29 thoughts on “Why Do Men Cheat…When They Promised Not To?

  • June 21, 2012 at 2:17 am

    my gosh

    how incredibly out of touch this seems

    we have learned a lot about human sexuality in the last 20 years or so

    “cheating” is so fundamentally a part of both sexes that we have evolved cheating and counter-cheating mechanisms at the very heart of our reproductive systems

    better questions to ask than “why we cheat” would be of the “why we don’t cheat” variety

    I would suggest that people don’t cheat for a number of reasons but chief amongst them is likely be some form of psychological aberration

    I find it difficult to understand why people push religion or any fairy stories as “truth”

    The bulk of the post is nothing less than fairy stories

    and incidentally women are biologically evolved to be no less deceptive in sexual relations than men


    • August 1, 2014 at 1:05 am

      No one says that people can’t have multiple partners…just don’t get MARRIED – unless your partner is okay with it. Or if one realizes that he/she can’t remain monogamous or comes to the realization that monogamy is an erroneous concept, then get divorced first. The lying and secrecy is what is the most devastating. It’s about respect…would you lie to a friend? A parent? Well, don’t lie to the person you promised (vowed) to honor and be true to. It’s about being mature….emotionally immature people have affairs. They can’t negotiate properly or don’t have the courage to end their unhappy state before escaping.

  • June 21, 2012 at 3:25 am

    In complete fairness I have had the experience of women behaving in the same manner. As a male I have been lied to and cheated on and for the same reasons your commentary points out. I don’t believe its strictly a male behavior as much as it is a universal behavior of people with no discipline and a faulty sense of responsibility or even a complete ignoring of responsibility. Many times I have witnessed women at social gatherings, church, and other public places talking about how they are just with there current significant other because that person serves a paticular purpose and are looking to, “Trade UP.” So in conclusion I believe you should look at your piece once more and use the term “Men/Women” as it is a behavior that is shared by both Men and Women equally.

  • June 21, 2012 at 10:21 am

    No one wakes up in the morning and says, “Gee! What a great day to start an affair!”

    Most often, I’ve seen people who see the affair as the best of many bad solutions to an intractable problem. Moreover, not all affairs are created equal. The great attachment therapist Winnicott carried on an affair for years, then divorced his first wife after his parents died and married the affair partner. They lived happily ever after.

    Finally, the author seems to believe that in many cases, sex addiction drives the marriage to unhappiness and to affairs. In practice, bad marriages drive partners to unhappiness and affairs. While there are certainly some people in “good” marriages who cheat, that number pales in comparison to the number who tolerate “bad” marriages for a time, and then the affair(s)/prostitution/porn stuff/etc. take place.

    There are very few people with a precondition of dazzling marital sex lives who cheat.

  • June 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    A further reason that a “man cheats” that your article did not include in the lengthy list of explanations you provide: • he is actually gay and only attracted to men, but has entered a heterosexual marriage because society/ the Church has dictated this to be his only path to a) having and raising children, b) being respected as a mature, fully-functioning man and/or c) expressing and experiencing his sexuality in an acceptable way. Then when the years pass and he has been unable to “pray away the gay”, his true nature surfaces like a beach ball that has been held under the water for too long.

    • June 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Lol! Hi Dare…may i dare to offer some advice?Tell your cheating husband that you often masturbate watching ‘GAY’porn…..tell him you would love him to watch it with you….any straight male would oblige to satisfy their wife’s sexual desires,so he should say yes!Now descreatley look and if he starts to grow down below….grab your bags and GO GO!!

  • June 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    It’s dismaying that we still even use the loaded term “cheating” for what is unfortunately a reality of human sexuality that we must face with more honesty. It’s also disappointing that the author of this article is in a position to do more harm than good by counseling couples in such a conventional way.

    Many people “cheat” and aren’t truthful about it largely because of the immense social pressure to conform to the monogamous model. Most of us are conditioned to look at desire for other partners as greedy, deviant, immoral, oversexed, destructive, immature, and many other self-defeating terms that it sounds like Weiss would instill in people.

    This is not to say that we should engage in sex mindlessly, but the biggest crime is lying to ourselves. Without a framework for sober, realistic dialogue, we can barely be up-front with ourselves, much less our partners. As long as partners feel entitled to demonize each other’s desire for attraction outside the relationship, people will be driven to cheat and, worse, to have a tangled sense of guilt.

    Weiss would do better to address this side of the issue if he truly wants to have a positive impact on the lives of couples.

