Why Men Cheat
No doubt you’re reading this because the question of ‘why men cheat’ seems impossible to answer. One of the reasons for this is that guys can be pretty creative when it comes to explaining why they’ve done it – and that’s if they tell you about it at all. Another is that they might not have the insight yet, to fully understand their own underlying motives.
Whether it’s from your own situation or your friend’s, you might have heard these common rationalizations:
- All guys need to have sex with other women.
- If there’s no sex at home, there’s no other option.
- Men are biologically wired to have sex with heaps of women.
- Everyone does it and it’s no big deal.
- It was just a drunk moment.
- Stress, fights and arguments led to falling into bed with someone else.
- It didn’t mean anything so it doesn’t matter.
All of the above might, in fact, be true, but only on a superficial level. This kind of reasoning is actually just a type of denial, to cover up the real issues. For most guys, there’s no single reason to cheat, however, infidelity is driven by certain risk factors.
Before we go into those, know that men never absolutely have to cheat. It’s always a choice, regardless of the circumstances. And, it’s really not your job to prevent the behaviour. If you’re with the right man, mature conversation, counselling, honesty, mutual connection and even breaking up – if it comes to that – are examples of better choices.
However, when you understand the risk factors involved, it becomes a whole lot easier to make better choices and hopefully avoid hurtful alternatives.
Let’s take a look at the five main ingredients that make up a ‘cheating concoction’, to help you have a relationship where the risk of cheating is virtually zero.
1. Unmet Needs
At the very core of cheating, the most important factor involved is unmet needs. For example, what does a man feel he’s not getting enough of from a relationship, that he goes outside of it to get? On both sides, there are always unmet needs, whether they’re conscious or subconscious. In fact, cheating often occurs in the heat of the moment, due to a stupid decision driven by a desire from a subconscious level.
That doesn’t make it ok, but it does make it worth understanding. Mainly, because living with unmet needs can damage relationships, by causing unhappiness, resent, disappointment or frustration. Obviously, this leads to loss of interest, insecurity, communication breakdowns and, as a consequence, infidelity. Sometimes a guy won’t know his needs are unmet, he’ll simply act on the bad feelings this creates. Other times he’ll know, but feels like he can’t express himself. Or, perhaps he’ll talk about his needs, but they remain unfulfilled for whatever reason.
For example, if a man is rejected sexually, doesn’t feel like he can please you or maybe even provide for you, chances are he’ll feel emasculated. Despite it sounding like a cliche, men generally want to feel like men. He doesn’t want to feel weak, insignificant or unattractive.
Other unmet needs include feeling unloved or unappreciated and therefore seeking affection somewhere else. If, for example, a woman is always threatening to leave, he might feel insecure about the relationship connection and cheat to subconsciously give himself the more secure position in the relationship.
Then, there are unmet needs that don’t really have anything to do with the relationship. He could have poor self esteem and, deep down, doesn’t think he deserves you. Or, he might be addicted to the excitement and passion that comes from sex with a new person or even cheating in itself. Know that you can’t do anything to control these types of factors, as only he can choose to work on them – or not.
2. Fear of Loss
Fear – of anything really – makes us all act in weird, and often not so wonderful ways. For a man, his fear of loss is a prime risk factor, with regard to cheating. More precisely though, it comes down to his fear of being single, though this usually operates on more of a subconscious level.
“Someone who really isn’t scared of being single, isn’t likely to cheat.”
It helps to think about it this way. Lots of people say they’re not afraid to be single, right? However, if they cheat, especially when they don’t immediately tell their partner, they’re flat out lying. Someone who really isn’t scared of being single isn’t likely to cheat. Why? Because they’ll just break things off. Everyone else is either scared of being alone, or of not having the connection anymore, whereby cheating seems an easier option.
3. Genetics and Upbringing
It’s probably not something you want to hear, but genetics and upbringing do play big leading roles as cheating risk factors. This doesn’t offer an excuse by any means, it just pays to understand what you may be dealing with.
