a feeling of lost freedom, and the problems of lack of attention to relationships are more acute. Therefore, there is a risk that someone may change in order to regain lost emotions and feelings. Successful couples at this stage talk to each other and try to spend more time together, as in the old days, reports MBG Relationships

Feeling underappreciated

Partners who feel constantly criticized, underestimated, or controlled are more at risk of seeking out or "taking the bait" of a secret relationship. In happy families, spouses take the time to praise each other, show care, and show their love. This is necessary after five and after 50 years of marriage.

Unresolved problems

When couples do not solve their problems effectively, they create a barrier between themselves. If there is no feeling of physical, emotional and spiritual connection, there will be more chances that one of the partners will change. It is better to solve all omissions at once, without leaving anything to yourself. nine0003

Chemistry of our brain

In a state of romance on the side, the brain produces dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, prolactin and testosterone. These hormones contribute to impulsivity, poor decision making, and strong energy and possessiveness. Secret relationships can trigger the same reactions as substance abuse, gambling, or other addictions. Therefore, when cravings take over, the person loses touch with logic and becomes addicted to impulsive adventures. At this point, it is important to understand that brain chemistry causes you to deceive yourself and act rashly.

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