Why Do Men Cheat?

Profile Icon
Clinically Approved By Shannon BalaBy Precious Ogunkoya, Author
18.4k ReadsUpdated: 4 Feb, 2024
Descriptive text about the image


Why do some men cheat? This is a question as old as time, different people will give different answers. But the truth is it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer, It could be a lack of communication, unmet emotional needs, or even external pressures. As we explore this topic together, let's aim for insights that lead to healthier connections and personal growth. After all, understanding is the first step towards building bridges and creating lasting, fulfilling relationships. In today’s article, we will discuss why men cheat, the importance of understanding why, some myths about why, and why loyalty testing your partner may be the right choice to ease your doubts and give you peace of mind.

True or False: Every man is a cheater?

Relationships can be very tricky and sometimes very demanding, so some men resort to other people to find what is lacking in their love life.

Cheating happens for many reasons, from getting bored to losing attraction or just falling out of love. To say every man is a cheat would be blind speculation, but that isn’t to say that the percentage who do isn’t high.

According to a study conducted by the Institute for Family Studies (IFS) men are more likely to cheat than women, with 20% of men reported to be having sex with someone other than their partner. In our own study, performed between January to March 2023 we found that approximately 60% of male significant others responded back when approached by our female testers. These findings seem to indicate an inclination toward infidelity.

Why is it important to understand why?

Finding out the "why" behind certain behaviors, especially cheating, is significant. Acting out or playing the blame game can only get you so far, figuring out what makes men tick and essentially finding out why they step out of their relationships is the key to ultimately understanding why they cheat.

Digging into the "why" helps you understand the underlying issue, because when we understand the motivation behind infidelity, we can have honest conversations. Coming to this understanding paves the way for building resilience, healing wounds, and a stronger relationship.

40 Reasons Why Men Cheat

While it's important to understand that each individual and relationship is unique, there are several common reasons why some men may engage in infidelity. Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and motivations can vary widely. Let’s explore a few reasons why;

  1. Internet:

    In this day and age, Unfiltered internet access has increased the rate at which men cheat on their partners while also reducing effort. It's much easier to have an affair these days, especially an emotional one and social media sites have been linked to many divorces and extramarital affairs. Even if there is not a face-to-face meeting, "online cheating" or internet infidelity is still considered cheating. In another study published by Laura Vowels in 2021, researchers noted that 26.6% of participants had participated in online cheating.

  2. Lack of Emotional Connection:

    One of the main reasons why some men cheat is a lack of emotional connection. There is a gap left when partners feel emotionally cut off or distant, and some people may try to fill it by dating someone else. Because emotional intimacy and understanding are basic human needs, some men may go for comfort and connection outside their relationships when they aren't provided. Similarly, a partner may feel ignored or misinterpreted if there is a decline in emotional connection. In these circumstances, some men can naively think that satisfying their emotional needs will come from connecting with someone else.

  3. Poor Moral Judgement:

    To be quite frank one of the biggest reasons men cheat is because, for a lack of better words, their assholes. Whether it be poor friends or poor role models, men who cheat are often surrounded by other men who cheat. However, cheaters are not only limited to those who are with other cheaters, some men cheat only because they are terrible people.

  4. Seeking Validation:

    Self-esteem, desire, and reaffirmation of their attractiveness are very important to men. When these crucial elements become scarce within their committed relationship, they feel worthless, so they cheat to feel more desirable and to increase their sense of self-worth. It's similar to seeking validation from sources outside of the relationship when one's self-worth is affected, and some men end up cheating on their partners in the pursuit of validation.

    Betraying a relationship is more of a subconscious need for validation and a boost to self-esteem than a deliberate choice.

  5. Ego Inflation:

    The ego of an average man is very high, and once a man goes out of his way or relationship to get an ego boost, there is a problem because the search for ego inflation often leads to cheating. Men may lie to themselves to feel more validated, egotistical, or both. It's similar to a band-aid solution for insecurities, where looking for approval from others turns into a foolish attempt to feel more significant or attractive.

