13 Undisputed Reasons Why Men Cheat

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No doubt ,One in five adults in monogamous relationships, or 22 percent, have cheated on their current partner.

1. He’s done with the relationship.

His partner may think the relationship is all peaches and gravy; he may think otherwise—and not have the guts to confront his other half about it. “One of the reasons people cheat is because it’s an impetus for change,” says Kristen Mark, PhD, director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at the University of Kentucky. “Having that impetus is necessary for some people to get out relationships that they find difficult to get out of.” Think of it as the ultimate “it’s not you, it’s me”—something you shouldn’t do.

2. He’s addicted to sex.

“In very few instances, there are people who have a legitimate sex addiction,” says Shirey. Sex triggers dopamine receptors,the pleasure center of the brain. And like anything else that triggers dopamine,see: cocaine, heroin—it can be addictive. For some people, dopamine activates more from sex than from other things. “A lot of people try to use it as a cop out, though,” says Shirey. Fellas, don’t do that. Remember: “very few instances.”

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3. He’s a total ass.

Or, to use another one of Mark’s terms, he suffers from “Sexual Inhibition due to the Threat of Performance Consequences.” That’s just a fancy way of saying he’s unafraid of the consequences of sex—like getting an STI, impregnating someone, or, say, getting caught cheating—and he’s more likely to cheat. And he’s going likely to keep cheating even if he’s already been busted for it.

As Mark adds, “these are much stronger predictors for men than they are for women.”

4. Poor judgment and willpower are at fault.

“You’re more likely to put yourself in a situation where infidelity could occur if you’re not happy in your relationship,” says Mark. Whether you’re agreeing to tequila shots at a club with your buddies—or, even more dangerous, agreeing to one-on-one happy hour with that cute new associate in accounting—people who are committed to and satisfied with their relationship will avoid those scenarios. If he actively and repeatedly decides to engage in risky situations, something’s up. “People know the consequences of infidelity,” says Mark. “It’s not a secret. It does tear couples apart.”

5. His needs aren’t being met.

Get your head out of the gutter; we’re not talking sexual needs. “It’s something that little things lead to over time,” says Shirey. Perhaps someone complimented a new haircut, and his partner hasn’t done that in a while. “Things blossom from there.”

Maybe it’s been weeks of fighting. Or maybe it’s been too long since he and his partner shared a laugh. Maybe he feels ignored and neglected. Whatever the reason, there’s a deficit in the relationship that reinforced an emotional disconnect. And instead of addressing the problem head on, thoughts drift to, “Rachel does this for me, and my wife does not.”

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6. He’s feeling depressed or anxious.

Everyone experiences depressed feelings and anxiety to a certain degree. The issue is whether or not those thoughts come from the relationship. “If he’s feeling lonely within his relationship, emasculated in some way, or angry with his partner,” says Laurel Steinberg, PhD, a New York–based relationship therapist and professor of psychology at Columbia University, it could certainly lead a man to cheat. However, “it’s important to note that cheating [tends to] exacerbate existing anxiety and depression.” Thus, the circle remains unbroken.

7. Evolution is to blame.

There’s that old adage, where every man wants to sleep with as many women as possible—”spread his seed,” so to speak—and every women wants to find one mate—”lock him down.” We’re writers, not evolutionary psychologists, and cannot possibly hope to speak about the truth of that thinking, so we’ll let Shirey take it away: “There are some theories out of evolutionary psychology. The theory is that, because women only have a chance of reproduction once a month, they tend to be much more discriminating in choosing a partner. Whereas men can basically have a chance of reproduction every time they ejaculate.”

8. He has potential psychopathic tendencies.

As Shirey mentioned, most people don’t wake up with the malicious intent to betray or hurt their partner. Well, most. “Maybe it’s a personality disorder, or are deeply anti-social, or have narcissistic tendencies,” says Shirey. Whatever the reason, “they need to address it themselves.” Until that happens, this man will hurt any- and everyone romantically involved with him. Run.

9. He has problems getting it up.

“We found that men with a higher propensity for what we call ‘Sexual Inhibition due to the Threat of Performance Concerns'”—getting it hard, keeping it hard, that sort of thing—”are more likely to engage in infidelity,” says Mark. It comes down to a need for validation; if he can’t perform with his significant other, is he less of a man? An easy way to counter those feelings of inadequacy is to try to find a physical connection with someone new.

10. An ex walked back into the picture.

It’s the tale as old as time: the one that got away. “A lot of times when we’re in a rough spot in our current relationship,” says Shirey, “we tend to disqualify the good.”

And when an ex shows up, “we remember that spark.” So you’ve got a situation where he’s ignoring the good parts about his current relationship and ignoring the bad parts—the parts that likely led to the breakup in the first place—of his old relationship. That’s a recipe for disaster.

11. Immaturity: If he does not have a lot of experience in committed relationships, or if he doesn’t fully understand that his actions will inevitably have consequences like hurting his partner, he may think it is fine to have sexual adventures. He might think of his commitment to monogamy as a jacket that he can put on or take off as he pleases, depending on the circumstances. 

12.Co-occurring Issues: He may have an ongoing problem with alcohol and, or, drugs that affect his decision-making, resulting in regrettable sexual decisions. Or maybe he has a problem like sexual addiction, meaning he compulsively engages in sexual fantasies and behaviors as a way to numb out and avoid life. 

13.Insecurity: He may feel as if he is too old (or too young), not handsome enough, not rich enough, not smart enough, etc. (An astonishing amount of male cheating is linked, at least in part, to a mid-life crisis.) To bolster his flagging ego, he seeks validation from women other than his mate, using this sextracurricular spark of interest to feel wanted, desired, and worthy. 

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