Men cheat more than women. While this may come as cold comfort to women scorned, it is important to note that, psychologically speaking, most men do not engage in cheating with the same intention as women. Cheaters, specifically repeat cheaters, tend to be opportunistic and capable of emotional compartmentalization. So, why do you marry men cheat? It’s not possible to say as a whole since every relationship, and man, is different. Some married men may be promiscuous because they’re unsatisfied, sure. But, as a rule, men do not cheat because they’re unhappy. Men cheat because they think they can get away with it and, perhaps more importantly, because they’re willing to let themselves get away with it. It’s also interesting to note that, strangely, cheating is a behavior that can make it hard to be a good father and husband, but also a behavior that is not actually correlated with familial love or care.
“Men think, well, I just did this but in every other way I’m reliable, I’m responsible, I’m committed, I show up, I’m a really good guy. It’s just the cheating, ” Robert Weiss, Ph.D.a therapist and author of Out of the Doghouse: A Step-by-Step Relationship-Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating. “What they do not understand is that women do not think that way.”
In his experience counseling couples who’ve been devastated by infidelity, Weiss has found that despite being stereotypically seen as good at fixing things, men are almost universally bad at repairing the damage done by cheating. It makes sense that men severely underestimate how devastating their behavior might be to their partner, considering that sex did not mean much to them and was simply available. For men who do not come clean or get caught, repeat offenses are the product of the same mentality: It’s just sex.
Approximately 20 percent of men admit to cheating, compared to 13 percent of women, according to the General Social Survey. Estimates suggest around 10 percent of expecting fathers cheat on their pregnant wives, and there’s reason to believe a man’s resistance to temptation is stronger when he’s newly married and having a bunch of sex in the kitchen in front of his new appliances than when his partner’s interest is declining. While women tend to cheat up, bedding potentially more suitable mates, men cheat down and all around.
Healthy men who cheat occasionally on their partners are not pathological. While chronic cheaters pursue infidelity because of deeper-rooted attachment disorders and sex addictions, healthier men cheat out of immaturity. “Most men fall somewhere in the middle between being absolutely faithful and having cheated once, realizing it was immature and learning from it,” Weiss says.
The good news is that most men do not need to cheat to understand the hurt it may cause to their partner – that can be accomplished through continued communication about trust, intimacy, and opportunities for temptation as they arise.
Weiss recalls one man who came to him in a counseling session expressing his urge to cheat on his wife with a colleague. He advised the man to treat his marriage as a contract. If he wanted to have sex with another person, he’d need to discuss it with his wife first in order to renegotiate terms. When he did, he saw the pain it would cause her before doing it, rather than retroactively – and guess what? He never cheated. To Weiss, only that level of maturity and consideration can keep men from cheating. “A mature person keeps their partner in mind wherever they are.”