  6. Childhood Trauma:

    Another common reason men cheat on their partners is unresolved childhood trauma. Unresolved childhood trauma may have a lasting effect on adult relationships and raise the possibility of adultery. Abuse or neglect, whether it be physical, sexual, or emotional, can leave behind deep-seated wounds that, if left untreated, may have an impact on behavior in later life. Think of these old traumas as ghosts that haunt a person's mind, influencing their choices and behaviors.

    The emotional void caused by trauma may cause someone who hasn't dealt with and recovered from their childhood wounds to look for comfort or validation outside of a committed relationship.

  7. Lack Of Relationship Skills:

    Before starting a relationship, having the necessary skills to maintain and advance the relationship is important. When people are not equipped to handle obstacles, communicate well, and settle disputes, it puts a strain on the relationship. This lack of relationship skills may occasionally cause people to look for comfort or connection outside, which raises the possibility of adultery. Interestingly enough, the wrong relationship experience is equally bad. As it turns out, a person who cheats once is 3.4 times more likely to cheat again.

  8. Men Cheat for Avoidance, Culture, and Value:

    Male infidelity tends to be the consequence of a mix of factors rather than the outcome of a single distinguishing characteristic. Three important factors influence the chances of an individual cheating on their spouse:

    • Value: The significance of preserving a marriage—apart from instances of abuse—is paramount. People are more inclined to make decisions that put maintaining the marriage above having an affair if they believe that marriage is an important and vital part of their lives.
    • Avoidance: When men try so hard to avoid looking inward and changing their minds. Infidelity will eventually result from their unwillingness to face their actions and choices due to a feeling of helplessness or uncertainty.
    • Culturally Absorbed: Men’s perspective of cheating can be greatly influenced by societal, parental, or cultural acceptance of infidelity. When powerful people support adultery, it may cease to be viewed as bad conduct, which increases the likelihood that men may make decisions that are at odds with their marriage's commitment.
  9. Fear Of Commitment:

    A fear of commitment might fuel the desire for variety and novelty in relationships. Imagine it as a reluctance to truly commit to a long-term relationship that drives men to look for fresh experiences and varied relationships. This fear turns into a motivating factor that pushes them to explore and avoid committing to a long-term relationship. The need for change and novelty turns into a means of getting around the perceived limitations of commitment, providing a short-term reprieve from the anxiety related to long-term commitments.

  10. To Explore Sexual Preferences:

    Some men use cheating as an excuse to explore their sexuality. It is often a hare-brained attempt to comprehend and negotiate one's sexual desires. The temptation to explore fresh aspects of one's sexuality outside of a committed commitment may seem alluring for people who feel constrained or unfulfilled in their existing relationship. It's more about satisfying curiosity and exploring new ground in intimacy than it is about necessarily looking for emotional connection. This viewpoint clarifies how some people could view adultery as a means of self-discovery in the domain of their imaginations and aspirations without endorsing the action.

  11. Men Cheat When Their Partners Are Away:

    Relationships are like a tandem bicycle, it takes two to work. Now, think about what happens when one partner is unavailable, it fails. When men feel that their relationships are emotionally or physically beyond reach, they may resort to adultery. It's similar to looking for a sense of fulfillment in a relationship that seems to be lacking. For some guys, the remedy to not feeling emotionally or physically connected to their partner is to look for connection elsewhere. It emphasizes how crucial it is to have honest conversations and deal with the issues behind this perceived lack of availability to improve partner relationships and lower the risk of infidelity.

