You can explain why cheating happens, but that doesn’t stop it from being completely indefensible.
So, for the record, I don’t think cheating can ever be justified in a relationship (after all, if things are that broken or intolerable, you can always leave).
But it does pay to understand the psychological reasons that lead different men astray…
The truth is, there are several reasons why men have affairs in long-term relationships – knowing these reasons will tell you the difference between a guy who cheats once out of a moment of weakness, and a guy who is a total sociopath whom you should run from immediately.
At the end of this article, we’ll look at whether you should ever forgive cheating, and if you can save a relationship after a guy has been unfaithful.
First though…let’s get into the #1 reason why men cheat…
His Inability To Deal With Problems In The Relationship
We can psycho-analyse and dig into a guy’s childhood to figure out all the reasons he has warped views about relationships, but at the most basic level: his desire to sleep with another woman comes from an inability to deal with problems either in the relationship or with himself.
For some guys, they would rather sneak around and furtively get satisfied by another woman than simply admit they think a relationship is over.
This is a common reason why married men cheat. They can’t stomach the thought of either leaving or fixing a broken relationship so they seek out a ‘quick-fix’ by getting sex from another woman, hoping this will cover up their dissatisfaction.
But there are also those men who are so damaged or lacking in moral fibre that they will cheat no matter what – come rain or shine, they’ll find a way to have sex with other women, even in the good times – this is the “amoral sociopath”, the kind of man that you really need to watch out for:
Symptoms usually include:
- a fundamental lack of respect for women
- absence of empathy for other people’s feelings
- pure pleasure-seeking behavior with no self-control
This kind of guy is the guy who cheats and doesn’t even feel like he’s doing anything wrong in the first place. If the first type of guy above cheats out of frustration, this guy does it simply for his own ego and gratification.
Self-Sabotage And Need For Validation
Other common reasons men cheat are insecurity (i.e. a constant need to feel validated by women) and self-sabotage (i.e. he thinks he’ll screw a relationship up anyway, so he decides to cheat before he gets hurt).
Of course, there is a big difference between the kind of cheating guy who goes on one-night stands to get his fix, and the kind of man who has a long-term affair with another woman.
The latter kind may be doing it because he’s one of the sociopaths mentioned in the previous section, or he may do it because there is something he feels is missing from his current relationship: usually for men is the need to feel physically desired and respected again by a woman he’s attracted to. By no means does this mean his cheating is justified, but it’s usually symptom of an unfulfilled need that he feels is missing from his wife/partner – while he might get love from his marriage, he may feel neglected physically or frustrated deep down, and look to another woman to help him feel like more of a man.
The point here is not to accept cheating as a part of life (because there are plenty of men out there who never cheat).
It’s simply to understand that can happen for MANY different reasons, and these will usually tell you a lot about the kind of man or relationship you have.
Should cheating ever be forgiven? That’s a personal decision.
It’s easy to advise a woman to leave a guy if she’s 25 and with a boyfriend who cheats on her every month with a different woman, but what about the couple who have been married for 20 years and face just one moment of unfaithfulness in their entire relationship? What about a husband has a one-month affair then comes to his senses?
These questions, like life, don’t always have simple answers, but whatever your decision: it always pays to understand why it happened in the first place.
Knowing the reasons will tell you (a) whether it’s likely to ever happen again, and (b) whether the relationship is worth saving. It can be a long road to repair a relationship broken by cheating, so it pays to look closely at what went wrong in the first place.