Why do men cheat and what to do about it?
People cheat in relationships. They develop a fondness or lust for someone else, but remain in their present relationship for whatever reason.
Men cheat, and women cheat as well. But the motives can vary between men and women.
First of all, the role of monogamy in biological relationships is dubious. We are raised to believe monogamy is absolutely correct, but most species of animal don't necessarily practice the nuclear family model that we as Americans take for granted. We know that mothers raise their young, but we don't commonly see father animals in the picture. They take a more hit-and-run approach to sex. Sure, sometimes animals develop a fondness for one another long term, but this affection is more incidental than the mandatory POV we as humans take to relationships. We try to 'stick together' and 'make it work' once the attraction begins to dissipate.
So given the social construct of the monogamous human relationship in this context, it becomes clearer that there is an inherent conflict between the biological urges of man and the demands of the manmade concept of the 'monogamous relationship'. Compounding this further is the institution of marriage, a socioreligious creation designed in part to develop and maintain families in society and keep adults in a stable, docile living situation, reducing the risk of upheaval.
But man and woman alike have cheated on these relationships since the dawn of time. Homosexual and polyamorous affairs were common among the Greeks and Romans, and one has to imagine that hasn't been laid to rest since their time. Even though many societies over time teach that infidelity is wrong, temptation and the thrill thereof drives many over the edge.
Some people are honest and would never cheat, but many aren't so morally pious, and even many of those who wish to be sometimes lose control. That said, while we can try and work through those tempting emotions to stray, there are elements of your life that you can examine to try and improve your relationship and, thus, decrease the appeal of infidelity.
So that said (at length), let's look at some of the factors that can drive a man to cheat.
1) Obviously, an attractive alternative to his current mate.
There are a lot of fish in the sea, even after you've caught one. They don't all just go away. And there are just as many smart, attractive, sexy, etc. women out there as there were when your man was dating.
Sure, your man developed a strong enough fondness to get into a relationship with you. But over time, familiarity can lead to complacency and even boredom, and that fondness fades. People talk about keeping the relationship fresh and spicing things up, but eventually, there is only so much you can do to keep the relationship novel. This can make another woman in a man's life seem attractive in comparison, not so much her positive qualities and attraction to him as the fact that she's something different from his everyday routine. There may not so much be an unhappiness with the relationship as a boredom, which is a product of the 2nd reason.
2) The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
This is a common psychological complex for many, not just with relationships but with other aspects of life. People carry the tendency to want something they don't have more than they would want it if it were readily available, and a man in a relationship is no exception. This is why people dream of being rich: it's not easy to acquire millions of dollars and all the benefits thereof. This is part of the allure with Ferraris and other luxury sports cars: the fact that the common man can't afford one.
When a man meets a wonderful woman he'd get into a relationship with, IF he were single... and he CAN'T because he's in a committed relationship, that makes her even more attractive and tempting to him than she'd likely be if he were single. Ditto if she's in a relationship, maybe doubly so if BOTH are in a committed relationship! Suddenly, the relationship he's in becomes a wall... even if the relationship in itself may be perfectly okay! Likewise....
3) Women want what they can't have.
Chris Rock brought this up in his R rated Bring the Pain comedy routine, "Women like men who are in relationships!" Women who wouldn't give a man a second look may suddenly find him appealling once he's in a relationship. Like the previous example, women find more attractive something they can't readily attain. It's the same mindset that motivates people to be competitive. Thus, a man in a relationship may find himself receiving a lot more attention from attractive women than he'd likely receive if he were single. That he is taken indicates that he's a valued commodity.
All of these psychological factors, however, discount this very important factor:
4) His mate may have lost her luster.
Society is rife with people who marry spouses, only to watch them gain a bunch of weight, dress poorly and let the home fall into disorder, become mean, demanding or complaining, basically shed the bright attributes that led said person to marry him/her and give way to negative, distasteful attributes. Maybe the couple has kids and the kids put a damper on the couple's lifestyle.
Suddenly, a once-pleasant relationship becomes a grind, and the man starts looking the other way.
This is all crass to admit but we've seen it enough in society to know it's very real, and this is not to say men don't let themselves go in the same way, because they certainly do. But if a wife gains 30 pounds, dresses poorly and develops a habit of nagging and complaining to her husband, she shouldn't be too surprised if suddenly he finds other women more attractive than her. It may not be morally correct and this is not to say anyone deserves to be cheated on, but this behavior pattern is a natural cause and effect, and certainly a factor in cheating.
This is also not to say that every woman who is cheated on is an overweight, unattractive bitch. Often times, far from it. In fact, I have a lady friend who just found out her boyfriend was cheating on her, much to the shock of her friends and I, as it seemed they were happy together. Not only is she very attractive and very active with her work, her art and going out with her friends and boyfriend, but by all accounts, the two still seemed very happy with one another. This is one example of infidelity that went against the grain.
That said, one thing women post-infidelity often forget to do, in their finger pointing and why-me-ing, is to look in the mirror and ask how they have changed and how their relationship may have changed for the not-so-better.
And since I'm on the subject....
5) When personal development stagnates, relationships stagnate.
Many a couple falls into a predictable routine... for example, watching TV after work every weeknight, going out to dinner Saturday night before a predictable round of sex later that night, going to the grocery every Sunday... predictability can provide a comfort level, but it can also get boring, and if a man becomes bored with his life and an attractive woman catches his eye... it's possible she is, among other obvious things, seen an escape route from his predictable existence.
There's nothing wrong with certain routines, especially responsible ones, but you don't want to fall into a pattern where most of your life basically falls into autopilot, because at that point, you have ceased to grow and improve as a person, which isn't very healthy in itself, but on top of that, becoming boring is a great way to make infidelity look exciting.
I hope this haphazard exploration of infidelity opened your eyes to a few things. I can't make specific suggestions for improving your relationships: that purely depends on what makes you and your mate tick. But hopefully this sparks anyone who hasn't done so already to take a good look at themselves and re-evaluate how they think about themselves and how they think about relationships.
Books on Preventing and Overcoming Infidelity in Relationships
More by this Author
I have had stretches of several weeks without an income or unemployment benefits in-between assignments. I have lived on as little as $23K a year. I did it through living by six basic rules....
Leaving the air conditioning on in the summer and the heat on in the winter can be expensive and waste energy. Here is how to avoid that and to cut your electric bill.
Living in the Midwestern U.S. has its appeal and its drawbacks, depending on your perspective.