  12. Thrill-Seeking:

    Setting out on the thrilling path of thrill-seeking in relationships can be exciting, just like heading into uncharted territories. Some guys find that the appeal of doing things they are not supposed to become a strong incentive that makes their hearts race. Imagine it as an emotional rollercoaster where what's forbidden turns into an enticing journey. There are a few reasons why men seek thrill when in a relationship:

    • Risk and Reward: The thrill is based on the audacious wager, motivated by the hope of winning a secret reward. In the complicated world of relationships, some men find the seductive pull of secrecy tempting, similar to playing a high-stakes game with a thrilling edge.
    • Novelty Factor: Some guys enjoy adding freshness to their routines by venturing into unknown territory. The dynamic nature of relationships is maintained by the seductive attraction of the unknown, which turns the ordinary into an exciting journey. So once the relationship lacks novelty, some men turn to other partners.
  13. Lack of Admiration:

    This is a very common reason, and it’s as simple as this: A man may be willing to cheat in a relationship if he doesn't feel appreciated. It's like having a key component of the relationship melody absent. and It feels easier to fill the void by looking for admiration from others, even though it's not the best course of action. Think of it like this: “ Relationships are like a song, and Admiration is the tune that makes them special”. This essentially means when admiration is missing, a relationship loses its best part.

  14. Unmet Physical Needs:

    A very big part of why men cheat is dissatisfaction. A lot of men feel tempted to cheat the moment a partner does not meet their needs in the bedroom. It's a direct response to the relationship's lack of physical fulfillment. Intimacy sought elsewhere becomes an outlet for arising desires and cravings, although it might not be the best path to follow because the outcome is rarely good.

  15. Revenge:

    Revenge is a very strong motivator when it comes to cheating. Many men may be driven to cheat as an act of vengeance or retaliation when they feel wronged or harbor unresolved grudges. The aggrieved partner may feel the desire for vengeance, which could lead to an affair if one partner has had an affair or has hurt the other in some other way.

  16. Body image/Aging:

    Cheating can occasionally be a means for a guy to prove that they still "have it," as seen by the numerous accounts of middle-aged men having affairs with women who were their daughters' age. Alongside these ideas, a partner may accuse their partner of taking responsibility for their transgressions by saying that their partner has "let himself/herself go.” Men may feel tempted to cheat to feel desirable again or excited about making new friends. Interestingly, a 2013 study published by Rutgers University, found that higher body satisfaction correlated with a higher incidence of cheating (r =.17, p < .05)

  17. Peer Pressure:

    “My friends did it so why can’t I”. This is the mindset most men have in cases where they have friends who cheat. They are often pressured to engage in the same activities as their friends. And it’s similar to giving in to what the masses want of you when your motivation comes from wanting to fit in or be accepted. This reason makes it a leading cause of cheating among men.

  18. Addiction:

    Addiction can operate as a subtle backstage actor when it comes to infidelity, influencing decisions and judgments. Addiction is not just limited to substances, people often get addicted to each other, Which leads to developing a toxic hold on each other. The effect of this addiction causes men to act out of character. Here are some effects alcohol has on most mento cheat again.

    can operate as a subtle backstage actor when it comes to infidelity, influencing decisions and judgments. Addiction is not just limited to substances, people often get addicted to each other, Which leads to developing a toxic hold on each other. The effect of this addiction causes men to act out of character. Here are some effects alcohol has on most men

    • Impaired Judgment: Impaired judgment can lead to infidelity and is frequently the outcome of substance abuse. It's similar to negotiating complex relationship dynamics while experiencing twisted views. The commitment to a monogamous relationship may be jeopardized by decisions made by people under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These are some side effects of substances:
    • Escapism: Addiction may develop into a way to avoid the difficulties and obligations of a committed partnership.
    • Loss of Control: Addiction impairs impulse control, which makes a man susceptible to making unusual choices.
  19. Weak Personal Boundaries:

    The importance of boundaries can not be overstated. According to numerous sources, An affair is more likely when we have weak personal boundaries that define what we consider acceptable or objectionable to others. People who are difficult to get along with, who are frequently called "people-pleasers," may unintentionally end up having an affair, even if that was not their initial intention. Saying no can be difficult, and an over-compliance tendency can compromise personal boundaries and lead to situations that were not planned or desired in the first place.

