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To figure out why infidelity in marriage and cheating on your partner is still as common as ever, we turned to the experts. Read on for some of the top reasons why your husband may be having an affair, according to 15 different experts on the subject. Remember me for 30 days. This device is not shared with anyone under the age of Your browser is not supported.


Men and women may cheat for very different reasons, d marriage and family therapist Shane Birkel, LMFT, explains. But he notes that it's likely more due to the way men and women are socialized than any innate differences between them. He adds that the more we as a society move away from that socialization and away from patriarchy, the less we're seeing those gendered differences in cheating behavior.

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So we asked relationship experts about why men cheat, along with what defines cheating, s to watch out for, and what to do if infidelity has infiltrated your relationship. Many of these behaviors might apply to people of all genders, but they can definitely be relevant to men. Although people of all genders might do cheat for this reason, Birkel explains that men may be less likely to have difficult conversations with their partner about their own needs and the relationship.

If they're looking for a way out, they may see cheating as a means to an end. Despite what gender norms may tell us about men, cheating doesn't always happen for purely physical reasons. If they're feeling unseen or disconnected from their partner, says, "those things hurt and make us go into a zone where we protect ourselves," adding, "when this happens a lot over time, the impulse to think about sex with other people goes up ificantly.

And generally speaking, men are "much less likely to have a good social support system" as far as close male friends, Birkel says. In those instances, the compassion and support from another woman in his life may be very welcome. If a partner has cheated, there could be sociopathic tendencies or narcissistic traits involved.

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Birkel adds that often, when an opportunity to cheat presents itself, "There are certain people who don't have a good ability to be understanding of other people's emotions or the impact of their behavior on other people—narcissistic qualities.

Notably, most people have some level of narcissistic behaviors, and not every person with narcissistic behaviors is a full-blown narcissist with narcissistic personality disorder. The same can be said for sociopathy, aka antisocial personality disorder. Some people act out and cheat out of anger, jealousy, or a desire for revenge, says Birkel. Even if their partner hasn't cheated on them, if they've done something to upset their partner i. If one partner is dealing with a substance abuse problem, instances of cheating may become much more likely.

Similarly, says depression and anxiety can also increase that impulse-driven behavior, because "if depression and anxiety are intense, it can really exacerbate the need to get relief—and relief can often come in the form of someone really attractive outside the relationship. Feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem can also drive someone to cheat, particularly if they're not getting that validation in their own relationship, and Birkel note.

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He adds that sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction can also drive someone to "look for someone newer and more exciting to prove to themselves that they're still sexual potent and capable. In some cases, cheating can be the result of one partner denying their own sexual or gender identity.

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Someone may be struggling with accepting they are gay or bisexual, and "they want to experiment, want to explore," says. And you desire to explore sex as well as identity around that because it's a hidden part of yourself.

Lastly, Birkel and both agree that many of these reasons fall under the category of emotional immaturity. According toit often comes down to simply "poor judgment, lack of willpower, lack of self-control, and immaturity. There is no right or wrong answer to this, as the truth is, it's different for every couple.

That's why it's a good conversation to get out of the way early in a relationship. Particularly nowadays, with polyamory, open relationshipsand other approaches to dating becoming more common, along with the prevalence of porn and social media, every relationship will have different things they are OK—and definitely not OK—with. What's most important is that one partner doesn't override the other person's needs and feelings around this.

Men often underestimate the emotional ramifications of their actions. women often underestimate the shallowness of men.

He adds that men generally have a lower tolerance for sexual infidelity than emotional, whereas women are much more negatively affected by a partner who's emotionally cheating. Again, it's a conversation that should be had sooner than later. In general, though, when it comes to cheating, Birkel says secrecy is often involved —and guilt. That's a really good clue it's something that's verging on cheating," he says, along with "any time you're feeling guilty about something you're doing. The following s are by no means absolute indicators your partner is cheating. However, if a of these s from Birkel and are present, you may have a case of infidelity on your hands.

This is the real reason why men cheat

How couples handle instances of cheating is completely personal. Some people are unable to accept the break in trust, and others are willing to work through it. Research shows people who cheated on a partner in a relationship are three times more likely to cheat in a future relationship, notes.

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It can take years, and likely outside help from a sex or couples' therapistfor a relationship to recover from an affair, but it is possible if both partners are willing to do the work. And that's really the most important thing.

What really counts as cheating?

But knowing when to walk away, too, is just as important. It's a deeper issue, and there are deeper roots that need to be addressed. And if the partner who cheated isn't willing to work on things but rather is dismissive of their partner's hurt, "to me that's not going to be a situation that's ever going to lead to a healthy relationship again," Birkel says. Often the partner who did the cheating may find themselves in a state of deep shame, but Birkel notes there's a difference between feeling guilty and feeling shame.

Being cheated on is nothing short of a traumatic experience, and there can be so many reasons it might have happened in different relationships and contexts. But no matter the reason, one thing can be certain: Infidelity forces both of you to take a step back, look at what went wrong, and decide how you want to move forward from there—if at all. Want your passion for wellness to change the world? Become A Functional Nutrition Coach!

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About the author

Explore Classes. Expert review by Kristie Overstreet, Ph. Kristie Overstreet, Ph. She is a d counselor in California, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. She is also a certified sex therapist, certified addiction professional, and president of the Therapy Department, a private practice in Orange County that provides counseling services throughout the United States.

February 24, Man or woman, gay or straight—anyone can cheat. But why? They're looking for a way out. They're looking for connection. They have sociopathic or narcissistic traits.

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Revenge cheating. They're struggling with substance abuse. They're struggling with their mental health.

Top reasons why men cheat

They're seeking validation. They're denying part of their identity. They're emotionally immature. What really counts as cheating? s your partner may be cheating.

9 reasons men cheat in relationships:

You notice ificant changes in the way they do things i. You feel like you're having a hard time getting the full information from them about certain things. You bring up a particular person or instance that seems fishy, and they get very defensive, or in other cases, they're very vague and dismissive about it. They're suddenly putting more effort into their appearance, perhaps before work or before going out.

They seem super enthusiastic about another person. They're more sexually apathetic toward you or less interested and excited by you. All of a sudden, your partner seems extra nice, as if they're trying to make up for something. They're not able for where they're spending their time and in some cases, their money.

There are big chunks of time when they don't want to talk about what they were doing.

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They seem more irritated by you or judgmental of you, in an ongoing way. There's been a strong downgrading of sexual interest. And of course, physical evidence like s or texts left open, an earring left behind, or condoms in their wallet. What to do about infidelity in a relationship:.

Decide whether you want to stay together and work through it.

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Gauge if the cheating partner is actually willing to commit to change. Center the feelings of the person who was cheated on. The bottom line. More On This Topic Love. Julie Nguyen. Stephanie Barnes. With Megan Bruneau, M. Climate Change.

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Men cheat more than women.


It's no secret that men are far more likely to cheat on their partners than women are.


Being cheated by someone you love very dearly can be devastating.


I assumed cheating was mate-shopping for their next partner.