This is indeed a bad news: some men cheat. Not all men, but some men (and we also know that there are some women!) commit acts of infidelity. When they cheat it’s worth understanding why they do, but this doesn’t makes it okay. Also knowing the reasons for cheating won’t prevent you from throwing your wedding china across the kitchen or enact a Carrie Underwood-style vengeance (but please, don’t do that).
Now, the question is, should you be concerned when your partner has been unfaithful? We bet many would say yes and with that here are the things you should know.
In reality there’s never one reason why a guy wander off.
The whole cheating thing would be undoubtedly a lot easier if there was a blanket diagnosis for all men on the face of the earth. But then the truth is, men — like women! — are complicated human beings with multiple reasons for doing what they do.
Your husband or partner might cheat for a multitude of reasons, according to Dr. Jane Greer, New York-based marriage and sex therapist and author of How Could You Do This to Me? Learning to Trust After Betrayal: “the thrill of the chase and conquest, a sexual addiction, [feeling that he’s] deprived or unhappy with the amount of sex they’re having with their partner, emotionally upset and feel their needs aren’t met by their partner,” or that he desires to lift his ego and feel good-looking…or he might be afraid of real affection.
Nevertheless, there are two usual clear-cut and predominant reasons that men cheat: Something’s going wrong in the relationship, or there’s something in that guy’s DNA that prompts his eye to stroll.
“Cheating is a symptom generally of relational problems, and sometimes cheating is indicative of an individual’s problem,” says Laurie Watson, sex therapist and host of the podcast Foreplay. “The philandering guy who’s got a girlfriend at every hotel for business, that’s a different kind of cheating than the man who has an affair with his colleague,” she added.
More often than not, there’s something off in the relationship.
Dr. Megan Fleming, licensed sex and relationship therapist stated that “Typically, if someone’s cheating, it’s because needs aren’t being met in a marriage or relationship.” That may mean sexual needs — but often means someone’s emotional needs aren’t being fulfilled.
As a matter of fact, when marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman spoke to 200 cheating and non-cheating men for his book entitled: The Truth About Cheating, he found that 47 percent of the men he was able to talked to cheated because they were emotionally unsatisfied, something that runs counterintuitive to what popular culture might decree that we have faith in.
Neuman further added that “Our culture tells us that all men need sex to be happy.” He even stated that “But men are emotionally-driven beings, too. They want their wives to show them that they’re appreciated, and they want women to understand how hard they’re trying to get things right.”
When a man’s significant other isn’t showing them how much they really do appreciate them, they could feel the need to get some appreciation from somewhere else.
Moreover, Dr. Paulette Sherman, a psychologist, author of Dating from the Inside Out and director of My Dating & Relationship School stated that “If they feel like their partner doesn’t care about their emotional needs or what’s happening with them on a daily basis anymore, they might try to find someone who appears more interested and excited about them.”
But then, the problem is that men are less expected to express these feelings than women. In this case, you won’t always know when your guy is in need of a little affirmation. As stated by Neuman “Most men consider it unmanly to ask for a pat on the back, which is why their emotional needs are often overlooked.” He further added that “But you can create a marital culture of appreciation and thoughtfulness — and once you set the tone, he’s likely to match it.”
Indeed that can be frightening, because as Dr. Fleming stressed out, real intimacy often happens in sharing lots of facts with another person, which thereby makes emotional matters feel that much more intimidating.
It’s not just about being worn-out of routine — it’s about a lack of communication.
Here’s a typical scenario that you might be accustomed with: A man comes home from his long work day to his lawfully drained wife with the kids, doesn’t get laid, and feels stir-crazy. More often than not, although, it’s not just the routine that makes a man look outside, it could be because his partner doesn’t attend to him when he tries to break out of the rut.
“It’s often a result of long-term chronic frustration with a non-responsive partner,” Watson stated. “There’s a sensation of not wanting to live in a routine, rote life — they want some kind of excitement.”
Lack of communication is bad on its own, but it’s even worse when the only communication they do have with their other half is undesirable.
Sherman stated that “Perhaps there’s a lot of yelling, criticism, labeling, and name-calling at home. A lack of respect can lead someone to find that elsewhere.” He further added that “Also, it’s important to keep in mind that when a partner doesn’t address these issues within the marriage and looks for support from another opposite-sex confidant, that emotional affair can often segue to a physical one.”
It’s not because of your appearance.
Neuman stated that only 12 percent of the men he surveyed said the woman they slept with was more gorgeous than their spouses.
“Often times, women take way too much responsibility [for their cheating partner, saying], ‘if I were thinner, if I were more [insert variable here]…but sometimes, truly, their partner’s going through a mid-life crisis or is struggling with his own mortality or is frustrated at work,” he stated.
As a matter of fact, often times it’s the man’s own anxieties that make him cheat.
“Many men may start to feel old and worry that life and adventure is behind them. Because of that, they want a woman who will make them feel young and like they’re at their prime again,” Sherman stated.
It’s not because they’re totally detached and have defunct moralities.
Sixty-six percent of the men that Neuman surveyed felt guilt-ridden when they cheated and it really makes sense. Watson stated that plenty of principled people cheat…and they identify that it’s bad. So, yes, honestly good guys have admitted they had screwing up.
Even if men were feeling guilty when they cheat, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to let off, and it doesn’t make the actions right. Although infidelity can prompt a divorce, a marriage can appear stronger once the couple works through it. But then, the critical thing is that the couple has to essentially be eager to work on it and want to restore their relationship in the first place.
“Whether couples can move forward after an affair depends on their values and ability to forgive and rebuild trust,” Sherman stated. “Are both people willing to learn from it, communicate openly, and not cheat again when in pain? Will the cheater acknowledge his partner’s devastation and empathize with the hurt he caused? Many couples do continue to work on their marriage after the affair and decide to go to couples therapy for help earning back trust, improving communication and intimacy, and creating a shared vision going forward. Others may see it as a deal-breaker and not want to continue trying.”
But similar with most parts of a person’s life, it doesn’t just repair itself. Have an open and honest discussion with your better half and resolve whether it’s something you can move forward from or something where every moment you see your husband or partner you’ll always contemplate on the same thing: “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”