The age-old question: What makes a person in a marriage or committed relationship cheat? Despite recent articles that suggest that there is a cheating gene ingrained into the DNA of some men (Really? *rolls eyes*), the real answer depends on whether you’re talking about a woman or a man. Several credible infidelity studies have found that men and women who are cheating on their spouses gave different reasons to justify their extramarital affairs.
Cheating was one of the subjects I covered with 1,200+ women and 400+ men in my research to write The Problem with Women… is Men: Volume 1; the results were fascinating. Aside from infidelity being identified as one of the four core flaws in men (as discussed in my book), the sad truth is that being caught—albeit subconsciously—was evidently the long-term goal.
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Women reported that they cheat mostly for emotional reasons, which highlights the contrast on how the genders identify the “reasons” for sex… the top reasons:
- Lack of emotional intimacy
- Marital or relationship unhappiness
- Reaffirm her desirability
- To re-experience feelings of romance
Of the men polled, 80% openly admitted to cheating largely for physical or sexual gratification with no emotional tie. Rounding out the top reasons men cheat included:
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- Just want to have sex or sexual variety
- Presented with an opportunity to have sex, without getting immediately caught
- Satisfy sexual curiosity about having sex with a particular person
- The “thrill of the chase”
- The desire to feel important or special (an ego boost)
However, in delving further into the mens’ reasons, I discovered that most of the men felt that they were “unable to get out of their relationship” prior to their infidelity, which translated into the simple fact that they lacked the skills/respect to maturely discuss their unhappiness with their significant other. In short, they acknowledged that they were unhappy and looking for a way out… but they couldn’t bring themselves to pull the trigger on the relationship. If they cheated and got caught (most long-term cheaters do end up getting caught), they were able to quickly turn the tables, telling their spouse how it was THEIR fault they cheated because [insert reason here: not enough sex, boredom, etc.].
Look, I get it: Monogamy isn’t for everyone... and that's all-good. But, if you’ve made promises, stick to them. If you're not willing to stay faithful, at least have the decency and respect (and self-respect) to close one chapter before beginning another. Cheating is a choice. Period.