  • June 24, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I think the important part is for the couple to define the expectations in the relationship. Every couple is different and depending on the couple some internet and outside physical sexual behaviors are acceptable. I liked this blog but believed that it forgot to include women that have affairs. Currently women are not far behind men. Yet our society still puts the emphasis on men. I would say in my practice I see just as many women as men having affairs. I think the important thing to remember is that an affair is not often about sex. It is an underlying emotional attachment need that is not met when an affair is present. Both partners in a relationship often contribute to an affair. Yet society puts all the focus on the partner who is involved in the affair.

    • August 1, 2014 at 1:24 am

      A bad marriage causes unhappiness in both partners most likely. Perhaps both partners create the unhappiness or perhaps the “fault” lies mostly with one partner. What if one partner is more secretive? What if one partner has more opportunities, feels entitled, is selfish? Is the spouse expected to read his/her mind at all times? Mature people speak up about their needs even if it means having to muster courage or take a risk. Mature people admit it (to themselves and their partners) when they feel they are vulnerable to having an affair. Talking about it insures that steps will be taken before affairs happen. It is 100% the cheating partner’s fault to actually act on impulses. It is manipulative to lie to a partner and essentially abusive. Sheesh…call it what it is – cheating, lying, manipulation, selfish. It’s not about if we are genetically programmed for monogamy…if you don’t want it anymore, have the decency to tell your spouse. If you feel compelled to cheat, tell your spouse you’re feeling vulnerable, so that the both of you actually try to improve the marriage. Looking outside of the marriage is a choice to destroy it…a unilateral decision to destroy it.

  • June 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I’m going to have to agree with the other comments. For starters, these behaviors are not exclusive to men. The fact that the article appears to demonize men is offensive to say the least. Sure there’s a media trend for the last millenia or so that portrays infidelity as a male issue, but let’s be honest: women do it too.

    Second, like Cynthia said, there’s more than likely a disproportionately high number of male/female cheaters who come from BAD relationships/marriages. I highly doubt you’ll see high numbers from happy relationships. We can claim men are sex/love addicts all we want, but if the original relationship is garbage, it’s probable that it gives someone the motivation to go looking elsewhere, especially when said person has tried to salvage the original relationship to no avail.

    To sum it up, the article reeks of sexism as it concerns an issue that occurs in both sexes. And the cheating “criteria” missed probably the biggest factor–a terrible relationship to begin with.

  • July 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    The author is actually really good, look also at his why do women cheat.. He/she has all the reasons i could think of and well described the subject of the poll. Just because a lot of you cheated on your spouse, stop trying to justify yourselves by bashing religion. When you get married, you vow to be faithfull and you should be mature enough to do everything you can to be so. If one of you fails, you have to forgive and talk about it and hope it will not happen again.. Also look at the reasons the author sited to understand where his/hers or your behavior comes from. No need to prosecute each other if forgiveness, redemption and understanding are present.. If not, its a lack of maturity from you, your spouse or both partners. Stop trying to justify yourselves by the actions of others or blaming church or blaming partners. The gay thing is harder for me to understand as i am not gay so… No comment

  • July 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Good stuff Robert but I would have preferred you to address why men AND women cheat equally.

  • October 11, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Great article! Includes clear and concise explanations for infidelity that anyone can understand. Also helps those experiencing betrayal take this unfortunate dynamic a little less personally.

  • April 30, 2013 at 2:35 am

    The tendency to pathologise normal behaviour is so common as to itself be normal. Sex Addiction is one of those pop-psychology labels applied to large numbers of men & women who don’t settle comfortably into a blissful monogamy. And why should they? How arrogant it is to view monogamy as better than other paradigms of human sexual relationships! Very few mammals are monogamous & alternatives to monogamy abound in the human species too. There is no evidence that monogamy is superior to other models when one controls for biases introduced by the prevailing norms. Children begin to lie in infancy and hone it into a well developed skill by 4-5yrs of age. Eschewing monogamy doesn’t have to involve deception & betrayal. It is societal attitudes & the consequences of being caught that drives much dishonesty. Many couples negotiate semi-monogamous relationships with their own agreed rules & with openness & transparency. This author is typically conservative & his difficulties lie in the fact that he must pathologise normal sexual curiosity, variety & adventure in a classic demonstration of projective identification, lest he e tempted more than he already is, to partake of the forbidden fruit!!

    • August 1, 2014 at 1:31 am

      “Eschewing monogamy doesn’t have to involve deception & betrayal. It is societal attitudes & the consequences of being caught that drives much dishonesty. Many couples negotiate semi-monogamous relationships with their own agreed rules & with openness & transparency.”
      It’s not societal attitudes…as long as you and your spouse are above board and agree to the change in the terms of your marriage agreement/contract, then that’s great. No one is getting hurt. Personally if my spouse wanted to re-negotiate the terms of our exclusiveness, I would say ‘no’. It would be a deal-breaker for me. That’s my choice and it’s the spouse’s choice to no longer stay in the marriage. But at least be honest about it and not sneak around lying about it.

