More women than not in today’s day and age complain about having been cheated on at least once in their dating life. Also, with the divorce rate hovering around the 50% mark, many women have even been married to one.
Can knowing why men have affairs help prevent feeling the heartbreak of an affair from happening? Absolutely. An abundance of data compiled from Oprah’s authors to TIME magazine has revealed some startling information about why men have affairs, and what women can do to stop them from breaking their heart. Here are the top 8 reasons why men have affairs:
1. He is emotionally dissatisfied.
When Redbook Magazine conducted a poll of cheating men, a whopping 48% percent said unhappiness was the leading reason they strayed from their woman. The men surveyed by Gary Neuman, author of The Truth About Cheating rated higher, with 92% of men rating emotional dissatisfaction as the number 1 reason they cheated.
2. It really did just happen.
Men like the thrill of the chase, and when a pretty girl starts flirting or paying more attention to them than they are used to, they feel appreciated. Appreciation and happiness are like catnip to men. Often, simply the novelty of someone else who is interested in them can lead a man to cheat.
The ironic thing here is that when a man says he didn’t mean to, it just happened, he’s often telling the truth. Stories like sleeping with the secretary at the office party after a few cocktails arise from this theory of why men have affairs. This is not to say that cheating is ever justified, but the excuse “it just happened” can have more merit than most women would like to believe.
3. He is looking for a way out.
TIME magazine author Andrea Sachs refers to this as the Ejector Seat principle. Men use affairs as an excuse to get out of their marriage. These are the husbands that don’t spend a lot of time trying to hide their indiscretions, because they are secretly hoping she will find out, and make the decision to leave on her own.
While cheating to ruin the marriage is the coward’s way out, it can definitely go a long way toward getting him out of a situation that he isn’t enjoying anymore.
4. Divorce is expensive and emotional.
Even today most men are still the primary bread-winner in the family. Divorce is expensive and could ruin a lot that a man has established in his life. If he doesn’t want to deal with divorce, separating assets, and child custody matters, he will take the easy way out of his unhappiness by stepping out on his wife.
5. He doesn’t know what he wants.
Men will sometimes have affairs when they aren’t sure what to do with the relationship. Maybe divorce? Maybe not? They rationalize that having an affair will help them determine if they really are happier with another person.
6. Cheating feeds his ego.
Men have long been the world’s hunters, savoring the thrill of the chase. Getting attention from any woman that they are not married to feeds their ego and makes them feel prized. If they aren’t getting that attention at home, they are going to keep going after “the prize” that will give it to them, until they have conquered the chase.
7. One of his friends has gotten away with it.
When one of their buddies gets away with cheating, this normalizes the behavior for the guy that’s just waiting for an escape hatch from his marriage. He hears about his buddy doing it, and suddenly it seems like a viable option.
8. Sexual novelty.
Sometimes the reason why a man cheats just isn’t that deep. Maybe he’s just looking to add some novelty into a seemingly stale life.
This might be one of the least common reasons, but it is common enough that we see this on Dr. Phil, Jerry Springer, and every other daytime talk show regularly. Their spouse or partner had an affair so they do so as well to show their partner how it made them feel. Productive? No. But definitely a reason men have affairs.
If it seems like revenge for your transgressions is the main reason why your man had an affair, it begs for some self reflection on why you would stay with someone you felt compelled to cheat on. Why did you cheat? Is it time to stick a fork in this relationship because it’s dead?
Why Men Have Affairs – The Bottom Line
While there are a number of reasons why men have affairs, emotional dissatisfaction tops the list of reasons why men cheat. While there are different parts to every story, just as there are to every marriage, it is clear from the research that men cheat most often when they feel like something is lacking from their relationship and emotional life.
While you can’t control anyone else, and shouldn’t try, many women still ask me, “but Elizabeth, how do I stop my man from cheating?” Make sure that his emotional needs are met. Try to keep things light and happy in your relationship. I’ve said it before, but don’t sweat the small stuff. Would you like to go home to a nagging harpy who hangs on your every mistake? I didn’t think so.
All of this is not to say that if a man cheats on you, it’s your fault. There are much better and more resourceful coping methods than cheating to deal with emotional dissatisfaction in one’s relationship. Also, it opens such a huge can of worms that if you were unhappy before cheating, I’d imagine you’d be much worse off afterward. I
’d personally have a really hard time staying with a cheater because of the trust issues that would arise. However, it’s up to you to determine what is appropriate for you and your relationship boundaries.