3 Agonizing Reasons Why Women Cheat (Even On Men They Love)

Do women cheat for different reasons than men do?

Last updated on Mar 20, 2024

Upset couple at the park  stock-eye | Canva 

Getting with by a stranger has never been easier, thanks to technology. This is equally true for singles as well as married individuals, thanks to a variety of websites and apps that cater to people looking for easy, casual intimacy. But being intimate with someone new isn't usually the reason why people cheat. Both men and women cheat because something is missing in their lives. The need to fill in that missing piece is what leads to affairs — and often divorce. Today, men and women stray at similar rates according to a study by the University of Indiana, but for different reasons. While there are surveys about why women cheat, I am going to focus on my own experience helping couples move past their affairs.


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Here are 3 honest reasons why women cheat, even on the men they love:

1. Lack of connection

The primary driver that women have in an intimate relationship is to feel connected. For women, the feeling of connection is a mix of chemical bliss that creates attraction and intimacy. When women feel disconnected from their spouses, the feelings of intimacy fade. The possibility of a new connection with someone else opens up. And these emotional connections can easily lead to physical affairs. That can happen through Facebook with an old boyfriend, a friendly co-worker, or even an intriguing stranger. The common theme is simply that an emotional connection was created and led to the affair.




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2. Vengeance

This may be unpopular to some, but in my experience, about 1 in 5 affairs by women happen because of “pay-back.” It’s revenge for the husband’s affair, or maybe even vengeance for some perceived wrong or mistreatment. Numerous women have confided that their affairs were intentional “pay-back” because their husbands didn’t help out enough with their newborn babies and toddlers. Others have mentioned that it was revenge for an unmet expectation around Valentine’s Day, their birthday, or their anniversary. I’ve heard directly from women who cheated because their husbands wouldn’t take time off of work or change jobs, or didn’t help out enough around the house.

RELATED: 18 Unfaithful Women Reveal The Honest Reasons They Cheated


3. Unsatisfying intimacy

It’s no secret that people’s stressful, fully scheduled, fast-paced lives lead to unsatisfying love lives. Lack of passionate and fulfilling intimacy is another driver for women who have affairs. While men may complain about the quantity of intimacy, women complain about the quality. Women often comment on the lack of intimacy initiated by their husbands, with the desired amount of passion. Here’s a sample of what they’ve said to me: “I want him to just take me spontaneously,” “I want him to throw me on the bed,” and “I want him to be more aggressive.”



These statements often include far more colorful words. The mistake that a man might make is thinking that his wife, now a mom of three, has lost her desire for hot, steamy intimacy. She hasn’t. And many women are not willing to settle for a passion-less marriage. There is no doubt that women are often less satisfied with their marriage than men. Not only are women having affairs at increasing rates, but they also initiate divorce at staggering levels.

According to a well-known study of 2,262 couples over 5 years by Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, women initiated 69% of divorces. The details of the study further indicate that college-educated women initiate divorce over 80% of the time. Maybe this is a wake-up call to men. If you’re a man reading this article, you are probably shocked. If you are a woman reading this, it probably just confirms what you already know. The needs of both men and women will continue to be met; either inside the marriage or outside with someone else. So if there's a problem, it's important you seek support to solve it. 


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Jeff Forte is a marriage therapist and author of The 90-Minute Marriage Miracle. He has over 15 years of experience with some of Wall Street’s top investment firms, including extensive interpersonal conflict resolution experience as a regional team development leader.