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The Psychology of Cheating Men - 10 Reasons Why Men Cheat

Updated on May 30, 2017
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CAUTION:

Keep in the forefront of your mind that explanations are NOT the same as excuses. Even the most rational of explanations are not always synonymous with logical reasons for being unfaithful to a partner you've promised yourself to exclusively.

It's also exceptionally important to recognize that while this article is gender specific so that you are better able to find while using gender-specific search terms, the reasons men cheat are often the same or at least very similar to the reasons that woman will cheat on their partners. Cheating is not gender exclusive and neither gender is more likely to cheat than the other. Decade after decade, both scientist's and anecdotal authors try time and time again to provie that one sex is more susceptible to temptation than the other, and both have met with the same results -- all genders are just as susceptible and capable of being loyal or being a cheat.

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One of the most commonly searched for questions that floats in and out of every search engine on the web is, "why did they cheat?" or "Why do they cheat?"

It's a painful question most often only asked by the bittersweet soul of a partner whose been cheated on, or by the anxious spirit of someone who intuitively knows they're being cheated on but have not yet been able to prove it.

Sometimes, having explanations for why a person might decide to be disloyal and cheat on their partner or spouse, can help ease the transition process out of a toxic relationship with a cheater, or alternatively might lead to more sustainable healing for partners who want to mend their relationships.

Other times, explanations do nothing to fill the void that is often created when you find out your partner has cheated on you. In those cases, time and the eventual ability to be open to the possibilities of future loves--is the only thing that can fill those voids.

Either way, whether you're looking for preemptive info, greater understanding in order to repair a crumbling relationship, or just something to try and quiet your mind during your healing process and transition into single life--this article is here for you.

Together, we'll explore 10 common reasons why men decide to cheat on their partners.

Loneliness

Even in the arms of the one you love most.. you can still be universes apart.."

— Bema Self

As much as they should be, happy healthy relationships are not the easiest to maintain 100 percent of the time. Even the best of relationship experience those moments that feel like forever, when two people who genuinely do love each other, find themselves less than enamored with each other or so wrapped up in other areas of their lives that they end up neglecting each other, or one ends up neglecting the other.

In some cases, neglecting a romantic partner is a result of career or financial circumstances that force two people to be apart more often than they're able to be together. One person could end up working the day shift, while the other partner works the night shift. One or both partners might decide to take on multiple jobs to cover financial instability. Familial problems, like aging parents, might take precedence over the relationship and require a lot of attention that the relationship won't be getting until things are figured out. They're are plenty of innocuous reasons why two otherwise in-love partners might find themselves feeling neglected and in need of a deeper physical or emotional connection, even to the point of seeking those connections outside of the relationship until the distance or schedule complications can be resolved.

Alternatively, there's just as many reasons why two people might find their love fading between one another. Coincidentally, the waning of passionate romantic love can also be caused by financial, career and familial challenges. Though they can also be caused by a lack of compatibility, understanding, fulfillment or relationship intelligence.

One partner might need a lover who genuinely enjoys spending time with them and listening to them. Another partner might need to feel regular physical connections to feel wholly loved. Others might find that words of appreciation and adoration are more fulfilling than either of the other two ways of connecting. There are many love languages that we each speak and need to have spoken back to us in order for us to feel loved and fulfilled on every level, and while even with a perfect understanding of each others languages of love cannot fix every relationship or predetermine it's success, if this were common knowledge, there would likely be many more intimately-intertwined couples in the world that might otherwise be unhappily divorced couples. More often than not, neither partner understands this and continues to attempt to love their partner in the ways that they actually need in order to be loved and fail to understand just what's going on or why their partner seems so unresponsive or ungrateful for all the love they are being given. With both partners doing this, it can lead to great gaps in romance and intimacy, as well as great emotional distances between partners.

If that distance takes hold and becomes the norm in a relationship or marriage--with neither partner either deciding to end the relationship or heal it--one or both partners often begin to feel exceptionally lonely. This is understandable in many ways, as being with the one you love while feeling like you're not able to love them or be loved by them, is difficult to experience, but often even more difficult to explain to anyone else that might be willing to be there for you and support you while you figure out what to do about your relationship.