  20. Men Love Adventure:

    Trying to explore new things is not bad, but sometimes, it can spiral into a completely different scenario. It's just an innate need for novel experiences that drives people to venture into undiscovered areas. Some guys with this adventurous attitude might think of doing things like cheating as a way to add excitement to their lives. Recognizing and satisfying this need for adventure means figuring out constructive methods to bring novelty and excitement into a committed relationship while avoiding decisions that can jeopardize the security and trust of the union.

  21. Parental Influence:

    Influence is very important, be it good or bad. It often sets the tone for the future, and kids are very impressionable. This is why parents must be careful about their behaviors in front of their kids. Having the skills needed to navigate a relationship can be strongly predicted by childhood experiences and parental role models. If someone saw their parents engage in adultery or exhibit problematic relationship dynamics, they might unintentionally duplicate those behaviors in their own relationships.

  22. Perceived Lack of Consequences:

    People tend to do a lot of things when they think there are no consequences to their actions. When individuals perceive a lack of consequences, they become more likely to engage in behaviors like infidelity. It's like navigating uncharted waters without fearing the potential storms. When men believe they can cheat without facing significant repercussions, the temptation to indulge in such actions increases.

  23. When Your Partner Is Not Happy:

    When a man knows his woman is unhappy, It creates a very complicated emotional landscape. Although generalizations should be avoided, certain men may be more likely to cheat when their partner is dissatisfied. To fill the apparent void in their relationship, people may look for emotional or physical connection elsewhere in certain circumstances. To avoid the possible dangers of infidelity and promote a healthy relationship, it is important to have open conversations about feelings and concerns as well as to work toward addressing the underlying causes of disappointment.

  24. Unrealistic Expectations Of Monogamy:

    Unrealistic Expectations of Monogamy often aggravate relationship problems. People who have romanticized ideas about what a monogamous relationship should be like may find it difficult to balance these ideas with the truths about human nature. The distinction may cause discontent and, in certain situations, give rise to the desire to cheat in an attempt to find unattainable perfection elsewhere.

  25. Fear Of Loneliness:

    One of the strongest emotional motivators that can greatly impact people and their relationships is the dread of loneliness. The basic human urge for connection and company is frequently the source of this worry. Fear of loneliness in partnerships can show up as neediness, separation anxiety, or a refusal to confront problems that might damage the bond. It’s very easy to avoid, but when left unchecked, this fear often leads men to cheat.

  26. Opportunistic Infidelity:

    The thing about cheating is that it’s not always planned, It is usually a crime of opportunity. It's like navigating unfamiliar territory when unanticipated events force decisions that might not align with the commitment to a relationship. These possibilities might come in many forms, like random meetings or circumstances leading to snap judgments. Recognizing and addressing the elements contributing to opportunistic infidelity entails comprehending the situation and cooperating to strengthen the partnership against such unforeseen challenges without condoning the behavior.

  27. Missing Emotional Elements:

    A lot of men engage in infidelity when they sense an emotional void within their relationship. It's just like feeling a gap in the emotional connection, making them want to seek solace or understanding elsewhere. To satisfy their need for closeness and emotional fulfillment, some men may look for connections outside their relationships when this emotional component is missing or diminished. For example, a person who didn’t get much attention in their younger years feels really good when they get special attention or are showing interest. “This is why men cheat”.

  28. Men Cheat When They Don't Feel Valued:

    Men cheat primarily because they don't feel appreciated, in my experience. At the same time, there are certainly some entitled jerks out there who don't respect their relationships and think they can do whatever they want.

    If their partners cease having regular intercourse with them, others could feel undervalued. Or if their spouses don't seem to prioritize them because they're too preoccupied with life, the family, the kids, the job, etc. Beneath it all, though, is a feeling that the man is unimportant and unvalued and that his girlfriend no longer finds him admirable.

  29. Desire For Excitement

    Most humans crave excitement in every aspect of life, including their love lives. But sometimes, this excitement leads to cheating. Some guys are driven to adultery by a need for excitement. It's like looking for a thrilling adventure outside of a committed partnership. People who are eager to try new things and get excited about the unknown might look into relationships outside of marriage.

