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WHY DO PEOPLE CHEAT ON THEIR SPOUSES?
It’s the billion dollar question. The answer is elusive… because there are as many reasons why people cheat, as there are people.
What we know is this:
When a partner cheats, what they’re doing is reaching beyond the bounds of their relationships for “solutions” to problems they may be experiencing within themselves and within their primary relationships.
Of course, this tactic usually never works.
Why? Because choosing “deception” over honesty is always a weaker choice. A partner might rationalize betrayal by thinking “What they don’t know won’t hurt them,” or “This is harmless fun.”
And yet, the truth is, all behavior is caused. In other words, there are always deeper reasons “why” people behave in certain ways.
Finding out what their motives are can be complex. More often than not, only a skilled counselor or coach can create the environment which allows the deeper reasons to come to light.
So, read on with an open mind… and remember… without knowing your situation personally, we can’t confirm what’s actually going on or what might be the best course of action for you.
What follows are my theories, ideas and beliefs about the most common motives for cheating. These are based on actual accounts from wayward spouses. I’ve put them into separate categories (male and female) because I’ve noticed that each sex seems to have some variations in motives and reasoning.
Before you read further, please keep in mind that every situation is unique and there’s no way to be accurate about a person’s motive without speaking to them personally.
Men and women cheat for different reasons.
So let’s look at each separately. We’ll start by looking at the hidden motives of women.
Have you ever wondered…
Why do some women cheat, while others never stray no matter how tough things get?
Here’s what we know:
When polled anonymously, thousands of married women confessed they felt neglected. They felt “underappreciated”, and many said they were dissatisfied with the emotional warmth and tenderness they were getting.
Many admitted to being in good relationships with “great guys”, but they admitted to feeling more “needed” (to do the dishes, dress the kids, cook dinner, etc.) than “wanted” (romanced, appreciated, admired and sexually desired).
Now, for the reality check.
Here’s the reality of the female heart:
Women crave romance like the desert craves rain. And by romance, I don’t mean the Hollywood-manufactured version. I’m talking about adventure and the excitement of being wooed, pursued, understood, appreciated and admired.
For many women, there’s no such thing as too much romance. Even if they can’t get it in real life, they will seek it in fantasy. Think about it. Why do you think romance novels account for more than half of all the books sold on the planet? They fill a void for millions of women.
As a matter of fact, research into why women love romance novels shows that the female reader is seeking to identify with the heroine, so she too can experience similar sensations of being pursued and desired. Some female readers engage to the point of releasing adrenalin and endorphins, making the experience highly addictive!
Am I saying that the decline of romance in a marriage or relationship is what automatically leads women to cheat? No.
But when you think about it, it does leave the back door open, doesn’t it?
Sure it does.
In fact, it has been my experience that most female “wayward partners” I’ve talked with were more motivated by emotional hunger than by any physical or lustful reason.
Women tend to cheat for more “feeling” reasons.
These may include feeling special and desirable as a boost for insecurities or the need for affirmation. Many women walk around with invisible empty reservoirs of emotional desires they aren’t even aware they have.
Here’s another startling tidbit of information:
While for men, a one-night stand (ONS) is common and based on opportunity, for most women, the steps that lead to an affair tend to develop over time.
For women, it’s a slippery slope.
The seduction happens incrementally. One small thing leads to another small thing… and without too much awareness, her hidden emotional yearnings get triggered and filled.
It might surprise you to know that right here on the Internet are communities and news groups of pick-up artists and seduction experts who teach men how to seduce married women. All the tactics and techniques they use are based on knowing these hidden emotional landmines.
The reality is…
Just because a woman is married doesn’t mean she’s lost the desire to be dated, courted, romanced and seduced.
The desire is there, but with the reality of soccer games, careers, mortgage payments and in-laws, those “girlish yearnings” are buried.
Then along comes “Mr. Stimulating”. All it takes are the “right” words at the right time over the right amount of time to trigger these desires again.
To help you get a clearer picture of the psychology of why women cheat, here are some quotes from actual cheating females regarding their motives and reasons for cheating:
WHY I CHEATED…
He was so much better at expressing himself.
I felt a rush of excitement hundreds of times greater than anything I had ever felt before.
Meeting him was so scary and yet so exciting. It was the most adventurous thing I’ve done in years.
Finally… this was something I was doing for me.
I found I just couldn’t help myself.
I felt like he touched my soul even before he ever touched my body.
I felt like I was drowning in his eyes.
My husband doesn’t love me anymore — that was obvious way before I ever met the other man.
It was such a long time since anyone treated me that way.
I felt like he really listened to me.
I had been pregnant for 4 consecutive years and gained a lot of weight; maybe that’s why it felt good that someone was attracted to me.
On the outside, I was a super achiever — great husband, great career, great kids, but on the inside, I was feeling empty, not happy with myself. The side glances from other men would let me know I was attractive, and I just began to crave them to feel good.
I am intelligent. I am pretty. I am a good person. Yet, I feel totally unlovable by anyone other than my kids. I never knew I could be attracted to another woman — except to say she made me feel lovable.
I used to be madly in love with my husband… but after years of his criticism, sarcasm and put-downs, it was nice to be respected by another man. If my husband had been careful with my love, I wouldn’t have had the wounds for someone else to soothe.
He would “eye hustle” younger women in the mall. He’d make “jokes” about my sagging extra skin. He constantly gawked at the cheerleaders during the football games. So when another man told me I was beautiful, it melted me like butter.
