Why Men Cheat - Reasons for Male Infidelity

For quite some time now, it has been recognized that extra-marital affairs constitute one of the biggest causes of divorce. In fact research into male infidelity reveals that an overwhelming one in 2.7 men will cheat, according to numbers compiled by a researcher and reported an article in the online edition of CNN1  who further goes on to say that most women do not even come to know of their husband’s affairs. So if you wish to prevent something like this from ruining your relationship, here’s looking at the top reasons for male infidelity.$INFIDELITY-OPTIN2$

Lack of appreciation

Despite the outward air of self-assurance that men are taught to cultivate since childhood – ‘big boys don’t cry’ and all that – they have a deep need for appreciation. Like women, even men seek for validation from their partners and when this is lacking in a relationship, they end up looking for it outside the relationship and end up in an affair. Marriage counselor M. Gary Neumann whose findings were reported in the CNN article, says that the majority of men who cheated on their wives did so led by a “sense of feeling underappreciated”. When “a lack of thoughtful gestures” and expression of support from a wife or primary partner makes a guy feel insecure and unloved, he begins to look for affirmation in an affair since the other woman often makes the man feel better about himself – more handsome, more intelligent and more successful. This is a great high and the man is drawn deeper into the affair since it gives him the validation he is lacking in the primary relationship.

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Life is a series of transitions – some planned like moving out of home to college and some unplanned like an accidental pregnancy or loss of a job. Any kind of transition brings with it some stress and anxiety – even apparently positive ones like relocating due to a higher-paying job. Men who are unable to cope with the pressure of the change brought about by a life transition are often sucked into affairs. Changing situations often make people feel helpless since people, locales and processes are unfamiliar – this gives them a feeling of loss of control and leads to anxiety. For some men having an affair in such a situation can not only allow them a temporary distraction from the painful reality of the change but even give them a semblance of regaining control over their lives. This is why men going through a major life transition and unable to cope with it positively, may end up getting entangled in an affair.

Lack of sexual intimacy

For men sex is a basic way of connecting with a partner; however in modern marriages, sometimes sexual intimacy is given the last priority in a schedule packed with boardroom meetings, grocery shopping, kids’ homework, Sunday family lunches, golf mornings and the like. When men find the physical connection breaking down with a primary partner, they begin to feel unloved, even though this may not be the case from the wife’s point of view. Women tend to associate love more with romance and fulfilling commitments rather than a sexual encounter. So while a woman thinks that by being a loving mom, efficient homemaker and by even earning for the family she is doing all the duties of a wife, her husband in the meantime may feel unloved and drift off to an affair to satisfy his sexual needs.

Loss of interest

This reason is harder to pinpoint and takes shape over a length of time. In the early stages of a relationship, a couple is curious about everything in each other’s lives – what the other person eats, drinks, wears, what music he/she listens to, where he/she likes to holiday and so on. Over time, this interest in each other wears off due to a number of reasons – greater familiarity as the couple has been together for a while as well as the pressures of daily living which hardly leaves them with the time to talk leisurely with each other. As a result, even though a couple may be living under the same roof, each is leading a separate often lonely life. One way that the male partner might fill this vacuum is by having an affair. Faced with the loss of interest from a wife or primary partner, when a man finds himself the object of interest of another woman – who wants to know what he does, where he works and what his dreams are – he feels flattered and before he can realize what is happening in the thick of an affair.

Family legacy

In case of some men, having an affair is something they picked up from their families. As children it is likely they saw their own fathers cheating on their moms who may have been too weak or disempowered to do anything about it. Such men grow up believing that having a fling is simply about having a little fun and “men have needs” which is alright to fulfill as long as it is not breaking up the family. In many cultures, such infidelity is associated with manliness, as being “one of the guys”. The need to repeatedly prove their male prowess to themselves and their pals supersedes everything else. Though the affair is ultimately the individual’s decision, he has been raised in a context that promotes infidelity.

Personality disorders

A few individuals are repeatedly drawn to affairs due to certain traits in their psychological makeup. Such men are the serial adulterers and even the incorrigible flirts. Nothing their wives or primary partners can say to them or do for them can change the way they behave. It is as though such men are driven by an urge to have sex with as many women as they can – the most celebrated example in recent times being ace golfer Tiger Woods whose break up of marriage led to a trail of flings and who was supposed to be suffering from sex addiction or hypersexuality. Whether or not such men are responsible for their own actions is a matter for the mental health experts, but so much is clear that such men cause broken hearts all around.


CNN Living - Besides sex -- other reasons men cheat