    • September 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      “Sexual curiosity, variety and adventure”- are the reasons that commentor Skynic uses as reasons why its okay to pursue sex outside of marriage (which unless FREELY agreed upon by both partners). Is just another excuse by a horny individual who (if in a relationship) obviously isn’t sexually satisfied. I’m sorry if you marry (at least currently) you are expected to be monogamous, those are the current social standards. I imagine someday that will change. But what people fail to see is that you can do plenty of that before entering into a MM (monogamous marriage) it’s called sowing your wild oats, so as to (hopefully) choose a partner who you can be sexually compatible with. Keep the excitement in that relationship or get the hell out -don’t cheat you just make yourself look bad (and immature).

  • October 6, 2013 at 12:29 am

    So how do you deal with the fact that after being together for 22 years, he leaves you and your son to go live with his girlfriend and her 4 kids leaving you with nothing. Does not help with bills, does not pay child support and doesn’t even bother to file for divorce yet plasters photos of himself and his girlfriend all over facebook and leaves you in the dust? What do I do? I cannot afford to do the divorce on my own since I am getting no support to help with bills, rent or raising my son. I am devastated. He was the love of my life. My soulmate. I never saw this coming.

    • August 1, 2014 at 1:39 am

      The fact you have to deal with is that your spouse was selfish and felt entitled to keep you in the dark as he developed his relationship with the girlfriend. He didn’t miraculously get a character transplant though and will most likely repeat this behavior again…it may take a few years until he gets bored, distracted, and feeling entitled again. You were the trusting one, the faithful one, even if you weren’t a “perfect” spouse (who is?). I’m sure he wasn’t either. So you can feel good about yourself although it’s tough going since you probably don’t feel good at the moment. Be there for your kids, be consistent, and they will see you as the dependable parent. Not paying child support shows his true character.

    • January 27, 2019 at 3:27 am

      Hello Crushed in 2013. I have a beautiful son and a dedicated husband who was/is having an affair with someone with four kids.

      How are you doing now?
      How is your son doing?
      I’m curious to know what advice you might have for me?

      I know we don’t know each other or even if this message will reache you …..but I certainly hope by now (2019) that you forged ahead, that new doors opened, with positive opportunities and good fortune.

  • October 7, 2014 at 8:39 am

    (Most of) You guys are incredibly sad & immature. It’s a biological aberration to be monogamous?! Men are just programmed to be with many partners?!
    OK, then if this is you, do not willingly enter into a committed relationship. Not rocket science.
    Typically no one is held at gunpoint to enter into a marriage/exclusive partnership so if you CHOOSE, – and are PREPARED – to embark on an alliance which involves monogamy, fidelity, exclusivity and trust, then it should not be difficult to honour that construct.
    If you suspect that you might not be ready to commit yourself to one individual then don’t go the distance. Simple as that. Totally unfair to pretend you’re ready and to screw someone over later.
    There are always going to be options out there, but for the weak, childish & self-serving, those options will be insurmountable temptations; for the more dignified and respectful who value their spouse and relationship, it will simply be a non-option.

    • October 8, 2014 at 6:25 am

      Unfortunately Olivia you make two mistakes

      1. you still fail to recognize the true sociological, sexual, nature of humans (google “sperm competition in humans”)

      2. you fail to acknowledge that it is in fact the female who is biologically designed and compelled to diversify her progeny – ie to “cheat” – it is the dumb men that can’t help themselves wanting to impregnate anything curvaceous that moves but it is women who will lie and cheat to conceive a child that their “husband” then raises with no biological benefit to himself

      yes it’s an idealized, mythical idea that two people can form some sort of eternal, blissful union where she never cheats and he never cheats

      but it is statistically almost non-existent except between people too scared to break “God’s Law”

      Yes, there are studies that support good unions that last so very long

      but they are so very few and far between

      if you are the exception – if you are one who will never ever ever cheat and you can lodge a huge bond against it then

