Before beginning, I'd just like to say, women cheat too. Modern research shows that the numbers of women now doing so are quickly catching up to the numbers of men who cheat.
Having said that, we're going to explore some of the most common reasons men cheat. Why only men who cheat? It's simple. Because it's a fact that women explore this topic online more than men. Research showed the average number of folks searching "men cheat" online per month is approximately 201,000. While the average number of searches for "women cheat" is a much lower 74,000.
What's that tell you?
A couple of things. For one, the obvious answer would be because men cheat more. However, the flip side to that is also because many men simply just don't think their girlfriend or wife would cheat on them. The male ego just fights this type of thinking. Why? Because the implication is very primal - a cheating wife or girlfriend can bear another man's child. Even though the implications for a woman are much the same - a cheating husband or boyfriend can father another woman's child - for men, due to the male ego and their overall masculinity, this outcome is much more damaging. Therefore, the mere thought of it is literally sickening to them. Every man sees himself as "The Man" in his head. The only man.
Lastly, women have the upper hand here. Men simply don't want to think that a woman will cheat on them. As a result, women take full advantage of the seed that's already planted and have a natural ability to hide their cheating activities much more successfully than men.
Interesting fact: Virtually all women who cheat never get caught versus one fifth of men who do.
Interesting fact: 95% of women who have cheated have never been caught.
Interesting fact: Women are better liars because they are more psychologically sophisticated.
And for those simple reasons alone, a woman cheating on a man is literally the kiss of death to a marriage or a relationship. While a man cheating on a woman has a higher likelihood of being forgiven or even overlooked.
Now that we have a better understanding of the dynamics involved, it's clear that many women cheat because they're seeking new love and a fresh start. However, the reasons that men cheat aren't as clear cut and precise.
Three Stages of Love
Eros Love (Romantic Love)
This is the stage of love often referred to as "in love." This is the stage when the human brain is actually producing a chemical effect that's akin to drug addiction. The chemicals produced are dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin (the 3 that produce the "high"), oxytocin and vasopressin (the two "bonding" chemicals), nerve growth factor (the "attachment"), testosterone and estrogen (the "hormones").
And here's an interesting tidbit, ladies. (And it's also the reason that "no contact" is incredibly valuable to women in particular.) Did you know that the events occurring in the brain when we are in love have similarities with mental illness? Did you know that the effects of serotonin on the brain have a similar chemical appearance to the mental illness known as obsessive-compulsive disorder? And did you know that the brain only produces these chemicals for an average of two years in both males and females?
Can anyone say "infatuation?"
Philos Love (Child Rearing/Friendship Love)
This is the "settling in" stage of love when romance tends to take a back seat and child rearing, family and friendship between the couple tends to take a front seat.
This is also the stage when cheating has the highest rate of occurrence. The brain is no longer producing the chemicals referenced above and the woman has had her attention diverted from the man - to her newborn children who have a much higher need for her love, attention and affection. If there are no children produced from the relationship, fractures can easily happen during this stage because there's no assistance with the chemical production produced during the romantic stage, referenced above.
Can anyone say, "in a rut?"
Agape (Unconditional/Companion Love)
Once a couple reaches this stage, they're generally out of the woods, so-to-speak. They love each other unconditionally, warts and all. They are getting ready to enjoy their golden years and are looking forward to growing old together, settling into retirement and welcoming grandchildren into their lives.
Can anyone say, "happily ever after?"
Now that we understand the different stages of love, let's get down to the dirty and explore some of the possible reasons why men cheat. (And for men reading this, some of these you can simply replace "he" with "she" as they apply to both genders.)
Why A Man Cheats
If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times - insecure men cheat. They just do; whether they love you or not has absolutely nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact, research suggests that most men who cheat claim they still love the woman in their life. And that's because insecurity is a "me" issue, not a "we" issue.
When someone secretly doesn't feel good about themselves, they seek out activities that remedy this. And nothing remedies ill feelings about yourself faster than the attentions and affections of a new lover. Additionally, folks who are insecure are generally equally selfish. As a result, they don't think about "others," they think about "self." Add to that the fact that they tend to focus on "rewards" versus "consequences."
It's a recipe for disaster.
