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Why Married Men Cheat on Their Wives


Infidelity is a painful heartbreak that no one should have to deal with. We start relationships knowing that this is the one. When trust is broken, it’s the most painful thing and some women never completely get over it. The main problem is that one cannot pinpoint the cause of infidelity. There is no one situation that we can tidy up into one box of reasons.

Why married men cheat, have affairs,
Why do married mean cheat? 

Men cheat and this is a fact as true as death. Even those who are happy in their marriages cheat with statistics estimating that 50% of married men cheat and will never admit to it. It would therefore help wives to know why their husbands cheat?

Why married men cheat on their wives’ survey

Author of: The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do To Prevent It, Gary Neuman, did a study of 200 men over a course of two years. He tried to find out why men cheat and his findings revealed that:

  • 92% of men say cheating isn’t just about sex
  • 88% cheat because the other woman looks better than their wives
  • 48% believe cheating is due to an emotional disconnection from their wives
  • 12% cheat for no particular reason
  • 55% of the men will deny cheating even when evidence is presented.

Neuman explained that insecurity and an innate desire to win are the major reasons for cheating. Men are defined by achievements and winnings and this influences how they behave. Men are also emotional and being able to please their wives is a win for them. Being valued will prevent them from straying but when they feel like they are not being appreciated, they tend to push their wives away or turn elsewhere for the appreciation.  Criticism from the wives makes the man feel like he isn’t winning. "Appreciation is what they first and foremost get from the mistress," he says.

Why do married men have affairs?

Joan, stood in the shower wondering if this time round James would come clean. They had been in this situation before last year, when she caught him with another woman. She gathered her courage and asked him, “what did you do last night?”

His eyes widened and Joan knew he had slept with another woman last night. She didn’t want to believe it but deep down she knew it was true. “I just wish I had left him that first-time round when I discovered he was a cheat.”

Those who have been involved with cheating partners know that Once a cheat, always a cheat. This forms the basis for our first reason as to why married men have affairs.

Once a cheat always a cheat

Monica Parikh, a dating expert and the School of Love NYC founder, says that how you get him is how you lose him. “It’s harsh, but it’s true. To any woman or mistress wishing for a fairy tale with a man who’s a known cheater, I’d say: This is not the man with the solid integrity and character to fulfill that fairy tale.”

A study carried out in 2002 backs up her statement in that 75% of marriages that begin in affairs end in divorce. A good case scenario would be Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. They announced their divorce early this year due to reports that Pitt was having an affair with his co-star Marion Cotillard. Jolie and Pit had an affair during the filming of the movie “Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2004) when Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston.

Affairs are exciting

Affairs are forbidden and being domesticated isn’t exciting at all. We also know how grass always appears greener on the other side. The internet has also made affairs pretty exciting. The anonymity and ease of availability in online dating have led to an increase in the number of spouses looking to cheat.

In his book, This is An Internet E-mergency, Michael Fortino found out that a third of divorce litigations are due to online affairs. Another survey of 350 divorce attorneys, established that most of the complaints among divorce spouses are on internet porn. J. Lindsey Short, Jr., the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers president was one of those who conducted the study. He says that when there is dissatisfaction in the relationship, the internet provides an easy way for husbands to scratch the itch. The study also recorded that over 57% of people flirt through the internet. This led to a high connection between online infidelity and the subsequent affairs

Not enough attention at home

Men love to win and they cheat on their wives with women that make them feel secure, valued and appreciated. Married men who cheat claim that they feel like they can’t win in their marriages. Psychologist, Dr. Paulette Sherman  says that, when men feel like their partner no longer cares about what’s happening to them or their emotional needs anymore, they will try to find another woman who appears more interested and is excited about them.

Men however rarely express their feelings and the wives may not always know when something is off.  Neuman affirms this statement by saying that "most men consider it unmanly to ask for a pat on the back, which is why their emotional needs are often overlooked, but you can create a marital culture of appreciation and thoughtfulness — and once you set the tone, he's likely to match it."

Covering up insecurities

In the quest to be a great spouse, your husband may feel a lot of pressure. He wants to make everyone happy while deep down he is suffering. Marriage therapist, Aaron Anderson, says that "Instead of being able to talk out loud about their insecurities, wants, regrets, etc. they continue on living a life that makes them only superficially happy. But they have deeper desires that are going unfulfilled. It's the need to fulfill those deeper desires and their inability to talk out loud about them that makes them try to get them fulfilled in secrecy (e.g. by having an affair)."

The need for something new

Men also need emotional connection and are not only interested in sex.  It’s hard for the men to tell their women that they are not feeling appreciated. Culture dictates that it’s not manly to ask for affirmation so he shoves emotional disappointments away.

Dr. Paulette Sherman says that  perhaps the wife does a lot of yelling, criticizing, labeling, and name-calling. The lack of respect leads the husband away. It's also important to keep in mind that if these issues are not addressed within the marriage, the husband will seek support from another woman confidant. This results in an emotional affair that can often give birth to a physical one.

Another reason could be that he is feeling old and is worried that adventure will soon be behind him. He therefore seek out women who make him feel young again.

Immaturity and the thought that they could get away with it

If he does not understand how his actions will ultimately have consequences of hurting his partner, he may think it’s fine to cheat. He thinks that commitment is something he can put on or take off depending on circumstances. These type of husband does not understand the damage he is causing and is more interested in the next affair. When caught, he turns the tables on his wife and blames her for his cheating habits.

Peader De Burca, a playwright, spent five years interviewing adulterous men. According to his findings, most men cheat because they can get away with it. Their wives either don’t know about the affairs, and if they do, they don’t have the courage to confront their husbands.  These husbands boast about their sexual conquests but deep inside they are insecure and are trying to fill their empty lives.


Irina Firstein, a marriage and couple’s therapist says that “there are so many easy paths to infidelity these days. And once an affair happens, even if the offender swears it’s a one-time thing, it can definitely create a lot of uncertainty and mistrust in the partner.”

Signs a married man is cheating
Signs your husband is cheating

Whether the couple is willing to move forward after an affair depends on whether the wife wants to forgive and whether she can trust her husband again. Are they both willing to communicate, learn from the situation and not have the cheating happen again? Is the husband admitting he cheated, acknowledging the devastation he caused and emphasizing with the hurt he caused? The couple could decide to go to therapy and work on the issues or this could be the deal breaker.

The most important thing to remember however as a wife is that it isn’t your fault that your husband is cheating on you. His choice does not reflect who you are, or how attractive or how smart you are. He is cheating because emotionally he is not fulfilled and it’s not your fault. It actually means that you hold the power in your marriage and you can call them up to it. Neuman recommends telling him the truth, “Look. The fact [is] that I think you may be cheating. I’ll trust you at your word. I’ve got no choice. But there’s something wrong with us.” Then you can try to solve the issues or you can leave and get your peace of mind.