Why Do Men Have Affairs
“I didn’t really think it was a big deal,” says the cheating woman in “The Big Bang Theory.” “It’s not like I’m going to run out and start a new life with him.” Well, if you’re reading this article, then maybe you are considering starting a new life with that man. Or perhaps you already have. But why would you? Why do men have affairs?
While the reasons for cheating vary from person to person, there are certain common threads that most experts agree on. Many people cheat due to anger, lack of love, low commitment, esteem or even neglect. And while women tend to have long-term affairs (lasting months, years or even decades), men tend to have shorter ones — lasting days, weeks, or even just a few months. Finally, many people who cheat on partners want to get caught, making infidelity an act of self-preservation. With those things in mind, let’s take a look at what may make a man seek extramarital satisfaction.
Men Cheating for Reasons Other Than Love
Lack of Commitment – For some men, a significant other is only someone they’ve known for a short time. They don’t feel strongly about her; she doesn’t mean as much to them as their current girlfriend does. This can happen through divorce, breakups, job transfers, etc. When feeling unattached, it’s easy to become bored, which makes cheating seem appealing.
Low Esteem – If a man feels his value lies elsewhere, he might try to fill the void by having sex outside of his relationship. A woman’s sexual attractiveness isn’t always enough to keep a man happy, especially if he has confidence issues. He may need an ego boost, so he tries to find it elsewhere.
Anger – Some men are angry at themselves or their wives/girlfriends for something that happened in the past. Perhaps they cheated on their spouse during the course of a marriage or after one ended. Maybe they had an affair before getting married. Whatever the reason, it causes them to stray. It could stem from feelings of inadequacy, loneliness or anxiety.
Neglect – Neglected husbands/boyfriends often complain that their wives/lovers aren’t affectionate enough. While both parties should work toward improving their communication skills, sometimes a man needs physical reassurance from another woman. Or he may just be looking for attention. Either way, it leads to inappropriate behavior.
Self-Preservation – We all know that relationships require work. Sometimes we put our own happiness aside in order to help our loved ones. Unfortunately, sometimes we forget to consider how doing so will affect us down the line. In other words, we sacrifice ourselves in the name of loyalty. An affair allows a man to temporarily escape responsibilities and obligations, but once he gets back into normal life, he’ll realize that he still hasn’t accomplished everything he set out to accomplish. At that point, he may decide that his values are worth saving.
Women Cheating for Reasons Other Than Love
Long-Term Affairs – Women tend to have longer affairs than men — typically lasting months, years or even decades. Long-term affairs are usually motivated by emotional attachment, whereas short-term affairs tend to be based on lust.
Short-Term Affair Motivation – Short-term affairs are generally driven by factors such as boredom, loneliness, stress relief, anger, excitement, curiosity, revenge and power. The primary motivation behind these types of affairs differs depending on the individual.
Reasons for Having Affairs
In general, though, here are some common motivations for having an affair:
Forced separation – During times of marital conflict, one party decides to separate without any real intentions of reconciliation. Although this sounds awful, it happens more frequently than couples realize. Often, both spouses blame each other for the breakup, and neither party wants to give up control. So instead of working together to resolve problems, one spouse chooses to pursue romantic options elsewhere.
Sexual dissatisfaction – Many women report being dissatisfied with their sexuality. This may manifest itself in several ways. One is through depression or low libido brought on by childbirth, menopause, aging, medication side effects, illness or injury. Another source is through loss of attraction for a particular partner. As a result, a woman may begin pursuing other lovers.
Emotional distance – Men and women alike sometimes grow apart over time. This can occur naturally with age, through extended periods of stress, through divorce or separation, or simply due to the passage of time.
When men have affairs, they’re less likely to be motivated by the above reasons. Instead, they tend to fall into two categories: 1) seeking short-term pleasure and 2) attempting to gain financial security. Let’s look at each type individually.
Financial Security – Financial insecurity is a driving force behind male infidelity. After all, it’s hard to focus on your career when you’re worrying about supporting yourself and your family. According to Dr. Gail Sheehy, author of New Passages, men who have affairs are mostly looking for money, security, status and love.
Short-Term Pleasure – Men who have affairs usually look for quick thrills. They crave variety and novelty. Sexually charged activities like strip clubs, pornography and phone sex allow them to satisfy their desires quickly and easily. Once satisfied, they move onto the next thrill seeker.
Some men also use affairs to explore different forms of sexual expression, such as bondage, group sex, role playing and sadomasochism. These activities may appeal to men who enjoy trying something new or experiencing alternative lifestyles.
So what drives a man to cheat? Only the man himself knows the answer, but hopefully this helps shed light on some possible motives.
If you suspect that your husband/partner is cheating, try talking to him about it first. You might hear something in his confession that gives you insight into his reasoning. From there, figure out whether you want to address the issue head-on or leave it alone.
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