  30. Escape from Responsibility

    Sometimes, cheating is an attempt to avoid the obligations that come with being in a committed relationship. It's like running away from the responsibilities and difficulties of being in a partnership. Some people may turn to adultery as a means of avoiding the problems of marriage due to the attraction of a short-term getaway.

  31. Impaired Judgment:

    Impaired judgment can lead to infidelity and is frequently the outcome of substance abuse. It's similar to negotiating complex relationship dynamics while experiencing twisted views. The commitment to a monogamous relationship may be jeopardized by decisions made by people under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These are some side effects of substances:

    • Distorted Perception: Drugs can cause people to see things differently, which might cause them to misinterpret the dynamics of relationships.
    • Inhibited Communication: Addiction to substances can obstruct clear communication, making it difficult for partners to set limits and voice concerns.
    • Temporary Escapism: The seduction of narcotics may engender a need for momentary escape, prompting people to look for fulfillment outside of relationships.
  32. Modern Romantic Idea

    In partnerships, the Modern Romantic Ideal frequently portrayed in the media may unintentionally encourage infidelity. The representation of intense, all-encompassing love in books and movies has the potential to inflate expectations. When relationships in the real world don't live up to these expectations, people may feel empty inside and turn to the perceived intensity and excitement of media representations. Relationship pressure can result from this gap between dream and reality, which can cause emotional detachment and, in certain situations, adultery.

  33. Incompatibility

    Many men tend to seek partnerships outside of their current ones after admitting incompatibility. It's similar to discovering that the puzzle pieces of compatibility don't quite fit, leading people to look into other relationships that appear to be a better fit. Some men may feel unfulfilled by this realization and become more likely to seek friendship or understanding outside their current relationships.

  34. Financial Stress

    Harmony can be shadowed by financial stress, which tends to be an unwanted visitor in partnerships. Relationship pressure and arguments may arise from the difficulty of handling financial difficulties. It turns into a resilience test that calls for efficient communication and teamwork to solve problems. This stressor might affect daily choices as well as long-term objectives in the partnership. To navigate financial stress, people must be aware of one another's viewpoints, set reasonable expectations, and collaborate to develop long-term solutions. Though difficult, a partnership's ability to withstand hardship can be reinforced when partners effectively navigate financial difficulties. Research done by the AICPA finds that 75% of Americans list financial decisions as a major stress in their relationship.

  35. Men Cheat When They Are Unable To Connect With Themselves

    A lot of men cheat because they struggle to emotionally connect with their inner child, seeking affirmation of their worth and a sense of being loved. This difficulty with self-worth leads them to chase an unattainable goal, moving from one person to another in a quest for validation and recognition of their inherent value and preciousness.

  36. Mid Life Crisis

    Men going through a midlife crisis might look for fulfillment and approval outside of partnerships. It's as though the upheaval of middle age inspires a search for fresh perspectives and validation from other sources. Seeking a fresh sense of identity and direction might push one to make unorthodox decisions, such as seeking approval from others outside of a committed relationship.

  37. Lack Of Intimacy

    Cheating frequently results from a lack of closeness in a marriage. A guy may experience a sensation of emptiness, loneliness, and irritation when he feels unheard or finds it difficult to express his demands. Seeking a connection outside of the partnership could result from his desire to satisfy these unfulfilled desires. It turns into a means of saying, "I'll look for fulfillment elsewhere because someone else values and understands me."

  38. Delusion With Marriage

    When men lose faith in marriage, they may turn to adultery. The reality of the job, financial strains, and parenthood frequently collide with the early hopes of an ideal life together, full of lots of intimacy and communication. Men may feel ignored and crave attention when the joys of being in a relationship fade amid duties. Their spouse's emphasis on the kids may cause them to feel jealous of their perceived decrease in desire. In their quest for contentment, some men look outside of themselves, thinking that someone else may satisfy their desires for love and appreciation. They frequently believe that happiness is contingent upon someone else giving them the attention and desire they desire.

