Three Reasons Women Cheat


Three Reasons Women Cheat
There are three common experiences for women who have had affairs, and although these are not excuse

Let’s face it; cheating is not just a man’s game. 

Studies say that up to 45% of women and 55% of men will cheat at some point in their marriage.  That means that about half of everyone will have an outside relationship with someone while they are committed to someone else.  And these statistics show clearly that it’s not just the guys who are doing it.


There are three common experiences for women who have had affairs, and although these are not excuses for cheating, they may explain why some women step out and others stay home. 

One reason women cheat is to use an affair as (what I call) a “can opener.”  They cheat to get out of their primary partnership, disengaging emotionally and physically by getting involved with someone besides their husband.  Sometimes women do this before they even realize that they want out of their marriage.  It is almost as they are behaving as if they are done with their marriage before they even admit it out loud. 

Some women don’t really know they want out until they start to cheat.  They use the affair as a catalyst to end their marriage.  Some even describe it as “swinging from one branch to another” to make sure that they have prospects available before decide to make the change.

It is doubtful by the way, that if a woman does end her marriage for an affair that she will end up staying with her affair partner.  Only one in three make the transition from affair to permanent relationship.  Many times when the marriage ends, so does the affair. 

Another reason that women cheat is because, in their own way, these women are working on their self esteem.  (Warning - Guys won’t want to hear this.)  Even if a woman is not conscious of it, cheating may be a way to get outside affirmation, feel more desirable and temporarily increase feelings of positive self regard.

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Tammy Nelson


Tammy Nelson, PhD, LPC email me at

Location: Ridgefield, CT
Credentials: LPC, PhD
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Sex Therapy
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