With the incidence of infidelity in marriages pegged at over 40%, the underlying reasons that trigger a breach of faith warrant serious attention. Particularly when, in most cases, even those who cheat consider it immoral and wrong. Why do married men cheat then?
How do they justify an act that defies their belief system and continue to indulge in it anyhow? What is the mindset of a cheating man?
Well, this is not to say that married women don’t cheat. But statistics indicate that men are likely to stray. Be it in the form of a casual one-night encounter or long-term extramarital affairs.
To understand the characteristics of a cheating man, we turned to some real-life experiences for a better perspective.
Why Do Married Men Cheat?
We all know, know of or have witnessed up close the workings of a cheating man in a relationship. From a happily married coworker getting a little action on the side with the hot girl in the office to a parent betraying the trust of another or a partner neglecting the other to be able to hop in bed with his lover, most people have had a brush with infidelity in some form or the other.
While the affair lasts or after it comes to light, the mindset of a cheating man is reflected in the stand he takes to justify or express remorse for his actions. So, what are some of the most common reasons or excuses married men give for cheating on their spouses?
Related Reading: 15 Shocking Things Cheaters Say When Confronted
Our readers have some insightful answers:
1. A host of hollow reasons
Abha Iyengar: If you wish to justify anything, then any kind of excuse will suffice. Men who have affairs give varied reasons for it. One has heard these from someone or the other, some time or the other. It may not be the man who tells you this, it may be his wife who confides in you, eyes filled with tears, anger or (uncalled for) shame. One has read enough about the reasons for infidelity, and each reason rings hollow. But here is what a man may say:
- My wife does not give me love, attention, sex or what I want when I want it.
- My wife is no longer attractive.
- I had a love marriage. My wife has changed after marriage. She is a sourpuss now. I needed the change.
- I did not know whom I was marrying. It was an arranged marriage. Now that I know, I can barely live with her, let alone share a bed.
- We are not compatible. I need a connection.
- When I met my girlfriend, all resistance failed me. The same happened with her. We can’t help ourselves.
- A man needs to have some fun (sic).
- Lastly: no reason. A majority of men feel it’s their prerogative to enjoy life (read women) in all its (their) forms while their wives take care of and serve the greater good: elders, children, the extended family, and so on.
2. Why do married men cheat? For saving the marriage
Devraj Kalsi: Married men justify having an affair on several grounds. One of the most ‘convincing’ reasons is their strong desire to save the marriage from crumbling. They opt for an affair because that is the only way they can think of saving the marital bond.
While it sounds weird, married men trivialize sex in their marriage and consider sexual infidelity to be a minor issue. They think marriage should be judged from multiple aspects and sex should not be the core focus.
Some men say extramarital affairs add freshness to the marriage, giving it a lease on life.
Related Reading: 15 Warning Traits Of A Serial Cheater – Don’t Be His Next Victim
3. An ill rooted in patriarchy
Amit Shankar Saha: The reasons why married men cheat can range from falling in love to not being physically satisfied in their marriage. Moreover, from mythology to patriarchal history, men have had the luxury of having multiple partners without any guilt because men have been socially conditioned to see it as prowess.
Whereas for women it becomes a mark of moral failure. So psychologically men are more inclined to have affairs because at the tipping point they have fewer barriers to overcome than women.
Likewise, they can swiftly move on from affairs since they have lesser or face fewer consequences. Hence, from actually falling in love with someone else to trying out alternatives for an unsatisfactory relationship or even admitting to a moment of weakness, an affair for a man is a perpetuation of his ego.
4. Peer pressure to sleep around
Radhika Dossa Cruz: Married men spend their life protesting how trapped they are in their marriage, as a matter of habit. It begins with the jokes about prison/freedom, being shackled. In the new age of a Tindered, Bumbling world, the pressure to hook up is de rigor, and the loving wife and vows are quickly brushed aside.
Temptation lures even the most stolid married man. Women, too, are happy to have flings without commitment and successful men are prime targets. There are no inhibitions about having an affair with a married man. I agree 100% that men and women in India and elsewhere in the world are in the throes of sexual freedom and hook up constantly.
I’d say it’s because men are under peer pressure to sleep around.
5. Variety is the spice of life
Jayeeta Ganguly: Wife is like ‘daal’, the other woman is like ‘chicken’. Spicy chicken curry is any day better than the plain, old daal. I have actually heard a man utter these exact words as justification to sleep around.
Another reason I’ve heard, ‘My wife and I hardly have any sexual life left. The steam has vapourised from our relationship. I engaged in an affair because I wanted to have sex.’
While another male friend said at a party, ‘I am so bored and unhappy with life. I feel, as if, I am stagnating. I need to have an affair.’
‘My wife would never allow me to be Christian Gray. Oh! What is the point of watching porn if I cannot try out those moves? I always have an affair with younger women – they are adventurous and open-minded,’ said another man at the same party.
Some of the other ‘gems’ that I’ve heard men throw around to justify their cheating ways are:
- ‘I am a man. Blame it on my sex drive. How can you expect a man to only engage in sexual activities with his wife? Do you always go to an ice-cream parlor and order the same flavor? Don’t you want to try out different flavors?’
- ‘I wanted to know if I am still in demand’. ‘I wanted to get my mojo back.’
- ‘My wife and I have grown apart. We are like two different people. I needed to engage in an extramarital affair to remain sane and feel loved again.’
- ‘I wanted someone to appreciate me for who I am. My wife is so nagging.’
- ‘I am a man. There’s nothing wrong if a man has an affair. I can cheat my wife or partner, simply because I can. Blame patriarchy.’
- ‘I simply cannot stay committed to just one woman. That’s what losers do.’
‘I was so stressed out. I needed to release it.’
- ‘Engaging in an affair is so very adventurous and you know how I ‘love’ adventures!’
- ‘I have always capitalized on the opportunities that have come my way. The same holds for affairs.’
- ‘I thought I will find true love this time around.’
Related Reading: 8 Things Cheating Says About A Person
6. All about the threshold
Haywire Chronology: After speaking to some of my close friends, many of whom strayed, I feel it’s just about the threshold. Somehow men just find it easy. The guilt doesn’t really kick in as much. Fear maybe.
We have different mechanisms to counter guilt and fear. None of these folks are in any sense wicked. All committed and dedicated fathers and husbands. I mean none of them would care to make their other pursuits as primary.
The family remains the top priority. Flings secondary. And they would have made this clear to their other significant others.
7. Lack of sex
Anita Babunarayan N: The most common one is ‘lack of sex‘. My wife doesn’t like sex. I have to beg for sex. She is just not interested, she has stopped sleeping with me, etc. One of the more interesting reasons I’ve heard was – it keeps me young at heart.
‘That’s how I am’ was another.
Why do married men cheat? There are varied triggers for infidelity. Marriage is complicated. So, are people. When the marital bond is far from ideal, people react to it in different ways. One of which is choosing the path of infidelity. It seems like an easier alternative to many as opposed to addressing the differences and working on the issues to make a marriage more holistic.