This is often still double as true for men, despite our generations huge leaps forward in ending gender stigmas, as men still often feel that expressing any deep emotions--especially ones they believe are negative or effeminate--is not socially acceptable. So... within complicated relationships wherein two people haven't been able to fulfill each other's needs and aren't sure how to move forward, a great deal of isolation occurs. Loneliness goes hand in hand with isolation.

It's the emotional pit of loneliness in a one's heart, that often leads someone to cheat on their partner. Whether by benign circumstances in an otherwise healthy relationship or from the less than happy complications of an otherwise unhealthy relationship--that loneliness often becomes the driving rationalization in a persons mind for why they found themselves in the arms of another.

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Boredom

Even if everything else is great in the relationship, if they've tried to find a way to get their needs for great intimate adventure met with their partner and aren't able to achieve those fulfilling experiences regularly, many men will choose to find that fill those needs outside of their primary bedroom.

For most people, boredom is easily solved within a healthy relationship. Though for those who have reached their limit, even if they've actually tried to spice up their physical relationship with their partner, the boredom is just too great and the temptation of fulfillment outside of the relationship just too seductive.

Fear of Committment

The source of this reason for cheating is often more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than an actual conscious decision to cheat. It often results in the man cheating on his partner, but that's not always the case. In fact, if this is the primary reason why he's cheating, it's likely that he's also instigating needless arguments and creating unnecessary rifts in an otherwise healthy relationship, because of his unconscious fear of commitment.

In this instance, he often finds himself in a situation he'll consciously rationalize he had little control over, where he ended up accidentally cheating or evening falling in love with another partner.

Alternatively, another rationalization for cheating that commonly comes from a fear of commitment, comes from a man who has often been mistreated by toxic partners of their past. These men have often become cynical and pessimistic about the potential outcome of any positive relationships, especially if they feel like they've found 'the one'.

In these scenarios, the actual act of recognizing they've fallen for their current partner, often drives them into a sort of passive-aggressive nose-dive, wherein they immediately start to rationalize that no matter how good the relationship might seem at the moment, it's doomed to failure and they might as well look for their next partner or simply presume that there's no reason to remain faithful because it's all just a trick anyways.

It's usually obvious to everyone but him that none of these scenarios can happen 'accidentally', and that cynicism is no excuse for cheating; though that doesn't change what they often decide to do because of their fears of commitment and true love.

Sadly, if this is the reason why he cheated, if he's able to recognize and admit that his fears are the true source of his unhappiness and not his partners and/or random unfortunate circumstances, it will still likely take him years to heal and overcome those fears so that he can find and truly enjoy the beauty of a truly loving, committed and intimate relationship.

Misunderstandings

Again, just as with any of the rest of these explanations, misunderstandings are definitely no excuse for cheating on a someone we've promised to be exclusively faithful to.

That being said, sometimes men and women's minds really are off on two different planets, especially in the earlier years of a relationship. One partner might believe that they've got such a deep connection that exclusivity and commitment are obvious and don't need to be spoken, while for the other partner, nothing is set in stone until both partners have verbally agreed to everything. Committment and monogamy mean different things to different people, regardless of gender. If this is the source of a man's infidelity, it's often just a matter of sitting down and clearly laying out your needs and boundaries of a relationship with him, and seeing if that's what he'd like to pursue as well.

Other times, it won't matter how clearly you define the relationship, for some men, even a commitment to exclusivity is not set in stone.

Alternatively, there are times when one partner or the other might decide that they need a break from the relationship. For some, a break means that both partners are free to pursue physical and/or romantic relationships outside of the primary relationship. For others, a break just means a physical and emotional distance from each other without breaking their vows or commitments to each. Sadly, regardless of what each person believes a 'break' in the relationship really means, it's not often that they both discuss it before beginning the break, which commonly leads to infidelity during their separation.

In either scenario, miscommunication and misunderstandings are the explanation, though even within that understanding, there is no guarantee that proper communication or clarity will end their infidelity. That is dependent on the man of the moment, and his partner.

Why men cheat on women they Love

He's Polyamorous

Both monogamy and polyamory are completely normal relationship scenarios biologically and historically, even if they're currently not as socially acceptable compared to one another.

Sadly, because of our fickle human minds, especially in terms of group mentalities, today's social climates are still not very welcoming to folks who are openly polyamorous--that is, they have multiple romantic partners that are often all in some form of intimate relationship with each other.

