Thought Catalog
May 12, 2017

The Surprising Reason Why Men Cheat

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What is the issue?
Ethan Sykes

“All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.” – Scott Alexander

There is a misconception that men cheat for sex. Men do not cheat for sex. Men cheat for the same reason that women cheat. They want to feel desired and appreciated.

A man’s need for appreciation manifests itself differently than ours. Women want to feel understood. Men want to feel desired. Women want to feel heard. Men want to feel respected. Women want to feel cherished. Men want to feel appreciated.

Although not proudly, I admit that I have been “the other woman”. When this happened I was at a phase in my life where I was not ready to handle a real relationship so I created a fake one.  The man I was involved with, let’s call him Joe, was unhappy in his marriage but thought he would “try to make it work for the kids”.

I was going through a separation and I had been lonely for so long and I found someone who wanted to talk to me and listen to me.  He was lonely. I was lonely.  It was inevitable.

I would never recommend being “the other woman” for so many reasons, but that is not the point of the story.

Why Men Cheat

What many women do not understand is that affairs do not start in the bedroom they start in the head.  Joe and I connected because I listened to him. I appreciated him. I thought he was an amazing musician and a sensitive soul.  I valued his ability to communicate and understand. Basically everything he did not feel he was getting at home. It wasn’t even overtly sexual.

If you are a wife and your husband is cheating it isn’t because there is something inherently wrong with you, but because he did not feel desired, loved and appreciated for who he is. 

I’m not saying it makes his behavior okay (in fact I find cheating rather cowardly and have never cheated myself).

One of the main reasons men cheat is because the woman stopped being a wife and lover and became a mother. Disagree with this statement all you want, but the fact of the matter is that your husband needs to come first before everything.

I’m sure you are saying to yourself, “Yes, but I do everything. I cook. I clean. I take care of the kids. I work. I do the shopping. What the hell more should I do?” The fact of the matter is no one is making you do all of that and if you are then you are doing too much.

Relationships are circular. The more you give the more you get. But, you have to give in ways that men understand and appreciate. Yes, he wants a clean house and food on the table, but those are not his core needs and you are sacrificing you own happiness and his for a “to do” list.

Sorry women, but we bear the brunt of change and communication in the relationship. Yes, it sucks, but that is just the way it is. We have to inspire them to be better because we can’t just force them to. We have to give them a trail of breadcrumbs so they can find their way, all the time thinking it was their idea.

How to Avoid It

Ask yourself how you could show your appreciation to/for your husband. Do you focus on what he isn’t doing rather than what he is doing? Do you focus on the fact that he forgot to take the garbage out or that he was late from work yet again?

What if when he comes home late you say, “I know you must be tired and I really appreciate that you work so hard to provide for our family”.

Try to avoid asking him to do anything within 30 minutes of getting home. Ask how his day was and let him go away for a bit. Don’t ever start the evening telling him what he didn’t do for you or the kids or what he forgot or ask why he is late or why he didn’t call.

I’m not saying that you can’t voice your opinions or have feelings. Definitely have feelings, but find a time and a place to voice them when he is not stressed and when you are calm and coming from a place of love and not a place of anger.

The Only Way

If you are a wife and you suspect your husband is cheating there’s a reason. If you are a husband and you are or are thinking of cheating there’s a reason.

However, instead of acting on your base instincts which arise out of neglect and fear why not try discussing how you feel with your partner?

If you cannot discuss how you feel in a marriage, or in any relationship for that matter, you do not have a real relationship and should separate for everyone’s sake.  Stop trying to convince yourself that staying together is “in the best interests of the kids”. What is in their best interests is having parents who actually love each other and who model loving behavior.

If you want to avoid your husband cheating, make him a priority.  Ensure that he has a Lover, Wife, Best Friend and Mother of his children. In that order. TC mark