The Real Reasons Men Cheat

It’s a question you may have asked yourself at one time or another: why do some men cheat? While both men and women give dozens of reasons for being unfaithful, Tracy Schorn, author of Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life, said there’s no good reason for cheating.

Schorn told The Cheat Sheet that infidelity generally comes down to selfishness. “[Men cheat] for the same reason women cheat — entitlement. Cheaters do a cost-benefit analysis of what they want, and screwing around wins out over their welfare every time. They are able to cheat because they can suppress (or don’t do) empathy for their partners. The hallmark of narcissism is lack of empathy. Cheating is a narcissistic act. It’s saying I want you to invest all of your resources in me, but I’m unilaterally changing the rules for myself. It’s a power trip,” said Schorn.

When cheating doesn’t make sense

Man texting someone else while his partner sleeps

Man texting someone else while his partner sleeps | iStock.com

One common cause for confusion is when a man cheats with someone who is far less attractive or accomplished than his current partner. You may wonder how this would even be a thought in the man’s mind.

Darren Pierre, author of The Invitation to Love, says some men have difficulty accepting an ideal partner. In his mind, her success, beauty, and charisma is a spotlight on areas of his life that are lacking. “Sometimes the relationship with the one we love causes intimidation and fear to arise. when this occurs, and it is not met with effective exercises of self-worth, people cheat with someone who makes them feel comfortable, does not serve as a mirror for their areas of growth, and allows them to be distracted from their ineffective practices in living,” Pierre told The Cheat Sheet.

There are many reasons why a man might cheat on his partner. Here are some of the core factors that can push a man over the edge and into someone else’s arms.

1. The person he’s cheating with makes him feel good

Happy couple smiling

Smiling couple | iStock.com

We’re not just talking about sex. One reason a man will stray is when his new love interest makes him feel good not only physically but also emotionally. A man wants to be with someone he can let his guard down with — someone who makes it safe for him to be himself. Men often feel pressured to act strong and be emotionally neutral all of the time. A man will fall for someone who makes him feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable without judgment.

A man also wants to feel like he is needed and wanted. A woman who constantly criticizes her man and makes him feel like he’s always doing something wrong will eventually find herself alone. April Masini, relationship expert and founder of relationship advice site Ask April, says men cheat when they don’t feel good around the person they are with anymore. “Men cheat because they like the way they feel with someone else better than they do with the woman they’re in a relationship with. It has nothing to do with how attractive or wealthy another woman is — it has to do with how a guy feels when he’s with her. If a man isn’t feeling the way he wants to feel in his primary relationship, he’ll look for that feeling elsewhere,” said Masini.

2. You let yourself go

Man whistling at woman

Man looking at woman | iStock.com

Looks aren’t everything, but you should try your best to look at least somewhat the same as when you met. Just because you got the guy doesn’t mean you can relax and stop taking care of yourself. Masini said men want a relationship with someone they are proud to be seen with. If that person isn’t you, it’s time to step up your game. And that doesn’t mean putting on a pile of makeup and adding fake everything to your body. Your man should be able to recognize you when you wake up in the morning.

3. The relationship is only centered on sex

Smiling couple in bed

Couple in bed | iStock.com

While sex is important, it is not enough by itself to sustain a long-term relationship. A man can get sex anywhere. If you have great sex but don’t connect on an emotional level, your relationship may not last very long.

Stacey Greene, author of Stronger Than Broken, says she learned firsthand that sex in the absence of emotional connection and consistent engagement is a recipe for disaster:

My husband cheated on me shortly after we renewed our vows at 25 years of marriage … It was brutal … After working with a pastor and many self-help books, we discovered that in his case he was feeling old. Very cliché, I know, as that stinks of a mid-life crisis.  But he also said that I had become a workaholic, and although we were still having sex very regularly, I was not really there for him emotionally.  I never liked to just go out and have a beer and dance to a local band.  So while I worked an evening retail job, he went out and drank and danced without me. Shame on me for thinking that men were so shallow that all they needed is sex.  Men need their wives to look them in the eye, loosen up once in a while, go out and act silly at a bar, laugh, ask them about their goals and dreams and so much more.

4. He’s struggling with self-worth

Sad man at a bar lounge

Man at a bar | iStock.com

Low self-esteem can also affect one’s choices when it comes to cheating. Pierre said not understanding your true worth will likely compromise your integrity. “A person’s willingness to cheat is based in their own low levels of self-worth. Those with high self-worth understand the power of their words, celebrate the commitments they have made with another, and do not allow their personal integrity to be compromised. Those with high self-worth, either share the unhappiness with their partner, or leave the relationship before damage to their character is done,” said Pierre.

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