The Top Reasons Men and Women Cheat
For most men, sex is the primary motivating factor for cheating on their mate. The majority of the reasons cheating men give for their infidelity were directly or indirectly related to sex.
On the other hand, women who were cheating on their spouses or significant others had different motivations for their affairs. The primary motivating factors for cheating wives are linked to unmet emotional needs or dissatisfaction with their marriage , or their mate.
Below are the 10 most common reasons cheating husbands and cheating wives use to justify their extramarital affairs:
Top 10 Reasons Why Men Cheat
• more sex (the desire for a more active sex life)
• sexual variety (the desire for different type of sex or particular sex act)
• opportunistic sex ( presented with an opportunity to have sex without getting caught)
• to satisfy sexual curiosity (about having sex with a particular person)
• to reaffirm his sexuality
• a feeling of entitlement (the belief that it’s a man’s prerogative to cheat)
• the “thrill of the chase”
• the desire to feel important or special ( an ego boost)
• peer pressure
• sexual addiction
Top 10 Reasons Why Women Cheat
• lack of emotional intimacy (a desire for a close emotional bond)
• dissatisfaction with her mate
• marital or relationship unhappiness
• a desire for male attention
• to reaffirm her desirability (To feel validated as a woman)
• to re-experience feelings of romance
• a desire to feel “special”
• sexual excitement
The Bottom Line on Why Men and Women Cheat
In a nutshell, men tend to cheat largely for sexual reasons, while women cheat for emotional reasons. There are several studies on infidelity that bear that out. One study, in particular, found that 75% to 80% of the men who admitted to having extramarital affairs said that sex was their primary motivation . Only 20% of the women who were having extramarital affairs said they did so for purely sexual reasons.
Of course, the reasons listed above aren’t the only reasons cheating men and cheating women are unfaithful to their mates. There are many other reasons as well. But these were the reasons most frequently given by cheating husbands and cheating wives who were willing to discuss why they were having an extramarital affair.
Most Cheaters Get Away With Cheating on their Mates
Studies further indicate that most infidelity goes undetected. The majority of cheating spouses get away with cheating on their mates. In one study, 70% of married women and 54% of married men had no idea their spouse was having an extramarital affair.
Several different types of infidelity can occur in a relationship.
- An object affair can be described as the neglect of a relationship for the sake of pursuing an outside interest. This pursuit may reach a point of near-obsession.
- In a sexual affair, one partner may have sexual intercourse outside the relationship, but he or she generally experiences no emotional attachment to the other person. Studies show that men have a more difficult time forgiving a sexual affair than women do: women appear to be more likely to forgive extramarital intimacy when emotions are not involved.
- A cyber affair, or infidelity committed through sexts and chats, may remain entirely online and never reach the point of sexual intimacy. This type of affair might also include the viewing of pornography, which some people consider to be a form of infidelity.
- An emotional affair occurs when one partner becomes emotionally attached to another person, generally of the gender to whom one is attracted. In an emotional affair, a person might spend hours chatting online or talking on the phone to someone other than his or her partner. An emotional affair can have a negative effect on a relationship because a person engaged in emotional infidelity often discusses relationship problems with the object of his or her attachment, rather than with his or her partner. Sexual intercourse is usually not part of an emotional affair.
- An affair might also combine sexual and emotional intimacy. This is generally considered to be a secondary relationship, and most would view this as infidelity.
The manner in which couples recover from infidelity will depend in large part on their cultural background and their personal or religious values surrounding infidelity. Many couples pursue therapy to determine whether or not to continue the relationship after an affair and to process their feelings surrounding the incident.
A therapist can serve as a supportive listener as each partner expresses his or her emotions regarding the infidelity and can help the couple determine their needs and future goals for the relationship, whether they choose to maintain or end it. If the couple wishes to maintain the relationship, a therapist can assist them by helping each partner discover his or her level of commitment to the relationship, teaching the partners skills for repairing trust, and guiding the couple through the process of healing.
A therapist can also help clarify the true nature of the relationship by encouraging an open evaluation of the relationship’s strengths and weaknesses. If unhealthy patterns exist, such as codependency, emotional abuse, or repeated affairs, the therapist may call these into question. In addition, therapy can help those people who feel they are to blame for the infidelity of their partners to work through those feelings and obtain new perspectives.
When a couple decides to end the relationship, a therapist can still be of assistance to both parties. The partner who was betrayed may find it beneficial to discuss his or her feelings of inadequacy, betrayal, and anger, and a therapist can also assist in helping him or her cope with the trauma of the loss of a partner. The partner who committed the infidelity may feel regret and wish to understand what caused him or her to pursue an affair. If the individual had an affair after realizing the relationship was not satisfying, for example, a therapist can help him or her determine ways to communicate feelings of dissatisfaction more effectively so that he or she does not repeat the behavior.