In terms of inheriting a ‘cheating gene’, there is evidence that some genetic variations can influence the way we process to neurochemicals, which are released before, during and after sex. For example, say you have a genetic variant that reduces the impact of dopamine (a ‘feel good’ hormone), you might feel like you need more stimulation and variety than other people, to get the ‘hit’, so to speak.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! It doesn’t just apply to men either, which pretty much puts to bed the idea that women are inherently monogamous and men aren’t. The truth is, there’s no one, or even true answer!
Upbringing, on the other hand, creates such a big risk factor because of preconditioned thought patterns and behaviours. Life experiences can actually modify your DNA, which is a whole other topic of epigenetics. Emotional, physical or sexual abuse, exposure to drugs, alcohol and neglect or observing other adults cheating can all increase the likelihood of recurring patterns.
That’s not to say it doesn’t work in the reverse though. Many people who’ve struggled with this sort of upbringing have worked on themselves and gotten through the hard times, to become incredibly loyal, loving partners.
With regards to genetics and upbringing, the good news is that values can override everything – and his values are easy to discover. For example, a guy might be at a higher genetic risk of cheating, but if he’s been brought up in a loving environment that’s conducive to monogamy, and he adopts those values, it’s likely he’ll remain fiercely loyal. Even if he has some unmet needs, he’ll generally be aware of them and more intent on working to resolve them, rather than searching for something outside the relationship to do it for him.
To find out what a man’s values are, ask him things like:
- Do you think loyal relationships and marriages exist?
- Do you think humans are naturally monogamous?
- Have you ever cheated on someone?
Doing this helps you understand where he’s coming from and, therefore, where he’s likely to go in the future. So, if he tells you he’s cheated on all his ex-girlfriends, but he won’t do it to you because you’re different…enough said. It’s true that people can change, but values are generally deeply ingrained. If he’s been able to do it before, the risk of him doing it again is definitely increased, unless you can visibly see he’s making a conscious effort to work on himself, internally.
5. Impulsiveness Of Character
Finally, it pays to understand that when a lot of people cheat (not just guys) it happens totally spontaneously. The risk factor can increase, depending on how impulsive you are in day to day life. But, even if you’re not all that spontaneous, you could cheat impulsively due to heightened risk factors.
For example, someone who’s quite impulsive gets drunk, fights with their partner and ends up on Tinder in the heat of the moment. Where does it lead to? Coming home the next morning with some serious regrets and consequences to deal with, whether they tell their partner or not. In other words, they acted on impulse and screwed themselves over.
“The risk factors are enough that one day he gets drunk at the pub and it pushes him over the line.”
Or, let’s say a guy who’s only moderately impulsive in everyday life is dealing with a big unmet need, like feeling sexually invalidated in his relationship. He tries to address it, but doesn’t do it confidently, so walks around with a high fear of loss, feeling insecure and basically pretty crap about himself. Perhaps he values monogamy and even has monogamous genetics. However, combined, the risk factors are enough that one day he gets drunk at the pub and it pushes him over the line. As in, he spontaneously goes home with that hot chick at the bar and does something stupid.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, is a man who shows discipline in his decision making, rather than impulsivity or indecisiveness. This guy might have an unmet need and a fear of loss. However, his values are inherently entwined with monogamy and he’s not prone to acting impulsively. Therefore, rather than cheat, he’s more likely to stay in an an unhappy relationship for a long time, only to eventually end it.
Then, there’s the classic player. His unmet need could be very small and he only has a moderate fear of loss. However, he just doesn’t care about monogamy and it’s not in his genes, so he cheats because his value of monogamy isn’t high enough to outweigh his fear of loss.
In this way, you can see how all the risk factors interact with each other and how relevant they are, to all personality types. Again, there’s no single reason why men cheat and this highlights the fact tenfold.
That’s why, when you’re armed with knowledge of the risk factors above, you’ll more easily navigate your way through the mystery maze of cheating – towards a man who’ll always be loyal to you.