      bully for you

      go study humans, baby


      • January 21, 2015 at 2:44 pm

        OMG P… so you are trying to tell us that it is human nature? What about vows and the bond of marriage and what it stands for …to love and protect? Does human nature over ride vows and trust? Protecting and honouring your spouse stands for something much deeper than human nature. It is a bond of love. I do not compare love to human nature.
        When one partner is busy secretly engaging in “hook ups” via the internet…yes meeting in parks, and cars and other public places with someone they have met through sites where people are looking for just sex. What about the fact that it was unprotected sex and yet this husband or wife comes home and makes love to his trusting loving partner and puts their health at risk from anything from HIV to HPV, the later now proven to cause cervical and head and neck cancers.
        I was one of the lucky ones who found out what my husband was up to before and after our marriage. It devasted me and I ended up very sick and even had to go through cancer treatment. Do not think for one moment that as humans we are not evolving enough to respect and protect the person we claim to love. If not why marry at all if you are a liar and a cheat. Why pull someone else who does not engage in deceitful, unfaithful sexual activity into such a demoralizing world. Why? No one ever seems to know why. It is not just human nature it is the indiviuals lack of character and respect for his or hers spouse / partner. It is totally selfish behavior not human behavior for all human are not cut from the same cloth. It shatters the loyal partners life and causes such damage you have no idea. I hope others reading this never believe that we can blame this on human nature. It is 2015 ! Evolve for crying out loud!
        I stayed in my marriage and my husband went through hypersex addiction treatment. He is not suppose to have a cell phone or a computer without supervision in order to detox from this addiction. Just touching a keyboard can trigger him, says the experts. Read Patrick Carnes book on sex addiction and Stephanie Carnes / his daughter writes a book for those who have been cheated on. Some people make it others don’t 70 % will cheat again…that is a high percentage. I am not sure I will ever feel the same about my husband again. He was always so good to me. It was a shock…PTS and I suffered greatly due to his actions. I am honouring my vows for know to see if he can truly beat this addiction.

    • January 21, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Yes indeed Olivia
      I have been through the whole ordeal with finding out what my husband was up to. It sickened me beyond belief and it was many women and even some men he was cheating with, physically with women and online chats with both men and women. He was advertising to have orgies and whatever wild sex he could get or give. He married me knowing this dark secret he held within himself. That is the true mystery…how anyone could actually say their vows and lie at the same time… distrubing to say the least.
      I myself have always had a healthy sex life and I thought ours was wonderful. But I am not into group sex or sharing my partner…so I guess he wanted more. In all honesty it was devasting. Please read my post under what P wrote. Thanks for your comment

  • February 28, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Do we all just give in to our human nature then? do we excuse our bad behavior to get what we want and because it makes us feel good ? So who cares about anyone else? Really are all you people just a bunch of selfish teenagers? You do what u want just because you feel like it? What year is this as someone said ? 2015, have the human species progressed so little? That’s why we have brains so we can use them! You can put aside religion, all the scientific studies, and monogamy, it’s simply about doing the right thing. Does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out and being human, some of us will always find great reasons to make acceptable our bad behavior.

  • April 13, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Hi there i have the same problem think my husband is having affairs online.Cannot get into his phone saves his fikes in drive and remives them before i cone home.I have found out he has four emails accounts listed on 61 sites wich might inclyde pirn dating sites.Tried to get infi from spokeo .com .Looks like the only pkace thar has info on him .I need help to fibd oyt what he is doing to try and save the marriage.He takes no notice of ne at all .Always in and out of his whatsupp but when i try and speak to him he is always so busy.He is using secret dialing and voice mail as well.Is there any way i can trace him i need to try and save the marriage or rather end it once and for all.

  • April 30, 2016 at 8:03 am

    my62yrs old husband is having an emotional affair with a lady of35yrs.denies the whole thing and says she is like a daughter to him.yet he keeps the relationship secret. no one knows at his workplace though both work at the same office.he tells lies for her.gifts her things,and texts her the whole day.a classic mid life crisis.i have begged him to give it up to save our marriage but he refuses.i think when fperfectly normal faithful men act in this way in their60s i think they are desperately trying to relive their youth through the new relationship and fears of mortality makes them so irrational.

  • September 11, 2018 at 3:37 am

    They cheat because they simply can’t resist the temptation. Who would not take it if the opportunity presents itself right?

  • November 5, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    married 42 years, to a man that had a 21 year emotional and in the last 3 years sexting affair .. (he claims just friends) all this time he lied to me .. I forgave him. Im DOORMAT -I tried to forget and move on …but I am shattered .. I tried using unbelievable amount of sex to see if it would fill him to the gills..but alas he still spends an hour or sometimes two every morning with his porn site girls.
    He wrote a goodbye email to homewrecker, I read it.. but they texted 20times a day at one point … 400 a month average … I get 2-3 ..unless he is real busy at work. I find myself comparing( I read a tone of emails he had saved..and deleted) what he said to her ( happy valentines, for example) when he NEVER even acknowledged me on that day in the last 39 years.I am more than baffled to how I feel, roller coaster is not even close, I told him I was not making any life affecting decisions while this upset. Even though we have sex daily now and I do enjoy …Trust is gone..as is the marriage of 42 years. I do not even know IF I actually want to leave or stay .We would have to rebuild..and I am too old and tired now to start over. BURNED TO A CRISP


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *