Why Do Good Men Cheat On Good Women?
~ the 3 top reasons you are at risk ~
You imagine you already know why men cheat on good women: “That guy was just thinking with his other head.”
And your guy is different of course.
Wrong on both counts.
The truth is any relationship can become vulnerable to an affair. And physical sex is often not the main motivation.
You probably wouldn’t stay in a relationship where your basic needs were ignored. Men are the same; if our needs aren’t met, we too might look elsewhere. And sometimes we think cheating is a better option than breaking it off with you. I'm not justifying or defending this behaviour, I'm just telling it the way it is.
Now, I know that some guys are just jerks, but I’m not talking about narcissistic liars who coldly use women (you’re smart enough to spot that type a mile away). I’m talking about good men. Men who never wanted to cheat but have fallen despite their best intentions.
So here are the three reasons why good men cheat on good women. Use this information to be proactive.
1. We Aren’t Getting Our Emotional Needs Met
You might assume cheating is all about a physical upgrade. But the truth is, it’s more often about fulfillment of unmet emotional needs. Picture real-life "other women" - often she is less attractive than the abandoned partner. Sandra Bullock vs Michelle McGee? Shania Twain dumped for her frumpy house-keeper? And let's not picture Camilla getting down and dirty.
Relationship counselor Gary Neuman, author of “The Truth About Cheating” (Amazon), interviewed 200 men about infidelity. His findings? Almost half reported that “emotional dissatisfaction” was the primary reason why they cheated.
- 88 percent of men said the affair partner was no more physically attractive than their wife
- 40 percent reported meeting their affair partner through work
- 94 percent did not have sex the first night they met the affair partner
In other words, these men didn’t fall for a woman who was prettier, sexier or younger than their current partner. They didn’t have meaningless one-night stands.
They cheated with women with whom they had a relationship of one sort or another.
What Emotional Needs?
We have needs, too, but we don’t always feel like it’s okay to ask to get them met. In his classic best-seller His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage Dr Harley explains how many men's greatest need is for admiration and praise.
Of course, it’s not the same if we have to ask for it; then we fear you will think we’re weak or pathetic. We need you to praise us spontaneously and genuinely (preferably often and publicly!).
Unfortunately, a lot of women do the exact opposite. Instead of publicly praising their man, they reveal our secrets, tease us about our weaknesses and talk bad about us as if we’re not there. Some women scold their men like they are little boys who can’t tie their own shoes.
If you think that’s funny or somehow endearing, you’re way off-mark. Your girlfriends may think you’re sassy or in control, but this belittling only serves one purpose: to make us feel horrible about ourselves and convince us that you don’t really respect us. It’s the best way to make a man run the other direction - straight into the admiring arms of another woman.
But Why Doesn’t He Just Ask for Respect
Have you ever wished your man would give you flowers? Your co-worker had a huge bouquet delivered to her just last week and you’re dying for your man to surprise you with a public declaration of love. You drop increasingly less subtle hints, but he doesn’t seem to get it. Finally, you tell him outright: “Honey, I’d really like it if you bought me flowers.”
When he comes home with a bouquet of flowers the next night, how do you feel? You got the flowers, right? But you still feel disappointed. Because you had to ask for them. The point of flowers is that your man is supposed to surprise you with them, out of the blue, just because he thinks you’re special.
That’s how praise, compliments and admiration works. It needs to be spontaneous. Genuine. It has to happen unprompted or it feels manufactured.
How Does that Make Him Vulnerable to Cheating?
Imagine this: Sunday afternoon at your sister’s house, you tease him about how he never fixed that doorbell that’s been broken for the past month. Then you reveal that he still hasn’t filed his taxes and joke about how he procrastinates with everything. On the way home, you criticize him for taking the longer route.
Monday morning, his coworker Susan exclaims that she’s never seen someone give such a masterful presentation before, and ding! Your husband gets the admiration and respect he’s been craving all weekend. Soon he’s hanging out with Susan as often as he can because Susan tells him he’s great.
You make him feel like crap.
Any wonder why he finds Susan so alluring? Meet your husband’s emotional needs or you may lose him to someone who gets what makes him tick.
2. We Need More (or Better) Sex, but We Think Leaving You Isn’t a Viable Option
Believe or not, sometimes we think an affair is the kindest option available. I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out.
Here’s the situation: he’s asked for more frequent sex or more enjoyable sex, and you’ve turned him down repeatedly. Maybe you agree to sex with a sigh, virtually tapping your wrist as you say, “Just a quickie, okay? I don’t have time for this.”