And it's one of the main reason that I warn women dealing with insecure men to really think long and hard about what you're signing on for there. On top of what's referenced above, insecure men tend to enjoy tinkering with the heads and emotions of the woman in their life. They're not good communicators and, as a result, they won't sit down to talk. Instead, they'll pull pranks and play silly "push your button" games. Why? To get a reaction from you. Because if you didn't care, you wouldn't react. So when an insecure man wants reassured that his partner still cares, he won't ask her. Instead, he'll pull a prank that hurts her and then he'll sit back and watch her reaction. Insecure men/women will suck the life out of you and exhaust you - FAST.
Interesting fact: Only 12% of men feel the woman they cheated with was more attractive than their partner.
Did you know that most men usually cheat with a woman they know? Don't get me wrong, you'll always have the types that troll the bar scene for one night stands and anonymous sex. But the majority of men who cheat do not go about it like that. The reality is, they work a situation around them, a woman around them, to their advantage. And then they strike once the iron is hot. This is where the "work wife" becomes dangerous territory. If there's a woman at your man's place of business that he confides in, shares with, lunches with and speaks about regularly - pay close attention to what's developing there.
Men like to make things easy on themselves, ladies. And to them, it's much easier to persuade a woman you know to be your lover than it is to walk into a bar, start from scratch, and attempt to lure the woman back to your apartment.
Interesting fact: 60% of cheating stems from the workplace.
Interesting fact: Only 6% of men claim to have had sex with a woman after meeting her that same day.
Interesting fact: 73% of men claim they got to know the other woman for more than a month before cheating took place.
He's Trying to "Fix" Things
I know. You just read that and said, "Huh?" Let me explain. Men can fix a car, a broken railing, a crack in the sidewalk. But when it comes to their relationships and their emotions, they can't easily fix themselves. As a result, many tend to hang on to what does work, what doesn't need fixed (which may be the wife or girlfriend) and simply resort to plugging the holes they feel inside themselves with extracurricular activities outside of the marriage - to make themselves feel whole again.
Men feel entitled to "have it all." As a result, many will attempt to do just that - take on a mistress to make the longing subside and then live happily ever after, having it all - with their wife AND their mistress.
What better way to feel fulfilled, content and "fixed" - without ever having to confront the real issues?
Interesting fact: 48% of men state emotional dissatisfaction as the cause of their cheating.
Cheating that stems from revenge doesn't happen as often as it does for the reasons listed above, however, it does happen - but it's not necessarily for revenge. If a man has been deeply hurt by a woman in some way, say she's been snubbing him and nagging at him, making him feel like less of a man and giving him the impression that he simply can't make her happy - if he loves her, he may stay and then cheat to overcompensate for his feeling of "lack" as a man.
Revenge can be a factor here. But the real issue is more one of pain as opposed to getting even for being wronged in some way.
Interesting fact: 66% of men feel guilt during the affair.
He Objectifies Women and Craves Variety
Many men blame it on the genes, claiming that they just can't help themselves. And most times, the one's making that claim are also the men who have a tendency to be adrenaline junkies that objectify women as sexual objects or trophies of sorts and treat dating like a sport. For instance, if you're dating a man and you've heard him rating women on a scale of 1 to 10 - RUN.
He doesn't see you as a person, he sees you as an object. One that's been placed on this earth for him to do as he pleases with. And many times, men of this nature are either sociopathic or narcissistic - or both. These men love the thrill of the chase, the hunt and the conquer. It's their domination over others that's important. They could care less how they treat the other nor do they care about making an impression.
These are the caveman types and many an Alpha male objectifies women.
Interesting fact: When women were tested and forced to view themselves in videos as they felt men would view them (objectifying themselves), they made a greater number of mistakes on cognitive testing (attention, memory, understanding language, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making).
He Gets Away With It
Nobody really knows the exact reasons for this, but it's a fact that many men simply have women in their lives that overlook their behavior and/or accept it. "Boys will be boys."
The most likely reasons would be that women tend to be more forgiving than men, women tend to make excuses for the men in their lives and women tend to fear being alone more than men.
Interesting fact: 15% to 20% of married men who were caught cheating are repeat offenders.
He Travels in a Pack
Ever hear the term, "Birds of a feather flock together?" It seems there's proof of that. When a woman dates a man, she should always pay close attention to the company he keeps. His close circle of friends. If he's a party boy who leans towards impulsive, careless behavior and suffers from restlessness, chances are he's running with a pack of men much like himself.
Often times, they're called "wing men."
