In today’s day and age, there are more women who can complain about having dated a cheater in their lifetime than there are women who can’t. And, with a divorce rate hovering around the 50% mark, many women have even been married to one. Can knowing why men have affairs or cheat on their women help prevent this from happening? Absolutely. An abundance of data compiled by Oprah’s authors and published in TIME magazine has revealed some startling information about why men have affairs, and what women can do to stop them from breaking their heart.
Why Men Have Affairs
- Because they aren’t happy. Redbook Magazine conducted a poll of cheating men, with a whopping 48% saying unhappiness was the leading reason they strayed. The men surveyed by author Gary Neuman in The Truth about Cheating rated higher, with 92% of men rating emotional dissatisfaction as the number 1 reason.
- Because they really didn’t mean to, it really did just happen. Men like the thrill of the chase, and when a pretty girl starts flirting or paying more attention to them than they are used to, they feel appreciated and this begins an emotional affair that eventually leads to cheating. The ironic thing here is that when a man says he didn’t mean to, it just happened, he’s telling the truth. Stories like sleeping with the secretary at the office party after a few cocktails arise from this reason for why men have affairs.
- Because they don’t want the financial and legal burdens of divorce, and this is their only way “out.” Even today most men are still the primary source of income in the family, and divorce is expensive and could ruin a lot that a man has established in his life. If he doesn’t want to divorce, separate assets and deal with custody matters, he will take the easy way out of his unhappiness by cheating on his wife, thus offering him the best of both worlds.
- They ARE looking for a way out. TIME magazine author Andrea Sachs refers to this as the Ejector Seat principle. Men use affairs as an excuse to get out of their marriage. These are the husbands who don’t spend a lot of time trying to hide their indiscretions, because they are secretly hoping she will find out and make the decision to leave on her own.
- They don’t know what they want. Men will sometimes have affairs when they aren’t sure what to do. Maybe divorce? Maybe not? Having an affair will help them determine if they really are happier with another person.
- One of their friends has gotten away with it. When one of their buddies gets away with cheating, this normalizes the behavior for the guy who’s waiting for an escape from his marriage. So, he will see if he can get away with it too.
- Revenge. This might be one of the least common reasons, but it is common enough that we see this on Dr. Phil, Jerry Springer and every other daytime talk show all the time. Their spouse or partner had an affair, and they do so to show them how it makes them feel. Productive? No. But a valid reason men have affairs.
- It feeds their ego. We all know that men are the hunters of the world, and they love the thrill of the chase. Getting attention from any woman who they are not married to feeds the ego and makes them feel prized. If they aren’t getting that attention at home, they are going to keep going after “the prize” until they have conquered the chase.
There are a number of reasons why men have affairs, and each individual man’s story will be as different as the marriage or relationship that he is in. The bottom line as rated by the leading authors and magazines seems to be that emotional dissatisfaction is the underlying cause for all of the reasons men cheat. Knowing this, women can make more efforts to be that other woman at home for him, and give him the attention and appreciation he is looking for every day, at home, so that he doesn’t feel tempted to seek it elsewhere.