Because polyamory is not widely understood, our country is still very religiously prejudiced, and because many people are not aware that the internet makes unbiased information about polyamory easily available to them--they find themselves struggling to try and maintain monogamous relationships when that is neither what they really want to have nor what they're biologically best suited for.

That is not to say that a man who desires or is wired more for a polyamorous relationship could not be monogamous. In fact, many unknowing polyamorous men make it through many long term monogamous relationships in their lives. They just don't often keep those relationships because they eventually find themselves in beds far from their own, genuinely in love with someone other then their primary partners.

For the men who take the time to dig deeper and learn more about themselves, they often find themselves becoming more honest with future partners about the types of relationships they want to be in and don't get wrapped up in monogamous relationships anymore. Though sadly, many men never learn about their options, and so even if they recognize that they are always going to want to have multiple romantic relationships, they'll never get up the courage to be honest with their partners and stop getting into exclusive relationships.

Instead, they often decide to try and continue on with their monogamous relationships, hoping that they might be able to hide this round of cheating, and then the next round and the next. It's rare when they're able to succeed after a while, which often leads to an even deeper level of hurt feelings (that they wanted to avoid in the first place), than would've occured if they'd just been honest with themselves and their partners in the first place.

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Revenge

The mind can be a scary place at times, especially when someone feels hurt enough to believe they need to 'get back' at their partner when they feel they've been wronged.

Sadly, 'revenge cheating' is much more common than it should be.

She cheats on him, he cheats on her to 'even the score', and so on.

Sometimes once each partner has cheated and the 'score is even', both partners end the infidelity and are able to re-energize their own relationship and remain loyal to each other. Though more often than not, revenge cheating only results in more hurt feelings and the end of what was likely a pretty unhappy and unhealthy relationship to begin with.

Narcissism

Some people are just more interested in fulfilling their every whims and wants, than they are with anything else. These narcissistic men (or women), are often so unconcerned with the feelings of others, that they don't commonly see any problem with verbally offering the deepest of commitments to their partners, of which they never had any intention of holding themselves to.

Thankfully, contrary to what most people think, truly narcissistic men and women are rare. Not that a lack of grandiose narcissism is any sort of hall pass for cheating. Just that most men are not so cold and cruel as a trully narcissitc person.

He's ready to end the relationship...

but he isn't sure how to do it and/or doesn't want to hurt his partners feelings, so he keeps the relationship going, hoping to find a way to peacefully end things before he is caught with another lover...

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He's hoping it'll work out.. eventually...

Yes, you heard that correctly. It's not actually as hard of a concept to understand as you might think.

For a truly hopeless romantic, the idea that by not officially getting divorced or not truly ending the relationship, is more real of a concept in their minds than in actual reality. For these men, getting physically intimate with someone other than their true partner, might not be seen as disloyalty. Instead, they might feel like it's just a matter of physical and emotional maintenance until they're true lover comes back to them.

In a way, they're not completely wrong either. This type of cheating, isn't truly infidelity, as it more often occurs when a man is in a toxic relationship with a partner who consistently ends and then restarts the relationship when the whim or big enough emotion hits them, or when they find a new partner outside of the relationship to amuse themselves with. In this case, the moment this sort of behavior pattern started, the relationship ended, though often neither partner is willing to admit this. So while one partner is off galavanting in the world searching for instant gratification, the other partner is in waiting--so to speak--bidding their time until they're partner decides it's their turn again, at which point, any relations with other people often end without hesitation.

It's a vicious cycle that can sometimes go for decades before the disloyal partner is finally truly bored with their old ties, or the man finally wakes up to the reality of the non-relationship they've been addicted to for so long.

Intoxication

This is personally my least favorite explanation, as it is the most often one that men and woman alike try to use in order to get others to forgive their often consistent disloyalty.

Yes, it is true that when someone is drunk or high, they're judgment is affected and they're not always able to say no, and they might inadvertently end up in the arms of an outside lover. Though the truth is that someone who was truly loyal and interested in pursuing their current relationship, would never have been out partying without their partner, wouldn't have chosen to put themselves in the situation where the potential for cheating could occur in the first place, or they would've turned down any intoxicants until they were out of any tempestuous situations.