Now things have gotten to the point where your man believes you don’t want to have sex with him. The quickies outnumber the enjoyable and loving encounters ten to one, and weeks pass without any action at all.
This scenario is much more serious than him just wanting sex.
Why Sex Matters to Men
When your man committed to you, he entrusted you with his sexual needs. He envisioned making love twice a week for the rest of his life. Soaring, soul-binding, spine-tingling sex. Your lack of enthusiasm, which he feels as contempt for his desire, has crushed him.
If I only teach you one thing about how men think in relationships, it would be this: Sex matters to us as much as affection, security and conversation matter to you. Sex is much more than an orgasm. For men, it’s central to how we connect with you. It’s how we feel loved.
So Here’s the Problem…
He’s asked you for more sex and intimacy, but you're not hearing him. Or if you are, you're acting like you don’t enjoy it. He feels terrible asking you anymore. (Imagine for a minute, if your husband sighed or made a snarky remark every time you asked for a hug or kiss, or every time you wanted to talk with him. That’s how he feels. Embarrassed. Rejected. Hurt. And desperate.)
Now he has to make a very difficult choice. Should he stay with you, the woman he loves, but miss out on one of his primary needs for the rest of his life? Or should he leave you (which may entail splitting up a family) just because he is desperate for intimacy?
Men who want to keep the family together and truly love their wives feel like divorce is the more selfish answer. How could he split up his family and put you through a divorce just so he gets to have sex?
This is when an affair seems like the perfect answer. After all, an affair relieves you of the pressure of having sex which you don't seem to like anyway. He still gets to live his life with you and the kids, but he also gets his sexual needs met.
But Wait, There’s Hope
Caroline Madden is a therapist, affair recovery specialist and author of “After a Good Man Cheats: How to Rebuild Trust and Intimacy With Your Wife” (Amazon). She reveals this is a common problem, but it can be resolved. The men in this situation are often genuinely shocked when they find out that their wives are upset about the affair. These men thought their wives knew they were getting their sexual needs met elsewhere, and the wives didn’t mind. These men love their wives; they just couldn’t bear to imagine living the rest of their lives without sex. They also couldn’t bear to break up with you, so they chose the middle ground: the affair.
Madden says in “Fool Me Once: Should I Take Back My Cheating Husband” (Amazon) that these are usually the easiest affairs to recover from because your man didn’t really want to cheat. All he really wanted was for you to need him sexually. As soon as you respond to him sexually, he no longer wants to cheat. In fact, he’s relieved that he no longer even feels tempted, because there's no longer anything missing in the relationship. You are now his perfect woman.
3. We Don’t Want to Crush You
There are some other situations where we feel that cheating spares you intense pain that you do not deserve.
I'm not exactly proud of my fellow men in writing this, but this behaviour happens, so here goes.
Sometimes we feel trapped. We’ve gotten to know and love you, yet we're not happy in the relationship.
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If we know that you’ve been hurt before, we may feel like we can’t bear to be the person who hurts you again. We know that breaking up with you will crush you, and there’s enough good in the relationship that we hope you might eventually become the person who can meet our needs. However, right now, for whatever reason, the relationship is not working. An affair fills the void.
The Exit Affair
We start these sorts of affairs because we need something you haven’t been able to give us and we think we want out, but we’re not 100 percent sure of that yet. Perhaps you are often depressed and we’re tired of lifting you up, or we’re sick of being criticized, and yet there are still some good times.
An exit affair allows a man to try out a new relationship without having to be the bad guy who breaks up with you. If you do find out, you will do the dirty work of breaking up with him. If you don’t find out and he decides to stay, he can always console himself that what you didn’t know didn’t hurt you.
Why Doesn’t He Just Break It Off?
Probably because he's a coward. But perhaps he’s tried breaking up with you before and you refused to leave. Maybe you fell apart so badly that he took you back out of pity. Maybe he hates conflict so much he would rather you dump him.
What Should You Do?
If you suspect he is unhappy, start couples counseling together to see if you can be the partner he desires (and vice versa of course). However, you may discover that he’s never going to be happy with you. In that case, it’s best to just bite the bullet and call the whole thing off.
Affair-Proofing Your Relationship
Now that you know the top reasons men cheat, you can take actions to protect your relationship. Start with an honest assessment:
- Do you praise him and build him up?
- Are you making love regularly and enthusiastically?
- Is there anything you know really bothers him about the relationship that you haven’t addressed?
Actively be a good partner. Get help if you need it. You can affair-proof your relationship and find happiness together.
Click the button to learn more about why men lose interest, and how to be the woman who truly gets him:
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