Huffpost Canada ca

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Cathy Meyer Headshot

Five Reasons Men Cheat

Posted: Updated:

If you've ever been the victim of infidelity, the one thing you've likely wondered is, "why did he cheat?" You've asked yourself that question dozens of times and may even think that learning the reason for the affair will keep it from happening again or relieve the intense sense of betrayal you feel.

The truth is, knowing "why" won't keep it from happening again and it won't lessen your pain. Why not? Because you are not a cheater. If you have respected the boundaries of your marriage it is likely that you will never fully be able to comprehend why a man would go outside the marriage for sex.

The reality is that you can't control what a cheater does by understanding "why" the cheater cheats. And understanding "why" won't lessen the pain over his betrayal.

The reason the cheater cheats is because he has an internal character flaw that keeps him from being able to exert self-control. He functions on the mistaken notion that going outside his marriage will solve problems in the marriage or fulfill his needs in some way.

The men I've known who cheated had poor impulse control; they allowed their emotions to dictate their behaviors. They gave into their weaknesses instead of identifying them and trying to improve on them. These men, when faced with marital problems or stresses in life, aren't able to look at a negative situation and envision a positive solution. Instead of seeing their infidelity as contributing to or worsening their problems, they use infidelity as a distraction to keep from dealing with their problems.

Unlike you, the cheater isn't worried about "why" he betrays, his concern is replacing his problems with a distraction. In other words, he will sell you and his marriage short if it means him not having to admit to having a problem and investing time, ego and energy into figuring out how to deal with the problem.

Five common reasons men cheat:

1. Some men cheat because they are not getting their needs met inside the marriage. They are under the skewed belief that going outside the marriage is justifiable if they aren't getting sex in the marriage. They get their "needs" met, their marriage stays intact and they delude themselves into believing that as long as their wife doesn't know, no one is being harmed. Marital problem solved... in their mind.

2. Some men have no respect for boundaries. They know that with marriage comes certain sexual boundaries. But, they have little guilt when it comes to stepping over those boundaries. The more you try to explain to a cheater that he should treat you with love and respect, the more you devalue yourself in his eyes. And, the more likely he is to cheat again and again and again.

3. Some men like the thrill of having something extra on the side. They don't know how to pass up an opportunity to get a little "thrill." The act of cheating has more to do with the fact that cheating is taboo than the actual act of sex.

4. Some men think they are not real men if they turn down a sexual invitation. They define their "manhood" by how attractive they are to the opposite sex. The more attention and propositions they get, the more manly they feel. These men are bankrupt in the self-esteem department.

5. Some cheat because they are hiding a secret. For example, a man may be bisexual and hasn't disclosed this information to his wife. He may love his wife and want to keep his marriage intact but will get his sexual needs met outside the marriage.

Whatever the reason, the cheater owns it. I don't believe in being a victim and I don't believe in taking responsibility for someone else's actions. When you ask yourself "why" or put time into understanding the reasons, you are setting yourself up for taking responsibility for a problem that is his.

If your husband has cheated and tries to tell you it was because there were problems in the marriage, remind him that you were living in the same troubled marriage and chose not to cheat. A choice he could have made himself. A choice he is responsible for, not you.