One of the greatest mysteries that every hurting woman wants to know is “why do men cheat?”
I wish the answer was as simple and straight forward as the question, but it isn’t. There are several reasons why a man chooses to stray. But without talking to him and digging into his background, it’s hard to give a solid answer. And even though he may offer excuses that he thinks are his truth, deep inside, there could be other reasons that he may or may not be aware of.
But there are two main reasons that men cheat. There is either: something missing in him or something missing in the relationship.
When there’s Something Missing in Him
Doesn’t matter if it’s deception, fear, low self-esteem, no self-control, or insecurity; this guy has more issues than People Magazine. Instead of doing the work to repair his brokenness, he chooses to cover it up and validate himself with women. He may think it’s just a hobby that all men are supposed to participate in. But in reality, he uses women to fill his voids and affirm his masculinity. Women are the measurement of his manhood. You can easily identify him using these characterizations:
- A serial cheater who may be also addicted to porn or sex
- His papa was a rolling stone (he cheated too)
- He uses double-standards when sizing women up. In fact he wouldn’t tolerate cheating, but he fully expects his wife or girlfriend to “give him another chance.”
- He’s extremely charming and has no problem finding women to participate in his extra-curricular activities
- If he cheated before marriage, marriage did not cure him, it made him worse
- He seldom takes responsibility for his actions because it’s easier to blame his wife or girlfriend
- His commitment issues bleed into other areas of his life, including his job-if he can keep one
If you’re married or in a relationship with a serial cheater it’s hard not to blame yourself for his conduct. You may wonder: “What’s wrong with me?” “Am I not good enough for him?” Or “What does she have that I don’t have?”
Believe me when I say, it’s not your fault. He uses women and sex to cover his own dysfunction. Not yours.
It wouldn’t matter if he were married to Beyonce or Scarlett Johansson, he would still cheat!!!! And regardless of what you do to try and keep him at home, he probably won’t change unless he really wants to.
What’s a girl to do?
You have a choice to stay and pray or to move your life forward without him. This delicate decision is between you and God- especially if you’re married.
Although the Bible supports divorce in cases of cheating, I’ve known women who chose to stay and pray. In one particular instance, it paid off 20+ years later. I’ve also known women who chose to walk away, never look back, and are all the more happier because of it.
Your goal should be to let peace decide for you. Never make a decision out of fear or guilt. Close your eyes and visualize each scenario and choose the one that makes you feel peaceful inside.
No matter what you choose, build yourself up. Use tools and tactics to raise your self-esteem because a relationship like this can challenge how you feel about yourself. If necessary go to counseling to help start the healing process. When you’re fully in tune with yourself, then you’re in the best position to make a decision regarding this relationship.
You’re in the best position to think and react without your emotions getting in the way. You’ll be able to answer these questions, with clarity:
- Is his behavior affecting my health?
- Is it beneficial for me to stay? If so, do the benefits outweigh having peace of mind?
- Are my (future) kids really benefitting from staying or am I setting them up for failure in their own relationships?
- If he never changes, am willing to live like this forever?
- Have I done everything I can do –prayer/counseling— to support him?
- Does he want to change and is he willing to get professional help?
When there’s Something Missing in the Relationship
No one gets married thinking, “I can live without getting my needs met for the rest of my life.” No one. We walk down the aisle fully expecting our new spouses to take care of us mentally, physically, emotionally, and everything else.
But, sometimes life gets in the way. We get consumed with work, kids, ministry, and household responsibilities. When that happens, our spouses can end up being last on the todo list.
When there’s a breach in the relationship that leaves one person unfulfilled, it opens the door for an affair.
Sex, emotional intimacy, companionship, and respect are just a few things that are missing at home when men cheat. Although none of these justify cheating, they are basic needs that every wife should make time for.
Afterall your job is to leave really big shoes for the other woman to fill. If you’re handling wifey business at home, she’ll have a difficult time getting and keeping your husband’s attention.
While it does get tough to manage it all, think of it as your job. Whatever your title is at work, you probably have multiple duties, responsibilities, and hats that you wear. Somehow you manage to fulfill each one of the duties listed in your job description. You may not do each one everyday, but if you’re collecting a pay check, you have to make sure each duty is complete within specific timeframes.
As a wife, the same mentality applies. Your duties may include:
- managing household finances
- shopping for children’s clothes
- vacuuming the floors
- giving your husband attention.
As tempting as it is to neglect some of those in order to make time for others, at some point they all have to get done in order to keep your family running smoothly. You don’t have to do each one every day, just as long as you put ALL of them on the schedule.
Having a headache every night will eventually make your husband feel neglected. Neglection breeds feelings of rejection and insecurity, which may lead to him on a quest to regain his confidence by pursuing attention from another woman.
If you’re in a relationship with a man who strayed because something was missing in the relationship, talk to him and see if you can get answers to these questions:
- Does he have any remorse?
- Before now, has he been a good husband and or father?
- Has the affair stopped?
- Does he want to make things work out?
- Can he give a clear explanation of how and why this happened?
- Is he willing to go to counseling and do whatever it takes to regain my trust?
- Did he talk to me about his needs before the affair?
- Did I make a sincere effort to fulfill his needs?
If you decide to stay in this relationship, you need to know specifically which needs are unfulfilled.
Affair proof your marriage by helping him clearly define his most important needs.
When you know each other’s needs, you are in a better position to fulfill them. No more excuses.