It’s sad, but it’s true: Infidelity can happen in any marriage, and there’s really no way to predict whether or not it will happen to you. Even relationships that seem to be strong can be susceptible to affairs under certain circumstances.
And while there are certain telltale signs that your partner is cheating, the best way to deal with infidelity is to try to stop it before it starts. And one way to do that is to learn the top reasons why people cheat.
Why the focus on men?
It is commonly believed that men cheat more than women. And even though plenty of women do stray, recent statistics still show that men are more likely to be unfaithful. According to information gathered in 2017, 22% of married men admitted to straying, while 14% of married women owned up to having an affair. And while those numbers are fairly low, they’re still too high for most people’s comfort.
There’s never a good reason or an excuse for cheating on a partner. But the reasons behind the affairs are sometimes surprising — and they may help you prevent them from happening in the first place.
Next: There’s never just one reason.
There’s never ‘just one reason’
While cheating would be much easier to pinpoint if there was a blanket diagnosis, the truth is, there are many reasons why men stray. Just like no two relationships are alike, every infidelity situation is different. That’s why no relationship is ever affair-proof.
More often than not, however, there is something “off” in the relationship when a man strays. There are always exceptions, but very few men commit adultery when they’re happy.
Next: A big theme with a cheating situation.
The other person makes him feel good
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.
Next: Some of the most common reasons men cheat.
Some of the most common reasons
If you think your significant other is cheating because he isn’t attracted to you anymore, think again. Of the dozens of common reasons men stray, a lack of attraction to their current partner doesn’t even make the top 10. In fact, common reasons for cheating often have more to do with the men themselves: immaturity, unrealistic expectations, or anger and revenge. Some men cheat because they want to end their current relationship but simply haven’t found the courage to do so.
Next: Another big, common reason why men cheat.
Another common reason
Low self-esteem can also affect one’s choices when it comes to cheating. Darren Pierre, author of The Invitation to Love, told the Cheat Sheet 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.”
Next: The No. 1 reason why men stray.
The No. 1 reason men stray
So what exactly is the number one reason men cheat? It’s simple: A lack of emotional appreciation. And although that’s not an excuse, it makes sense.
When we feel appreciated, we feel confident, proud, loved, and needed. And when we feel emotionally neglected, it’s easy to feel resentful, overwhelmed, angry, and sad. And it only gets worse when we reach out to our partner with these concerns and are ignored or have our feelings trivialized.
Next: Emotional neglect is real and can have devastating consequences.
Emotional neglect is real
Partners who fail to show appreciation for their mates aren’t bad people. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our careers, raising children, and other matters that we take our partners for granted. A lack of mutual appreciation in long-term relationships is probably more common than we even realize.
And although it certainly doesn’t make infidelity acceptable, emotional neglect is real, and it has lasting consequences. Emotional neglect is different from emotional abuse, but it can be damaging to a relationship and ultimately destroy it beyond repair.
Next: Cheating always comes back to this.
It always comes back to appreciation
Earlier in 2017, the results of a study on infidelity made headlines. The claim was that men cheated not out of boredom or anything else, but simply because the other person was “too hot” to resist. Simply put, the men had the opportunity to cheat with someone attractive, and they went for it.
But dig a little deeper into the results of the study and you’ll find that, more often than not, the men who cheated claimed their partner wasn’t really there for them — and the new person was. Infidelity is often more complicated than it looks.
Next: Make sure you have this in your relationship.
It seems that the men in our lives want our appreciation and our respect. In fact, many men say respect is the one thing that matters more than love. You can show your respect by hearing him out, treating him with kindness, and expressing your appreciation for the things he does.
Just because there is no real way to prevent infidelity doesn’t mean that both partners shouldn’t always be working to make their relationship the best it can be. Staying interested in your other half, working to fix things that are wrong, and showing your appreciation are all great ways to improve the health of your relationship.