Not easy to hear, but important to understand.
Many times people say "Men cheat because they can; because it's easy for them."
At times, this is definitely true. But more often, in cases of infidelity, the reason men cheat isn't that simple. One explanation rarely fits all. Instead, a mixture of causes typically factors in.
The following are some of the REAL reasons why men cheat:
1. They feel emotionally disconnected.
One dominant reason for cheating is a lack of emotional connection. We cheat because we feel a sense of disconnect with ourselves or with our partner. Emotional disconnect is described as a lack of an emotional, spiritual or intellectual connection with your partner.
When we feel ignored, unappreciated, lonely or neglected, we seek connection with others who can provide us with this basic human need. We might even risk seeking a relationship outside our marriages.
2. They're tempted by lust.
Many men admit to cheating mainly for physical or sexual gratification without the desire for an emotional tie.
Whether we like it or not, the tendency to cheat is innate and a universal characteristic of human nature. It's part of our sexual makeup. Our evolutionary process has shaped human sexual behavior for better and for worse.
Evolution rewards species that survive and reproduce. Our existence was dependent on individuals who were driven and motivated to act on their sexual impulses and craved sexual variations. Accordingly, people today must deal with socially frowned upon sexual desires which, once upon a time, helped our ancestors successfully produce offspring.
3. They're avoiding intimacy.
A deep-seated fear of intimacy can be hard for some men to overcome and may lead them to cheat.
It is a protection mechanism. They're scared of intimacy and fear rejection or abandonment, so they distance themselves from their wives by cheating. These men cannot trust or allow themselves to rely on anyone, including their wives.
They fear getting hurt. Instead of confronting their fears and working with their spouses to develop greater safety and intimacy, they resort to what they know best: running away, having superficial relationships, and betraying the person closest to them.
4. They have low self-esteem.
If they don't feel liked, loved and admired by other people, then some men feel worthless. Endlessly seeking approval from other people and continually seeking to “conquer” another “territory” is a powerful force that pushes men to cheat.
When they cheat, they get an instant self-esteem boost from the person they're sleeping with. Unfortunately, this boost is short-lived, leading to even more feelings of emptiness.
5. Sex was just there (simple and easy).
More than ever today, extramarital sex is cheaper and easier to get. Thanks to the internet and mobile devices, it's easier for men to cheat anytime, anywhere.
There are plenty of opportunities, the temptations are great and the desire for immediate gratification increases. Some men simply find it hard to resist their desires, especially when gratification is at their fingertips.
6. They can't control their impulses.
No matter how much love a man gets, if he lacks self-control and makes decisions based on sexual impulses, he will never stop betraying his partners. For men, this is a way to feel reassured; whereas for others, it is a challenge and the thrill of the moment. Some men are simply weak and impulsive.
When a sexual opportunity presents itself and they're not strong enough to say "no," they cheat. Their strong need blurs their perspective so they don't see beyond themselves and how their actions might hurt others.
7. They want to have their cake and eat it, too.
Married men may feel "stuck" between the stability, security and reassurance of their marriages, and at the same time, their desire for freedom, passion and excitement. Marriage fulfills the first part and an affair fulfills the second part. Men want both, the love from their partner and sex with another partner.
8. They don't feel sexually fulfilled.
With time, when relationships become stable and comfortable and sexual frequency decreases, some men crave 'newness' again and go elsewhere to find it. More so, when their wives do not fulfill their sexual desires.
Men generally want more sex than women, and it's also their way to feel connected to their spouse. When men feel their sexual needs are not being attended to, they can feel rejected or neglected, which will push them to look outside of their marriages.
9. They yearn to feel good and alive.
Work pressure, upcoming performance reviews, kids, complaining wives, midlife crises — all these life challenges disappear when a man is totally immersed in passionate sex with anyone but his wife. The sexual affair makes them feel their heart pumping blood into their veins, making them feel alive.
It's not surprising that some men who cheat are driven by their inner caveman. They like to play with fire, add danger and excitement to feel vibrant and full of life.
Whether the causes for infidelity are due to biology, evolution or simply the desire for newness, the decision of whether to be unfaithful or not is entirely in a man’s control. If a man is in a monogamous relationship, he should ask himself one critical question before he cheats: Is it worth it?
He should consider the worst-case scenario, which is breaking his wife's heart and the risk of losing her. Fidelity, at the same time, is a test of a man challenged by his own instincts and urges and can serve as an opportunity for man to grow inside and develop deeper intimacy.
Moshe Ratson is an infidelity counselor in New York City. He helps couples heal from an affair by rebuilding trust and ultimately emerging stronger from the experience. If you need support dealing with an affair, contact Moshe today.