If this is the reason behind why he's cheated on you, the likelihood is that there are much deeper issues with the relationship and/or within in him. In this case, the belief that disloyalty should be a valid excuse and reason for forgiveness, is a much more concerning problem than the actual cheating itself, as it is the rationale that allowed him to be okay with cheating in the first place.

Ted Talk: Rethinking Infidelity--Why do we Cheat?

Further Reading: The 5 Love Languages

If you're not sure your partner has cheated or if you want to take another go at healing your relationship regardless of what's happened, one of the best books I can think to recommend for everyone (regardless of the good or bad health of their relationship) is: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Both the original and the updated books are fantastic.

In these books, Chapman helps readers understand some of the most common forms of love "languages", how you can recongize them in yourself and your partner, how you can both fulfill each other, and how to heal and enhance your relationship with a greater understanding of how to speak and listen to the languages of love of around you.

The 5 Love Languages is a great read either way, and also a great listen if you have audible. Reading and later listening to this book, changed the way I thought about my partner and some of the bigger challenges we've had throughout the past 11 years, and helped us to grow and overcome most of those challenges.

In your opinion, is there ever a forgivable "excuse" for cheating?

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    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 3 weeks ago

      “Other times, explanations do nothing to fill the void that is often created when you find out your partner has cheated on you…"

      – Exactly!

      Truth be told more often than not when someone asks “Why?” it’s nothing more than a reflex or rhetorical question.

      There is no answer that will ever “justify it” in their minds or cause an individual to say; “Oh, I see why you lied to me, betrayed me, and cheated on me.” No answer will satisfy you!

      The reality is most people really don’t care about “why”!

      If a cheater is “unhappy” he or she is not unhappy enough to consider the issue to be a “deal breaker”. They always had the option to breakup or file for divorce but {chose} to cheat.

      The goal of most cheaters is to hold onto all that is “good” in their primary relationship while addressing their other “needs” on the side. Most cheaters aren’t looking to (replace) one relationship with another. Essentially, they want to “compliment” what they already have.

      I believe there are 3 basic types of cheaters

      1.The Incessant Cheater

      This person gets bored very easily and most likely has never been faithful in any long-term relationship. They’re always in need of experiencing the thrill that comes with being with someone (new)! Their motto is: “Variety is the spice of life!”

      For this type of cheater monogamy is the equivalent of going on a very strict diet. It’s not a matter of (if) they will cheat but (when). Usually very outgoing, flirtatious, confident/arrogant, loves attention.

      2. The Unbelievable Opportunity Cheater

      This person is not “proactively” looking to cheat. They may have a fantasy crush on someone or have been romanticizing about a past relationship. At someone the object of their fantasy gives them the sign that they could make it a “reality” by flirting with them or hitting on them!

      Maybe his/her spouse is out of town or the would-be cheater is attending a conference out of town and finds himself at a the hotel lobby having happy hour cocktails. His friends/co-workers egg him on or he simply feels this is a “once in a lifetime” scenario to be with (her)….etc

      Sometimes this type of cheater later feels guilty and confesses weeks, months, or years later to absolve himself of the guilt feelings he’s been carrying around if he has a very loving wife…etc

      3. The Discontented Cheater

      This cheater blames YOU!

      If you hadn’t done or stopped doing “whatever” he/she would have never been open to cheating. Essentially, they are saying YOU made them step outside of the relationship/marriage. Naturally anyone who uses you as the reason is not taking responsibility for (their choice) to cheat.

      Cheating allowed them to “stay or tolerate” on going issues within the marriage.

      He chose to cheat because it was easier than going through a divorce because it would have changed his “living standard” dramatically, made him a weekend dad, or change his image. Having said that: No cheater expects to get caught! Therefore cheating seem like a perfect solution.

      Only the betrayed person can decide if cheating is a "deal breaker" for them self. One man's opinion! :)

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 3 weeks ago

      One more final thought: Women cheat for the same reasons that men do. Anyone in the U.S. who has ever watched an episode of "Paternity Court", "Cheaters", or "The Maury Povich Show: AKA "You are NOT the father!" is clearly aware that neither gender is standing on "holy ground" when it comes to cheating. In fact lesbians have been known to cheat on one another.

    • BizGenGirl profile image
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      Bema Self 8 days ago from Seattle

      Those are some very detailed thoughts and experiences DashingScorpio! Thank you for sharing =)

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