These are men that travel in packs, helping one another meet and score with women. Another popular term that stems from this behavior is "taking one for the team." Meaning, he's out with his pack, one of his friends is about to score with a beautiful woman, but it's not going to happen unless his buddy occupies the woman's less attractive girlfriend. In which case, the buddy will "take one for the team" and sleep with the less attractive women just so that his friend can have a shot at scoring with the beautiful girl.
Interesting fact: 77% of men who cheat claim to have at least one close friend that also cheats.
Many men marry what has become affectionately coined, their "starter wife." This is the girl they most likely fell in love with at a young age and had a great friendship with. When they met, they were both kids in love without two pennies to rub together, yet still managed to always have a great time with one another.
The man starts to build his career over the course of many years and then one fine day - he arrives. He's gone from earning $17,000 a year at the local burger joint while attending college to suddenly landing that $300,000 a year job. And as we all know, perks come with money. And one of those perks for a man who suddenly finds himself wealthy is - young, beautiful women are suddenly paying attention to him. Women who, 10-20 years ago, wouldn't have given him the time of day.
Power and money are intoxicating and particularly appealing to the male ego. Which is why I warn the women that long for a successful corporate/business man as a husband or boyfriend to be very careful what you wish for.
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." ~ Lord Acton
Interesting fact: 32% of men with a $300,000 a year income claim to have cheated versus 21% of men making less than $35,000 a year.
It's a Learned Behavior
When a man is raised in a home with one or both parents engaging in affairs outside of the marriage, the likelihood of him leading the same lifestyle as an adult jumps considerably. The reason for this is because your parents are the two people in your life that teach you how men and women should interact with one another. If a young boy knows the father is cheating on the mother and he witnesses the mother overlooking this behavior, he says to himself, "I guess it's okay for men to do this. I guess it's their right and I guess women know this and accept it. I guess this is what a relationship between a man and a woman is."
As a result, they themselves develop the same lifestyle and have a much higher likelihood of recreating that atmosphere in their own relationships. Trust me on this one, ladies. My ex of 12 years, when caught cheating and I asked for a divorce as a result, actually said to me, "Why do you have to be such a bitch? You know, most women go through this, but they don't throw away their marriages over it."
My response? "You didn't marry "most" women. You married me. And when I stood at the alter and we exchanged our vows, I don't recall signing on for that."
If you want to know what life would be like with the man you're dating, look to his parent's relationship. In my case, my exes mother and father both cheated. His mother did it very early in the marriage as a knee jerk reaction to her husband's infidelity. She felt neglected and unloved. She chose to remain in the marriage and ceased the behavior - but his father still carries it on to this day, some 40+ years later - much like his paternal grandmother (his dad's mom) had done for the duration of her marriage. Dysfunctional family patterns tend to repeat themselves throughout history until someone breaks the cycle.
Interesting fact: 50% of men who cheated claimed to have fathers who also did so.
Interesting fact: 53% of men who cheated claim to have immediate family members who cheated.
Interesting fact: 21% of men who cheated had fathers that had multiple affairs.
Noticing a Theme Here?
“I'm going to take the high road because the low road is so crowded.” ~ Mia Farrow
Cheating is a choice, folks.
And when men decide to cheat, they make those choices based on what's going on inside of THEM - not based on what the woman is or isn't doing. Sure, they use the behavior of the woman as an excuse or justification for their behavior, but the simple fact of the matter is that most men use cheating as a means of coping. Coping with stress, anxiety, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, past traumas and childhood experiences and self esteem issues. Cheating occurrences for reasons of sex alone are actually very low.
Interesting fact: Only 8% of men who cheat claim sexual dissatisfaction as the reason.
Much like folks use alcohol, tobacco, drugs and gambling as coping mechanisms, many men also choose to use cheating much the same. "If I just do this, then I'll forget about all of that and this will go away."
But the reality appears to be that it boils down to choice and an inability to cope, emotionally, with issues of success, dissatisfaction, past experience, peer pressure, temptation, relationship problems and feelings of self worth.
Now this may sound sexist and I understand why. But realize that what I'm about to say isn't based on my past experiences, it's based on the insights contained in the statistics and the psychology behind what motivates men to cheat versus what motivates women to cheat. Which I believe reveals that when you have a man that's cheating, you appear to have a broken man. Whereas, when you have a woman that's cheating, you appear to have an unloved, neglected woman.
Would you agree or disagree?
Here's some old school wisdom on the topic from back in my day. The lyrics ring true: