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30 Experts Explain “Reasons Why Men Indulge in Cheating”

Being cheated by someone you love very dearly can be devastating. People who get cheated on suffer enormously. Can you imagine how it must feel when a person gets cheated and lied to by their partner, with whom they had dreamt to spend their entire lifetime. They feel enraged, disappointed and broken. The first thing that comes to their mind when they get cheated is, “Why did this happen, what made their partners cheat?”

Though both men and women cheat, statistics reveal that more men than women have confessed to having affairs after marriage. Women are extremely sensitive beings and it’s emotionally traumatic when men cheat on them. They find themselves tormented by the question, “Why does this happen, why do married men cheat?” To their relief 30 relationship experts answer this question below:

1) Men cheat due to lack of maturity


Males in general will have a myriad of reasons why they engage in extramarital affairs. From my clinical experience I have noticed a common theme of emotional immaturity with those that act on the emotional and physical aspects of cheating. Lacking the maturity to invest the time, commitment, and energy to work through core issues within their marital relationship is often not a priority. Instead these men often choose to engage in activities that are harmful to both their significant others, families, and themselves. The scorching repercussions that often come with the aftermath of cheating is not considered until after the fact. It would be helpful for men that are contemplating cheating to think long and hard if the affair is worth hurting or possibly losing the ones that they proclaim to love most. Is your relationship really worth gambling with?

2) Men cheat when they are made to feel inadequate


Men (and women) indulge in cheating when they feel inadequate. When spouses are repeatedly made to feel like they are less than, they seek to find someone that makes them feel like a priority. In essence, they try to fill the void that their partner use to occupy.

3) Men feel ashamed about their desire for pleasure

MARK OCONNELL, LCSW- R, MFA Psychotherapist

Shame. I know that sounds ironic and like a cart-horse dilemma, since many people become ashamed after getting caught cheating. But cheating behaviors are very often triggered by shame. I hate to be reductive and categorical, but what many men who have cheated have in common–both gay and straight–is some degree of shame about their desires for pleasure. Many of them love and are deeply devoted to their partners, but over time they develop an intense fear of their desires being rejected. The closer any of us gets to someone we love, the more familiar and familial the bond becomes, and therefore the more difficult it is to seek pleasure as individuals–especially when it comes to sex and romance–without potentially hurting the other person in some way, and feeling shame as a result.

Rather than risk the shame of exposing their desires and getting rejected, many men decide to have it both ways: a safe, secure and loving relationship at home; and an exciting, liberating, sexual relationship elsewhere. As a therapist I help people navigate the challenging task of negotiating sexual needs with their partners, rather than resort to cheating or unnecessary breakups. In many many cases couples decide to stay together as a result. In some cases, a frank and transparent dialogue about conflicting desires may lead to necessary separation. But openly negotiating sexual needs is better for everyone involved than deceiving your partner and breaking the mutually recognized rules of the relationship.

4) Men sometimes have intimacy disorder

GREG GRIFFIN, MA, BCPC Pastoral Counselor

Men cheat because they have an intimacy disorder, whether they cheat online or in person. They likely don’t know how to ask for intimacy (not JUST sex), or if they do ask, they don’t know how to do it in such a way that connects with the woman. So, the man then looks for a cheap substitute to soothe his needs and desires for intimacy.

5) Men cheat because they choose to


Nothing “makes” men cheat on their partners, men cheat because they choose to. Cheating is a choice, he will either choose to do it, or choose not to. Cheating is the manifestation of unresolved issues not dealt with, a void that is unfulfilled, and the inability to fully commit to the relationship and his partner.

6) Men cheat due to selfishness

SEAN SEARS, MS, O.M.C. Pastoral Counselor

On the surface there are many reasons men cheat. Such as: “Grass is greener,” feeling desired, thrill of the conquest, feeling trapped, unhappiness, etc. Underneath all those reasons and others it is pretty simple, SELFISHNESS. A selfishness that trumps commitment, integrity of character and honoring another above self.

7) Men cheat due to lack of appreciation

ROBERT TAIBBI, LCSW Clinical social worker

While there are numerous stated reasons, one theme that runs through them for men is lack of appreciation and attention. Many men feel they work hard for their families, they internalize their emotions, can feel they have been doing much and not receiving enough in return. The affair offers the opportunity to receive admiration, approval, new attention, seeing themselves anew in someone else’s eyes.

8) Men seek love and attention

DANA JULIAN, MFT Sex Therapist

There are a few reasons why men cheat but the one that sticks out for me is, men like attentiveness. Often times, especially in our fast pace rush, rush rush, society, couples get so busy that they forget to care for each other. Conversations become centered on logistics, “who’s picking up the kids today,” “Don’t forget to sign the papers for the bank,” etc. Men, like the rest of us, seek love and attention. If they feel ignored, bullied, or nagged at constantly they will seek someone out who listens, stops and compliments them and makes them feel good, as opposed to what they fell like with their own partner, a failure.

9) Men need their ego stroked

ADA GONZALEZ, L.M.F.T. Family Therapist

The one most common reason is personal insecurity that creates in them a huge need to have their ego stroked. Any new “conquest” gives them the illusion they most be wonderful. But because it’s based in external validation, the moment the new conquest complaints about anything, the doubts are back with a vengeance and he needs to look for a new conquest. In the exterior he looks secure and even arrogant. But it’s insecurity what drives him.

10) Men become disillusioned with their marriage


Often men cheat on their wives because they have become disillusioned with their marriage. They thought that once they were married, life would be great. They would be together with their spouse and be able to talk all they wanted and have sex when they wanted and live in an unencumbered world together. However, they begin to do life together with work, financial responsibilities and having children. All of a sudden the pleasure is gone. It appears that everything is about work and taking care of other people and their needs. What about “my needs!” Men become jealous of those little ones in the house who are consuming all of their spouse’s time and energy. She doesn’t seem to want or desire him anymore. All she does is take care of the kids, running everywhere with them and not paying attention to him. He begins to look elsewhere for that person who will give him what he needs both in attentiveness and sexually. He is under the assumption that another person can and will meet his needs and make him happy. He believes that it is not up to him but up to someone else to make him feel loved and wanted. After all, “he deserves to be happy!”

11) Men cheat if they have sexual addiction


There are numerous reasons why men commit infidelity. One trend we have witnessed over the past 20 years has been an increase in the number of men who has been diagnosed with a sexual addiction. These individuals abuse sex to distract themselves from emotional distress that often is the result of past trauma or neglect. They struggle to feel affirmed or desired. They often have feelings of weakness and inferiority and nearly all of them struggle with the ability to emotionally bond with others. Their inappropriate actions are driven by impulse and the ability to compartmentalize their behaviors. Men who undergo counseling for sexual addiction learn why they abuse sex – including cheating – and with that insight can deal with past traumas and learn to emotionally connect with their spouse in a healthy way therefore significantly reducing the likelihood of future infidelity.

12) Men desire adventure


The desire for adventure and thrill, risk-taking, excitement seeking.

The way to escape from the routine and blandness of everyday life; the life between work, commute, boring weekends with kids, in front of the TV set, or computer. The way out from responsibilities, duties, and the specific role they have been given or adopted for themselves.

13) Men cheat for various reasons

DAVID O. SAENZ, PHD, EDM, LLC Psychologist

First we have to recognize that there is a difference between why men cheat:

  • Variety,

  • Boredom,

  • The thrill of the hunt/danger of an affair,

  • Some men have no idea why they are compelled to do it,

  • No moral code for marriage,

  • Inner drive/need for attention (need for attention exceeds normalcy)

The reasons men give for why they cheat:

  • Their partner has a low sex drive/is not interested in sex,

  • The marriage is collapsing,

  • Unhappy with their partner,

  • Their partner isn’t who they used to be,

  • She gained weight,

  • Wife nags too much, is trying to change him or is a “ball-buster”,

  • Better sex with someone who understands them better,

  • The chemistry is gone,

  • From an evolutionary perspective– they weren’t designed to be monogamous,

  • It’s just skin on skin– just sex baby,

  • Because they feel entitled/they can.

At the end of the day, however, even if their spouse is intolerable at many levels, there are much better ways to address the issue. Bottom line is that a wife can make a man cheat about as much as she can make him abuse alcohol or drugs– it doesn’t work this way.

14) Men cheat because of the darkness in their hearts


One of the most common reasons men cheat on their partners centers on a darkness in their heart or mind, where factors including lust, pride, the enticements of an affair, and personal frustrations with their partner or life in general make them susceptible to being unfaithful.

15) Men cheat for avoidance, culture, value

LISA FOGEL, LCSW-R Psychotherapist

There is not one defining factor that determines infidelity. However, the three areas listed below are strong factors working in unison that can determining if one makes the choice to cheat on their spouse.

Avoidance: fear of looking at our own behaviors and choices. Feeling stuck or not being sure what to do represents a fear of making a different choice.

Culturally ingrained: If society, parents, or societal leadership condones infidelity as a value we may no longer seeing cheating as a negative behavior.

Value: If we see maintaining marriage as an important value (outside of abuse) we will be more open and willing to make new choices that works towards maintaining the marriage.

16) Men cheat when their partners are unavailable


Men (or women) cheat when their partners are unavailable to them. Both partners are particularly vulnerable during a reproductive journey including loss or fertility challenges, especially if their grief paths diverge for long periods of time.

17) Men cheat when there is lack of intimacy

JAKE MYRES, LMFT Marriage and Family Therapist

Cheating is a result of lack of intimacy in a marriage. Intimacy can be a challenge, but if a man is not feeling fully “seen” in his relationship, or not communicating his needs, it can leave him feeling empty, lonely, angry, and unappreciated. He may then want to fulfill that need outside the relationship. It’s his way of saying “someone else sees me and my value, and understands my needs, so I’m going to get what I need and want there instead”.

18) Men cheat when there is lack of admiration


The single most common reason I see for why men look outside the relationship for companionship is a perceived lack on the man’s part of admiration and approval by their partner. Men tend to base their sense of self on how the people in the room view them; the outside world serves as a mirror of self-worth. So if a man encounters disapproval, disdain, or disappointment at home, they internalize those emotions. So when a person outside the relationship then provides a counter to those feelings, shows a different “reflection” to the man, the man is often drawn to that. And seeing yourself in an encouraging light, well, that’s often very hard to resist.

19) Men cheat for ego inflation

K’HARA MCKINNEY, LMFT Marriage and Family therapist

I believe that some men cheat for ego inflation. It feels good to be considered desirable and attractive to others, unfortunately even outside of the marriage. It can make a man to feel powerful and alluring. This to the detriment of the person that loves them.

20) Infidelity is crime of opportunity

TREY COLE, PSY D Psychologist

While there are numerous reasons that could explain ‘why’ men cheat on their partners, one or the most common reasons is that it is a ‘crime’ of opportunity. Infidelity does not necessarily signal something wrong in the relationship; rather, it reflects that being in a relationship is a daily choice.

21) Men cheat when they feel their woman is unhappy

TERRA BRUNS, CSI Relationship expert

I believe men cheat because men live to make their woman happy, and when they no longer feel that they are succeeding, they seek a new woman that they can make happy. Wrong, yes, but true.

22) Men cheat when there’s an emotional element missing


In my experience people cheat because something is missing. A core emotional element that a person needs that is not being met. Either from within the relationship, which is more common, and someone comes along that fills that need. But it can be something missing from within a person. For example a person who didn’t get a lot of attention in their younger years feels really good when they get special attention or is shown interest.

23) Men cheat when they don’t feel valued


While there are of course some men who are just entitled jerks, who don’t respect their partners and simply feel they can do whatever they want, my experience is that men cheat CHIEFLY because they don’t feel valued. This can come in many different forms, of course, based on the individual. Some men may feel devalued if their partners don’t talk with them, spend time with them, or participate in hobbies with them. Others may feel devalued if their partners stop having regular sex with them. Or if their partners seem too busy with life, household, children, work, etc to prioritize them.

But underlying all of that is a sense that the man does not matter, that he is not valued, and that his partner no longer appreciates him. This causes the men to seek attention elsewhere, and again in my experience most often it is first this seeking of attention from another (that is often referred to as an “emotional affair”) that then leads to sex later (in a “full blown affair”).

So if you don’t prioritize your man, and don’t make him feel valued, then you shouldn’t be surprised when he seeks attention elsewhere.

24) Men cheat when they can’t connect with themselves


Their inability to emotionally connect to their wounded inner child who is searching to be nurtured and affirmed that they are enough and deserving of being loved simply due to their inherent worth and preciousness. Since they struggle with this concept of worthiness they continuously chase an unattainable goal and move from one person to the next.

I think this same concept applies to many women too.

25) Men cheat when they’re needs are not met

TRISH PAULS, MA, RP Psychotherapist

I do not think that there is a common reason for this question because everyone is unique and their situation is unique. What happens in marriages to cause problems, such as an affair, is that people feel emotionally disconnected from their partner and do not know how to get their needs met in a healthy manner so they look for other ways to fulfill themselves.

26) Men miss being adored, admired and desired


Men cheat because they are lacking the very feeling that drew them into the long term relationship they are in. The feeling of being adored, admired, and desired is the romantic cocktail that feels so intoxicating. At around 6-18 months, it is not uncommon for the man to “fall off the pedestal” as reality sets in, and life’s challenges become priority. People, not just men, by the way, miss this short and intense phase. This feeling, which plays upon self esteem and early attachment deprivation, counteracts all insecurity and self-doubt. It gets deeply rooted in the psyche and lives there waiting to be reactivated. While a long term partner can provide other important feelings, it is nearly impossible to replicate this original insatiable desire. Along comes a stranger, who may immediately activate this feeling. Temptation in full swing can hit hard, especially when one is not being elevated by his partner on a regular basis.

27) Men cheat when they feel unacknowledged

VICKI BOTNICK, MFT Counselor and Psychotherapist

There’s no one single reason why men—or women—cheat, but one common thread has to do with feeling unappreciated and not taken care of well enough in the relationship. Many people feel they’re the one doing most of the work in the relationship, and that the work isn’t seen or rewarded. When we feel like all our effort goes unacknowledged, and we don’t know how to give ourselves the love and admiration we need, we look outside. A new lover tends to be adoring and focus on all our best qualities, and this delivers the approval we’re desperate for—approval that’s lacking from both our partner and ourselves.

28) There are different circumstances under which men cheat

MARY KAY COCHARO, LMFT Couples Therapist

There are no simple answers to this question as to why men cheat because each man has his own reasons and each circumstance is different. Also there certainly are differences between a man who gets caught up in multiple affairs, porn addiction, cyber affairs, or sleeping with prostitutes and a man who falls in love with his co-worker. The reasons for sex addiction are embedded in trauma, while often men who have single affairs cite a lack of something they need in their primary relationships. Sometimes they are missing passionate sex, but just as often, they report that they don’t feel seen or appreciated by their wives. Women get busy, running the household, working at our own careers, and rearing the children. At home, men report that they often feel neglected and taken for granted. In that state of loneliness, they become susceptible to the attention and adoration of someone new. At work, they are looked up to, feel powerful and worthy and may cultivate a relationship with a woman who notices that.

29) Modern romantic ideal is the cause for infidelity

MARCIE SCRANCTON, M.A., LMFT Psychotherapist

Our modern focus on the romantic ideal is practically a setup for infidelity. When a relationship inevitably loses its initial luster, it is not uncommon to long for the passion, sexual thrill, and idealized connection with another that was present when it began. Those who understand and trust the evolution of love that exists in a truly committed relationship will rarely find themselves tempted to cheat.

30) Men seek novelty


“Recent research shows that men and women cheat to about the same degree. The common reason men cheat is to seek novelty (fear of intimacy). The common reason women cheat is because of frustrations in their relationship.”

These advice will help women identify the reasons why men cheat and perhaps give them some insight about how men think and what they can do prevent them from cheating.

New York, NY Therapist

Katherine Mazza

(212) 560-2264

Midtown 200 Park Avenue. New York City, NY 10166

8 W. Garden Street Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Katherine Mazza, LMHC, NCC, provides counseling and therapy services specializing in Couples Therapy, Marriage Counseling, Communication Skills, Conflict Resolution, Divorce Mediation, Relationship Problems, Premarital Counseling, Emotional Intimacy, Marital Problems, Affair Recovery, Divorce Support, Divorce Counseling, and Communication Tools.

Proudly Serving: New York City, Garden City, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Jersey City, Astoria, Queens, and the surrounding area.


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