I did it for ME to help rebuild some of my self-esteem that I’d lost to the years of veiled accusations and insults from my husband.
In case you’re wondering…
Are emotional yearnings the only reason for female infidelity? The answer is… of course not.
The truth is, a poor relationship with “herself” makes most women vulnerable to temptation.
A Note To The Wise:
Looking outside for external validation is always a poor choice since no one can give it to you but you. Seeking a sense of fulfillment from other people only leads to eventual disappointment.
The belief that happiness comes from “the outside in” is what keeps many women emotionally starved.
If you’re a woman in a committed relationship and you’re starting to feel dissatisfaction or a yearning for more, do NOT ignore these feelings. They must be dealt with honestly.
I encourage you to book a private appointment with me and I’ll help you explore these feelings in an open and honest way… and show you how to get ALL your needs met without having to go outside of your current relationship.
Now let’s take a look at why some men cheat.
Have you met this guy?
His name is Scott. Right from the very beginning of his 5-year marriage, Scott constantly fantasized about other women (in all kinds of kinky and adventurous situations). At first, he felt a bit guilty about his thoughts but soon chalked it up to his “male sex drive”.
As Scott’s marriage went on, his wife – who was naturally submissive – would never initiate sex.
However, if and when Scott did initiate sex, she would rarely turn him away.
“She always left the sex up to me,” Scott said. Five years and two children later… Scott described his marriage to me as:
“Not bad enough to leave… but not good enough to be happy with, either.”
Then Scott met Maria, a sexually aggressive woman who made it no secret that she found him attractive. He was immediately intrigued. Maria was the exact opposite of his wife in every way… and the embodiment of the type of assertive woman he’d been fantasizing about.
So when Maria came on to him during an out-of-town business convention, Scott couldn’t resist.
“She was too close to all my fantasies,” he told me. “I wasn’t sure I would ever have the chance again. So I said to hell with it, and threw caution to the wind. I felt compelled to experience the reality of my fantasies.”
Scott’s story isn’t unusual.
In other words…
The “affair” wasn’t pre-planned. In a moment of spontaneous weakness, it just happened.
As convincing as that argument might be, it has never held up in my eyes. To me, it’s like saying you were walking down the street and an opportunity to rob a bank just appeared… so you “took it.”
Both behaviors point to a preexisting desire. Whether conscious or not, infidelity is always the “symptom”, rather than the cause.
Comedian Chris Rock says, “a man is only as faithful as his opportunities.” In other words…
Arousal + Opportunity = Infidelity
But is this statement really true? To find out, let’s take a closer look. Infidelity takes the following forms:
- Emotional Affairs (EA)
- One-Night Stands (ONS)
- Long-Term Affairs (LTA)
These all share certain universal elements of cheating such as:
- Hidden Desires
- Emotional Triggers
ANALYZING EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS
While women crave romance, men crave adventure.
While women yearn to be pursued, men long to pursue.
It seems that marriage doesn’t tame the male appetite for adventure, mystery, “newness” and creative sexual exploration.
Here’s my theory on why men cheat:
I believe men who are easily bored, live a “high-stress life”, experience a lot of “pressure to perform”, and/or are highly competitive by nature, are much more susceptible to infidelity.
It’s my theory…
How a man responds to stress, pressure and boredom… are the biggest indicators of whether or not he’s likely to cheat.
Am I saying that men who have poor problem-solving skills are more likely to cheat?
YES! That’s exactly what I’m saying.
I believe the more you know about a man’s coping mechanisms, the better you’ll be able to predict his response to temptation.
Here are a few real-world “quotes” from unfaithful men about why they cheated:
WHY I CHEATED…
“I was totally turned on by her self-confidence and direct approach. At home, my wife never, ever initiates sex.
I was looking for an escape from the pressures of everyday life, a way to let off steam — I didn’t expect anything to come out of it.
I guess I’ve always been gay… but I was too afraid to explore it.
It was the admiration and acceptance I felt from her. At home, I can never seem to do enough.
My girlfriend was always accusing me of cheating. So I figured I was already damned, might as well keep going.
We’re both consenting adults. It wasn’t a crime and doesn’t deserve to be punished.
I’m in my mid-forties, and we would make out in the car like we were 16. There’s a certain high to that.
She totally took care of herself. All I kept thinking was, why can’t my wife be more like this?
Hey, I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs or beat my family. I felt I was entitled to one night of hot sex. Lord knows I don’t get that at home.
I feel like she really understands me. She doesn’t judge my poetry or put down my dreams of being a songwriter like my wife does.
It’s only sex. Everyone else does it; they just keep it hidden.”
So… do ALL MEN CHEAT?
The answer may surprise you. The reality is that the majority of married men and men in committed relationships are faithful.
Why do some cheat… while others stay true?
That’s like asking why some babies have colic, while others never do.
The bottom line is…
Men cheat for complex reasons because men are complex beings. While there are certain behaviors that encourage infidelity more than others, the “decision to cheat” is always a personal choice.
A poor relationship may leave the door open, but it’s always a personal choice to walk through that door.
If you’re a married man facing boredom, stagnation or restlessness… the key is NOT TO IGNORE THESE FEELINGS. I encourage you to take advantage of my deeper understanding of why men and women cheat to help ensure you understand the best ways to proceed from where you are now.
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!