  39. Men seek love and attention

    For guys to feel emotionally fulfilled, affection and attention are necessities. Humans naturally want to be loved and respected in relationships. Men may be more likely to look for these essential components elsewhere if they feel their existing relationship lacks love or care. The desire for validation, comprehension, and significance is at the core of this emotional connection search.

  40. Shame

    Men are often embarrassed by their lust for pleasure. So when people ask the question"What makes decent husbands cheat" Shame may be the response. Men cheat because they feel ashamed, which is why they engage in emotional rather than simply physical encounters. I realize that seems cynical and like a stuck-in-a-cart situation, but many individuals feel guilty when they are found to be cheating. Shame, however, frequently catalyzes dishonest behavior.

    A man who cheats frequently suffers from a deep-seated, covert feeling of shame regarding his erotic inclinations. While many of them really do care for and love their partners.

    The more personal and familial the link becomes between any of us and the person we love, the harder it is for each of us to pursue our pleasures as individuals—especially when it comes to sex and romance—without running the risk of harming the other and experiencing guilt as a result. There are a lot more reasons why men cheat, but the 40 listed above are among the most common reasons.

What To Do If Your Man Is Cheating On You

  • Stay calm: Reacting angrily or rashly could make things worse. Before facing your partner, give yourself some time to evaluate your feelings.
  • Get proof: If you think you need it, gather proof to back up your suspicions. This might be text messages, images, or other pertinent data. One of the best ways to get proof your partner would cheat is to use our loyalty testing services . Hire one of our testers to DM your man and see if they would respond or even flirt back.
  • Communicate: Talk to your partner honestly and openly. Share your emotions, voice your worries, and pay attention to what they have to say. Understanding the situation depends on communication.
  • Seek Assistance: If you need emotional assistance, talk to friends, relatives, or a therapist. Managing an affair can be emotionally draining, so it's critical to surround yourself with support.
  • Consider Counseling: Should you decide that your relationship can be repaired, relationship counseling can offer a secure environment to examine your problems.
  • Set Boundaries: To reestablish confidence, set explicit expectations and boundaries if you choose to resolve the issues. Rebuilding emotional connections and being transparent and open with one another may be necessary.
  • Make Well-Informed Decisions: Consider all available information and your emotional condition while deciding how to connect. This could entail choosing to split up or rebuild.

Each relationship is unique, and there's no universal solution for handling infidelity. Prioritize your emotional well-being and make decisions aligned with your values. Seeking professional guidance can offer valuable support during challenging times.

Myths About Why Men Cheat

Men Only Cheat to Feel Good About Their Bodies: Although physical attraction may play a role, underlying causes may include emotional discontent, a lack of connection, or the need for affirmation.
Cheating in a relationship is invariably an indication of discontent: The truth is not all cheaters are unhappy in their marriages; there are a variety of reasons why people commit infidelity.
Men Cheat Mostly Because They Don't Get Intimacy: Common motivations that go beyond physical gratification include emotional neglect, unfulfilled needs, and the desire for excitement.
If You Cheat Once, You'll Cheat Again: The truth is people can grow from their errors, and not all cheaters will carry out the same actions in other relationships.
It's Always Prearranged to Cheat: There are times when adultery arises naturally and is motivated by external factors rather than a preempted situation.

Common Questions Asked

  • Are They In Love With Someone Else?: If the response to this question is yes, it sets the direction the relationship will take. Two people cannot be in a relationship if one partner is in love with someone else.
  • Did You Have Feelings for the Other Person, or Was it Just Physical?: If it was only physical, one partner could find it easier to forgive. It could be simpler to forgive and regain trust after a physical affair. However, every situation is different.
  • Should I take up my suspicions with my partner?: It's critical to communicate openly. If doubts remain, think about having a calm and sincere conversation about your issues.
  • What if there is proof, but my partner says they didn't cheat: Denial is common. Consider seeking couples counseling to address the underlying problems and encourage open communication.

This practical guidance offers women valuable insights into understanding the reasons behind men cheating. Armed with this knowledge, women can foster healthier relationships by addressing underlying issues and establishing effective communication strategies.